The sales of traditional sedans have taken a hit in recent years due to the popularity of crossover SUVs, but that hasn’t stopped Nissan coming up with a new sedan concept in the form of the Nissan Ellure Concept hybrid vehicle. The company says the car, which will debut at the 2010 LA Auto Show, isn’t intended as a preview of any upcoming production model, but is rather a confirmation that the sedan still has some life left in it yet and will remain a core part of Nissan’s product portfolio.

Under the hood

The Ellure is a hybrid vehicle with a supercharged 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control (one motor/two clutch design with lithium-ion battery) and 25 kW electric motor, matched with an Xtronic CVT transmission and front-wheel drive that would make it part of Nissan’s PURE DRIVE low CO2/low fuel range. The ICE produces 240 hp/254 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor produces approx. 35hp/147 lb-ft of torque. It would also include an independent suspension, regenerative braking, and advanced drive-by-wire electric/hydraulic steering.

Exterior

To enhance its aerodynamics, the Ellure features a deeply skirted front fascia and semi-transparent front grille with small openings to direct the wind over and under the body. The vehicle also features a full underbody pan, molded side rearview camera housings in place of traditional outside mirrors, small wheel openings and full transparent covers over the 21-inch 5-spoke aluminum-allow wheels that are mounted with low-rolling resistance Michelin tires.

“Aerodynamics has become a critical element of design for all vehicles today, not just hybrids or EVs. We’ve used Ellure to explore subtle ways to reduce or eliminate body openings that can cause drag, such as the solid yet transparent coverings on the wheels and grilles, without impacting the beauty of the vehicle,” said Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer at Nissan.

The most distinctive aspect of the vehicle’s exterior though, is probably the full tinted glass roof set between two flowing shoulder lines that is embedded with red mood lighting for the interior. Meanwhile, the sides of the vehicle sport large 90-degree opening doors with rear-hinged rear doors for full panoramic interior access.

Interior

Inside, the instrument panel design reaches across the width of the vehicle with a “floating” center console featuring touch displays. A console-mounted central controller provides access to heating, air-con, ventilation, audio, navigation and other functions, while a truncated steering wheel provides a clearer view of the instrument panel and touch display screens. There are also touch controls with haptic feedback on the armrests.

The interior can seat five passengers and features a variety of eco-friendly materials, including black eco-suede made from recycled fibers for the front seats, chrome-free leather made using an eco tanning process for the instrument panels, and carpeting made from handmade strips of 100 percent wool felt.

“Our goal is to rejuvenate the sedan’s attractiveness to buyers who might have migrated to other segments, or who are coming reluctantly into the category,” says Nakamura. “It’s an ideal fit for the needs of its projected owners, women in their ‘30s and ‘40s with a sense of sophistication and rebellion.”