MISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - The Nissan FORUM, an exploratory design
concept developed by Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA), represents the next
revolution in family transportation. Answering the challenge of making family
passenger vehicles more appealing to both drivers and passengers, FORUM offers
a wide array of innovative ideas - from its trackless sliding side doors and
elimination of traditional B-pillars, to an interior featuring a
multi-position swiveling 2nd row seat and next-generation entertainment and
family communications technology. FORUM makes its world auto show debut at the
2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Two Independent Zones In One Room
As its name suggests, FORUM is conceived as a "gathering place," bringing
adults and children together in two independent but linked "zones." Targeting
families with older children who not only can entertain themselves but also
demand to, FORUM respects the needs and desires of both grownups and kids.
In front is the parents' zone, with advanced information technology
controls and seats designed to enhance driving pleasure. The rear zone is the
dedicated kids' space, where they can feel comfortable and entertained.
FORUM's advanced technology bridges the two zones, as desired, into one unique
family "togetherness" space.
"From a conceptual standpoint, FORUM is closer to a family limousine than
the minivans Gen Xers have grown up with. But unlike a real limo - or
sometimes traditional minivans - the FORUM driver is just as important as the
passengers," said Rachel Nguyen, director, Advanced Planning and Strategy,
Nissan North America, Inc. "It offers a sophisticated space for adults and an
engaging space for children - allowing both groups to enjoy themselves in
their own individualistic ways while being connected in one vehicle. Like
every Nissan, this dramatic FORUM Concept combines passionate driving, emotive
design and an abundance of advanced, user-friendly technology."
The FORUM conceptual and design teams took care to consider the needs of
both male and female drivers. "Traditional minivans are often perceived as the
'Mom's car' - but FORUM is designed to be gender neutral. The reality is that
both Moms and Dads want style, performance and driving pleasure in their
vehicles, whether transporting kids or not."
Research shows that the primary driver of family vehicles often changes
depending on the day of the week and family schedules. During the week,
FORUM's primary driver might be a mom, picking up the kids at school, dropping
them off at practices or lessons - so we've incorporated advanced
communications systems such as rear seat camera monitoring cameras and audio
controls. "Sometimes being a mom is just about managing the chaos, but moms
also deserve some personal space of their own. FORUM is designed to give moms
a balance between needs and the kids'," said Nguyen.
On the weekends, a dad might become the primary driver, taking over FORUM
for errands, longer trips or recreational drives - so FORUM is designed with
responsive power and handling, and more aggressive, performance-car styling
than traditional family vehicles. FORUM also offers the exceptional
flexibility required to haul large objects and other "weekend gear."
"We also know that with traditional minivans, both moms and dads
sometimes feel like they are sitting in a kids' playroom - losing their
identities in the vehicle," continued Nguyen. "FORUM lets kids be kids and
grown-ups be grown-ups, with the adults firmly in charge."
Ultimately, FORUM is conceived as a place to share - a destination in
itself, as well as enjoyable transportation to other venues.
"There are many occasions during a week when, with a family's busy
schedule, the vehicle is the only place where everyone is together - so we've
incorporated features and technology to enhance this precious 'quality time,'"
Pushing the Envelope of Exterior Design
Though respecting the basic layout of a "one box" design, FORUM Concept
adds a higher level of dramatic styling through its wide stance, high
beltline, wide-open visibility and an aggressive front end appearance.
FORUM's design innovations include wide-opening front doors and no
B-pillars - creating exceptional access to the 2nd and 3rd row seats. FORUM's
front doors open 90 degrees, which combined with the long sliding side doors,
create wide openings for easy entry and exit of all three rows. "We were able
to engineer the lack of B-pillars through use of extra thick reinforced roof
and door frames - putting the material where it needs to go to help maintain
structural integrity for this concept," said Bruce Campbell, vice president,
Design, NDA. "Not only does this greatly enhance the ease of getting in and
out of the rear seats, it allows us to utilize the 2nd row seat as a sort of
'bleacher' - adding a new dimension to watching sports, picnicking or other
outdoor family activities."
Another exterior innovation is FORUM's trackless sliding side door
design, which offers a clean, uninterrupted, non-traditional profile. A
special patented hinge system makes the trackless door possible.
Integrated into the SkyView(TM) moonroof panels are hidden sunshades,
which allow the glass panels to be closed off during hot days. Other exterior
features include LED lights front and rear, with a subtle LED light bar
accenting the sweeping grille and hood design; soft-edged side outside
mirrors; wide six-spoke alloy wheels and low-profile tires; a wide rear hatch;
and dual exhaust outlets.
A Suite Interior
Inside the sophisticated skin is where FORUM really comes alive. The
aniline leather-appointed, pedestal-style driver's and front passenger seat
and cockpit area - surrounded in rich aluminum and wood - offers "front cabin"
comfort and control.
