NISSAN GRIPZ CONCEPT PLAYS ENCORE IN TOKYO, HINTS AT NEXT JUKE

Though we saw it already in Frankfurt, Nissan‘s Gripz crossover was one of the better concepts at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Oh, there’s plenty of samurai-slash in the detailing, but Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura’s team has at least allowed the surfaces to breathe. In a show littered with Ginza-by-night weirdness, the Gripz looks edgy, striking, muscular, and modern. And that’s a good thing, because what you’re basically looking at is the design for the next-generation Nissan Juke.

Nissan’s quirky little crossover has been a surprise hit worldwide, and Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has no intention of letting the momentum slide. “We will not be complacent in this segment,” he says. Look past the Gripz’ auto show eye candy — monster wheels, shaved roofline, hidden door handles — and it’s clear he means what he says.

Link text….Scheduled to debut in mid-2017, the Gripz-inspired Juke will be built off Nissan’s highly flexible Global B platform, though it will be slightly bigger than the current model in almost every dimension.

Though the next-gen Juke will feature conventional powertrains, the Gripz’ underpinnings show how Nissan could leverage EV skills developed via the Leaf across a variety of small cars and crossovers. The Gripz concept is presented as a series hybrid, which means the electric motor drives the wheels at all times, and the on-board internal combustion engine is used to generate electricity to help power the electric motor or top off the battery. The electric drive motor is the same as that used in the Leaf