January 22nd, 2013 by Steve Cypher

Its one for the money and two for the show as Nissan unveils a new Versa as well as a stunning crossover concept at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

One for the money

The newest-generation Nissan Versa sedan was launched back in September of 2011 as a 2012 model. But hoping to add a little pizzazz to the pricier hatchback version (the sedan is the lowest-priced car available in the U.S. at $12,780), Nissan chose to wait until its newest global Note hatchback was launched.

Hence the unveiling of the 2014 Nissan Versa Note at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show bright and early last Tuesday morning.

First the good news. From the outside, the new 2014 Versa Note is an improvement over the outgoing Versa hatchback. In the case of the Note, it appears that the designers at Nissan decided to bless their newest B-segment people and cargo hauler with a sense of style that we found lacking in its predecessor.

Now the bad news. That sense of style ends when you open the doors as there is nothing noteworthy (pun intended) about its interior. Even with a sticker price two grand richer, the entry-level S model still comes sans such basics as electric windows, USB input and cruise control.

But if you plan on visiting the show, all you need do is walk around the corner from the Versa Note to get your socks knocked off.

Two for the show

It’s easy to see why the Nissan Resonance Concept won the EyesOn Design Award for best concept vehicle at this year’s North American International Auto Show, as it is nothing short of spectacular.

According to Francois Bancon, Nissan division general manager, Product Strategy and Planning: “When the designers were first working on conceptualizing the Nissan Resonance, they were inspired by amazing scientific advancements in technology and material innovations. They also were inspired by the aspirations of those people who unabashedly embrace innovation and are optimistic about the future. It was about serving those people a concept vehicle that is forward-looking and fuses style with an athletic ride.”

Although strictly a design concept, its innards are as advanced as its styling with the concept featuring Nissan’s “one-motor, two-clutch” hybrid drivetrain.

Here is how Nissan describes it:

Light on its feet, the exterior design signals that Nissan Resonance concept is pushing the crossover segment forward.
The energetic surfaces show a counterpoint of dynamic fluidity and pure edginess. Nissan’s designers worked to express an aerodynamic feel that was lightweight yet also protective, and drew inspiration from the futuristic allure of hypersonic travel.

The front exterior design shows the V-Motion, which starts from the front grille, moves through the hood and resonates with the iconic boomerang shaped headlights. The body is strengthened by powerful surfaces and provocative lines and is accented by the flow through the car to the kick-up shape around D-Pillar. These distinct details give the crossover a very advanced yet spacious impression.

The roof’s unique “floating” design is created through the use of the thin, steeply raked A-pillars, large full-length glass panel and flowing D-pillar design. The effect created gives the impression of a flowing structure carried by the large windows and overall spaciousness of the cabin.

The body color, named Flare Orange, adds even more energy and warmth to the overall exterior design. Other exterior features include a tinted acrylic grille with Satin Chrome accents and 22-inch, full dynamic flow aluminum-alloy wheels.

With the interior, the designers imagined what the future of first-class space travel might be: Welcoming yet exclusive and high-tech yet premium. The resulting “VIP lounge,” with its light, buttery leather and premium-stitched seats, exudes genuine sophistication.

Thoughtfully considered details, including sequential welcome lighting, add warmth and drama upon entering the vehicle. The dramatic interior illumination highlights the natural wood pattern in the modern cabin.

An advanced instrument panel floats on a generous console, creating a forum where the driver can access all infotainment and communication features. Technology is graphically layered to give a holographic experience and visual depth is used to separate information in order of importance.

The open glass roof gives passengers a unique panoramic view of the world and floating elements like the roof lining add to the sense of space and airy lightness. The spacious interior atmosphere is enhanced by the sculpted door panels and elegant, deep shape of the center console.

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