A compact sports car for younger owners and a crossover vehicle for older drivers looking for an up-market product. The Azeal and Infiniti Kuraza, concept cars unveiled at the last Detroit Show, confirm Nissan’s interest in the North American market.

The Azeal is a compact sports coupé designed with broadly curved surfaces and geometrical inserts that all add up to a distinctly contemporary look. The grid pattern on the radiator grille, repeated on the seats and climate control vents, is reminiscent of a similar design feature previously seen on the Chappo (a concept car that anticipated the Cube at the 2001 Geneva Show) but that has now become a particularly pleasing motif on the Azeal.

While the Azeal is still only a prototype it could well become an entry level model in the Nissan range targeting the American market, a role currently filled by the Sentra.

Instead the proposal for the Infiniti brand is very different indeed, a large, de luxe SUV designed as a pure research prototype based on the Alfa floorpan (the same as the one used for the Armada, Pathfinder and Titan). The Kuraza’s imposing size makes it tailor-made for America, even though inside the approach is typically Japanese, with a spacious, light-filled interior. An aesthetic taste also exemplified by the choice of materials, like the floor made of wood with aluminium inserts, as found on luxury yachts. The undulating waist and roof lines are a solution intended to ensure maximum space and visibility for all six passengers in their six identical seats, arranged in three rows and each accessed by its own door.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 151

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