North American sports fans were treated to a look at the next Nissan Maxima during the Super Bowl intermission**.
Many were impressed by the sentimental video and debate raged about the car’s overall style. Few disliked it. I noticed that a lot was lost in translation from the 2014 Nissan Sport Sedan concept to the 2016 car. Reminiscent of the Citroen Cactus concept car, the 2015 Nissan sport sedan concept had rather flashy glass work. The A-pillar was blacked out to look as if the glass of the windscreen
was extended to cover the A-pillar. At the rear, the glass “cut” into the c-pillar, implying the glass was underneath the metal or the metal was covering a larger, unseen sheet of glass. As with the Cactus, things were cost-cut and sacrificed on the altar of feasibility.
Looking at the A-pillar, it’s clearly just painted metal. And the way the top of the windscreen turns the corner to the side glass we see a bump which looks as poor as that found on the Citroen DS3. Regular readers will know that the way to handle this is to make sure a virtual plane or simple curved surface controls the boundary between the roof and the glass. The Mini and Suzuki shown below illustrate the job done properly.
At the rear, that impressive gouge in the concept C-pillar has become another bit of plastic or paint. The Peugeot 208 does this, approximately, with that odd black tab that carries forward of the side glass under the side mirror. The whole conceit of the floating canopy has been lost – on the show car it looks quite fetching.
The rest of the car shows how what was a promising if rather over-wrought concept car was forced over a convenient package, like a Procrustean bed.
For reference, in 1995 Nissan were having a go at refined and understated industrial design. Here is the Maxima of that year which shows careful attention to detail and, in my view, a more enduring bit of work.
** The video is revolting.