With the Nissan Sway subcompact, the Japanese automaker is making a statement that small cars need not be boring cars. Positioned as a possible successor to the Micra, a small hatch primarily sold in Europe, the Sway adapts the design language that has been featured on larger Nissan products like the newly redesigned Murano crossover and Maxima sedan.

In introducing the Sway, Nissan's chief of design, Shiro Nakamura, said that the vehicle incorporates the V-motion grille theme, floating roof, kicked-up C-pillar treatment and flowing fender lines that have come to characterize the company's styling philosophy. The 4-door hatch uses rear-hinged back doors and no B-pillar to ease cabin access. The coach-style doors give the car the look of a sporty 2-door.

A study of contrasts

By using an orange metallic paint on the roof rails and rocker extensions as well as inside the front air intakes to contrast with the bluish gray interior, the contrast highlights the floating roof design and adds a muscular, planted look to the lower body. Another design signature developed for the car was the boomerang shape to the front and rear LED lighting elements.

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The Sway also features a glass roof, and an interior with a floating wing-design dash inspired by the IDx concept car. The wing shape was adopted for its elegant simplicity. The result is an interior where function takes a priority, and where nothing is used for purely decorative purposes. Structural elements, for example, are shown as structural elements. The door pulls are designed to be integrated as a part of exposed aluminum struts. Even the three-spoke steering wheel has a 'back-to-basics' simplicity, with a squared off bottom section and aluminum spokes.

Back to basics

Just two basic instruments face the driver, with all other functions captured on a large trapezoidal tablet in the center of the dashboard visible - and usable - by both driver and front seat passenger. The lightweight seats have an aluminum structure - once again exposed - and are covered in a premium suede-like fabric partially accentuated with pearl-effect material, featuring stitching techniques more usually found on luxury handbags. Color coordination sees the use of strong blue and orange themes inside, complementing the exterior perfectly.

"With this new concept car for Geneva, we are experimenting to see how Nissan might be able to bring fresh ideas to the compact hatchback segment," Nakamura said. While this may or may not be the shape of the next Micra, the car's upscale looks in a small package would be a welcome addition to Nissan's U.S. lineup.


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