The Nissan Round Box, with its compact convertible design, represents a new take on open-air motoring, providing exhilaration for all passengers - not just the driver - through its uniquely shared experience of fresh air stimulation, a sensation of speed and easy-to-use high-spec features. The Round Box features an environmentally friendly Turbocharged direct injection gasoline engine mated to Nissan's advanced Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). It is also equipped with a number of safety systems based on Nissan's Safety Shield concept, including Around View Monitor and Distance Control Assist System (DCAS).
The inspiration for Round Box's interior, which features the "right sized" space to facilitate communication between the four occupants, was not another vehicle, but a social environment. "The car was inspired by the lively atmosphere of a sports bar," explains Tatsuya Shiosaki of Nissan's Exploratory and Advanced Product Department. "In a sports bar everyone is focused on the game for pure enjoyment. They are totally free of the pressure and tension felt by the players who are actually playing the game on the field. A sports bar affords an enjoyable, stress-free space where friends can experience a sense of togetherness. Simultaneously, they can enjoy thrilling excitement like being on a roller-coaster yet without any risk involved. That is the sort of emotive world the Round Box is intended to provide."
The most striking aspect of the Round Box interior is the seating area - with front bucket and rear bench seats designed to provide support with a sense of relaxation. The design of the seating area is unique, with the comfortable bench-style seat cushions creating a sense of oneness with adjacent passengers, as well as front seatbacks that are separated to facilitate easy communication between all occupants.
"The seats have a bench-style lower half and a bucket-style upper half. Normally, such a combination would be impossible," said Kaoru Sato, Associate Chief Designer in the Product Design Department. "The seat design combines a casual bench seat, offering exceptional ease of entry and lateral movement from either side, with a supportive seatback that holds the body securely in place. We believe this combination is perfect for young people who want to satisfy their high-tech needs in a simple way. While the combination may appear contradictory at first glance, when you actually combine the elements, it produces a harmonious effect and represents a way of creating new value. The Round Box is full of such experimentation."
Round Box's relaxing ambience is enhanced by a mixture of flat and round curved surfaces throughout the interior, a motif that includes the instrument panel, steering wheel and other appointments. The name "Round Box," in fact, was inspired by these unique curved surfaces.
The Round Box interior also features an innovative, interactive "Play Catch"" system, which allows the driver and passengers - including those in the rear seat - to share entertainment and driving information. The system utilizes a large touchscreen display positioned in the center of the vehicle and an additional monitor located in the center of the instrument panel. The "Play Catch" system encourages the driver and passengers to easily exchange information with each other - just like "playing catch." For example, passengers can search for shops or restaurants through the Round Box's navigation system, then send the driving route and instructions to the driver's monitor. It's a unique, enjoyable way of involving all the occupants, while allowing the driver concentrate on driving by carefully coordinating the two display systems.
The Round Box's youthful design mixes a variety of design elements, from the open upper cabin area to the rugged lower body - a combination that evokes a sporty yet relaxed feeling, as well as a sense of substance. Round Box features tires placed at each corner to maximize interior room, enhance stability and to help create its unique "wide open" look. The open-air feeling is enhanced by a three-section removable roof panel, which can be stowed away in Round Box's ample truck. Contributing to the shared sensation of speed are unique "road surface windows," small glass panels placed close to the ground on both sides of the Round Box. These windows provide passengers with a view of the rapidly passing road surface, without the risks of road contact associated with a motorcycle or other non-closed vehicles.
The new Round Box is a social, exhilarating vehicle design, combining value, style and a sense of speed and open-air freedom - a totally new and unprecedented approach to the concept of enjoyable mobility.
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