Nissan reveals Compact Sport Concept

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Hot hatchbacks are favourites among driving enthusiasts. They're essentially performance-oriented versions of normal hatchback models and typically feature a four-cylinder engine and manual transmission, or more recently dual-clutch paddle-shift actuated sequential automatics. Current examples include Mini's Cooper S, Fiat's 500 Abarth, and VW's Golf GTI, to name but a few. Nissan, however, has nothing in the North American hot hatch segment, choosing rather to fight it out in the compact sport sedan segment with its Sentra SE-R Spec V. Could this change soon?

With the announcement of the Compact Sport Concept, Nissan seems poised to join the ranks of the hot hatchback elite. The Compact Sport Concept is touted as the first project to be jointly developed by Nissan Global Design Center in Japan and Nissan Design China. With a length of 3,482 mm, a width of 1,726 mm and a height of 1,444 mm, the diminutive hatchback is favourably sized for city driving and was "... designed for young customers in emerging countries," as Nissan puts it. Being that Canada is far from an emerging market, the likelihood of a production version arriving here anytime soon is unlikely. Then again, Nissan has previously used Canada as a test bed for the much larger U.S. market by launching its first compact SUV, the X-Trail, here before releasing its progeny, the Rogue, into both markets.

The squat and sculpted Compact Sport Concept bears resemblance to Nissan's Micra, which currently isn't sold in Canada. However, the Compact Sport Concept is much more sporting in its appearance thanks to split-spoke wheels, a large lower front grille, and centralized dual exhaust tips. The interior is both modern and sporty with such features as a flat-bottom steering wheel, contoured front seats with red highlights, and red-illuminated instrumentation.

Power for the Compact Sport Concept comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged and direct-injected MR16DDT four-cylinder gasoline engine. The engine provides 187 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to an Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with six-speed manual shift mode and synchronized rev control. It's the same basic powertrain as found in Nissan's Juke compact crossover, so it's already approved for our roads if Nissan decides to build it.

The hot hatchback segment is currently experiencing resurgence, so a production version of the Compact Sport Concept might make a lot of sense for Nissan. But will we get it in Canada? Have fun speculating on that one.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Sports Coupe, Nissan, 2012, Compact Sport Concept, Compact,

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