The 2023 Japan Mobility Show will host all manner of concept cars, but Nissan just fired a brick-shaped bottle rocket at every manufacturer not bringing their A-game by dropping an electric minivan concept that whips an absurd amount of ass. It’s called the Hyper Tourer, which is the coolest concept car name I’ve seen in a long time. I’m sick and tired of the meaningless alphanumerics some marketers with the collective imagination of a root vegetable have whipped up to denote the future of electrification, so kudos to Nissan for taking a stand. And yet, the name of this concept might be the least-interesting part.
This black and gold electric van resplendent in chessboard wheels and halftone fasciae conjures up shades of Nissan’s mid-aughts Garfield-colored crazy period in all the right ways. It’s got a spoiler! The rear wordmark is illuminated! The whole thing looks like a vision of the future from the not-so-distant past in a fascinating way, even if some of the details are properly out there.
In profile, the surfacing makes it look a bit like a toilet roll that’s been compressed sideways, but I reckon that’s alright. There are only so many ways to style a giant box on wheels, and such drama courts a wide variety of takes. To borrow a bit from “Blades Of Glory,” “No one know what it means, but it’s provocative. It gets the people going.”
Without a traditional powertrain to package around, the interior’s a space for designers to get crazy, and crazy has indeed happened here. Alright, so the AI-based system that turns the entire cabin into a mood ring is a bit much, but the swiveling Bond villain seats are dope, and the entire floor is an LED panel that can display a riverbed or a sky, should you wish.
After several years of pulling things together, Nissan is getting bonkers again and I’m all here for it. After all, this is a company with a history of wild-ass vans, some of which were even sold in America. Remember the third-generation Quest, that spaceship-looking minivan sold from 2004 until 2009?
Yes, I’m talking about the one available with a three-panel moonroof, two overhead rear seat entertainment screens, a gauge cluster in the center of the dashboard, and red leather upholstery. In a segment where the Dodge Caravan’s hidden sliding door tracks sparked intrigue, the third-generation Quest was an absolute freak in the best possible way. Sure, its second-row windows didn’t roll down, and early examples may have had teething issues, but the third-generation Quest was a gloriously cool minivan.
The fourth-generation Quest was just as insane because it was a JDM Elgrand minivan sliced long-ways and widened. Sure, its small-overlap crash test results were horrific, and plopping a CVT into a 4,480-pound people hauler was a daft idea, but it’s the closest America’s got to a large JDM minivan since the Toyota Previa.
So, Nissan, can we get whatever production form the Hyper Tourer ends up taking in North America as a Quest? While the last two Quests were a little bit out there, the world is finally ready for maximum minivan lunacy. After all, most of the staid pragmatists who bought mid-aughts Honda Odysseys instead of Quests are empty-nesters now, and the pro-van crowd has grown younger, weirder, and more passionate than ever. I guess for now, we’ll just have to wait for the Japan Mobility Show to roll around, or catch a virtual glimpse of the Nissan Hyper Tourer on that weird radio livestream Nissan launched the other week.
(Photo credits: Nissan)
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