FORUM's dramatic "floating" instrument panel design blends
next-generation communications technology with simple, intuitive controls. The
instrument panel includes dual climate controls, Bluetooth(R) wireless
technology and mood lighting under the upper and lower console areas. A
built-in console-mounted microwave, sized to fit a standard bag of microwave
popcorn, is accessible from the front and center seats.
FORUM also features special vertical wave pattern carpeting. The one-inch
thick "modern shag" style carpeting is 100 percent wool and, despite its
elegant appearance, is easy to clean.
Designed in conjunction with the pillar-less side doors, Forum's
revolutionary "Turntable Seating" 2nd row bucket-formed seat rotates 90
degrees to either side to create "grandstand" seating for watching sports or
for picnicking and "side-gating."
The seat also rotates a full 180 degrees to face the three-passenger rear
seat, creating family-style seating for up to five passengers. The 2nd row
seat is operated by a small motor mounted in the vehicle floor. When it is
time to rotate the seats, the center console lifts up and the two seat halves
come together. At the same time, the two front seats move forward to aid in
The 2nd row seat also includes individual wireless monitors, located in
the seat console, for watching DVDs or playing games, and integrated seat
belts (also utilized in the front and 3rd row seats).
Togetherness Through Technology
FORUM's interior is also a showcase for the latest mobile communications
technology, much of it developed in conjunction with the Bose(R) Corporation.
"With older, more self-sufficient children, the driver's role becomes
more of a coordinator, rather than a protector, allowing the driver to enjoy
her or his own time while facilitating togetherness," said Campbell. "The idea
is to enable controlled craziness in the rear zone, rather than complete chaos
- which we've accomplished with a combination of communications and monitoring
Close watch on rear cabin occupants is provided by a "Kids Cam"
monitoring system, which utilizes 2nd and 3rd row cameras mounted in the
headliner and connected to the main instrument panel LCD display monitor.
Selectable camera control switches are mounted above the rearview mirror.
A one-button audio muting "Time Out" system, with the controller located
in the lower center portion of the steering wheel, allows the driver to
simultaneously mute all audio playing in the FORUM and broadcast the driver's
voice over all interior speakers - enabling quick and easy communication to
both rows of rear seats.
"The 'Time Out' system gives the driver and passengers a sometimes
much-needed time out, while the rear zone cameras enable observation - and
interaction - when needed, while helping drivers keep their primary attention
on the road," explained Campbell.
FORUM also offers an advanced Bose(R) Media System, which combines
infotainment features and intelligent design, with single knob proximity
sensor-based controller helping the driver, again, keep their focus where it
should be - on the road. Waving a hand near the controller triggers infrared
sensors to bring up the initial system interface.
The Bose(R) Media System's unique interface allows easy access to a
wealth of features, including XM(R) Satellite Radio, hard disc drive music
storage, DVD, iPod(R) interface, Bluetooth- Hands-free Phone System and an
advanced navigation system.
FORUM also employs Nissan's advanced Around View Monitor (AVM) system,
found in the new 2008 Infiniti EX35. The AVM system includes front, side and
rear-mounted cameras and an advanced controller that combines the images
together to give the driver a unique view of all four sides of the vehicle -
helping to reduce driver blind spots when parking.
State-of-the-art audio is provided by the Bose(R) SeatCentric(TM) system,
which includes headrest and seatback speakers for consistent stereo image
event as the seat swivels - along with independent audio programming for all
Working in conjunction with the wide opening sliding side doors is the
Bose(R) FreeSpace(R) outdoor audio system, with speakers mounted on the
trailing edges of the sliding doors and a wireless media player controller -
providing full-range audio entertainment outside the FORUM.
Respect For The Environment
FORUM's efficient, intelligent design features also extend to the
powertrain. Though as a design exploration, FORUM's emphasis is limited to
form and functionality, conceptually a modern, next-generation family
passenger vehicle would include a clean diesel or other environmentally
"Nissan has previously announced that it will be offering a clean diesel
engine in the United States in the next generation Maxima, so a similar
powerplant would be a definite consideration for a vehicle like FORUM," said
Campbell. "Nissan is also an industry leader in CVT (Continuously Variable
Transmission) technology, so you could predict smooth, responsive performance
worthy of the Nissan badge."
Redefining Family Transportation and Quality Time
"While some people think that family transportation vehicles are a thing
of the past, Nissan's view is that vehicles just need to evolve along with
changing family dynamics," concluded Nguyen. "Quality time used to be more
about the quantity of time spent together with the kids. Today, it's more
about dedicated moments for family fun, entertainment and communication. FORUM
is a great place to gather together and rediscover each other once in a
Bose(R), Bose(R) SeatCentric(TM) and Bose(R) FreeSpace(R) are trademarks
of The Bose Corporation.
XM(R) is a registered trademark of XM Satellite Radio Inc. iPod(R) is a
registered trademark of Apple, Inc. The Bluetooth(R) word mark and logos are
owned by Bluetooth SIG Inc., and any use of such marks by Nissan is under
license. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
(*) A clean diesel or other environmentally sensitive powerplant is
designated for FORUM Concept, not actually installed in show vehicle.
For further information:
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