Z-Car Returns To Star At Geneva Show - The Nissan 350Z Fine Tuned For Europe | Part Two

Launched in Japan and North America in July 2002, it has been fine-tuned for its European debut reflecting Europe’s different driving tastes and conditions. The 350Z is the fourth all-new Nissan to be launched in the past 18 months, joining the Primera, X-TRAIL and acclaimed new Micra to represent the shape of the new Nissan.

But although the dramatic high performance two-seater coupé will take centre stage at Geneva, it won’t be the only Nissan newcomer at the show. Geneva also marks the debut of an adventurous concept car, designed to show how the compact family car of the future could look.

Called Evalia, the innovative design combines coupé lines with hatchback practicality. It was created by Nissan Design in Europe – now fully installed in Nissan’s newly opened design studio in London, England after its transfer from Munich, Germany.

Seen as a potential direction for a contender in the C-segment, Evalia aims to provide the practicality needed by a young family at the same time as satisfying the emotional needs of the image-conscious driving enthusiast.

Among its unique features are parallel opening front and rear doors and the lack of a central B-pillar – vehicle strength is channelled through the sills and roof. By removing the B-pillar, easy access to the passenger compartment is ensured.

Although extremely spacious inside, and with a host of practical storage solutions, Evalia is designed to be more sports car than mini van. With a coupé-inspired driving position and lowered sports suspension, Evalia means the move into parenthood need not coincide with the end of driving fun.

Nissan’s Geneva stand will also reveal a host of revised models. These are headed by a range of new dCi common rail direct injection diesel variants, which can be found across the Primera, Almera, Almera Tino and newly introduced Micra ranges. Benefiting from class leading diesel engines developed by Nissan Alliance partner Renault, as well as revised versions of existing Nissan units, the new Nissan diesel range will be among the most comprehensive in Europe.

Highlights include the 48kW 1.5dCi Micra and potent 102kW 2.2dCi for Primera.

Following the changes made late in 2002 to the Almera range, the versatile Almera Tino mini-MPV receives a facelift. As well as subtle exterior and interior styling changes, the Tino benefits from the Almera’s intuitive N-Form dashboard control system.

Finally, to underline Nissan’s leading position in Europe’s 4x4 market, Geneva sees the launch of special edition versions of the all-conquering X-TRAIL, Pickup and Terrano as well as a facelifted Patrol GR. Nissan’s off-road competition success will be marked by Ari Vatanen’s Nissan Pickup, fresh from its adventure in the 2003 Dakar Rally – the first outing for the newly-formed Nissan Rally Raid Team.

Published 7 February 2003 Melanie Carter

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