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2003 Nissan Serenity Concept

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- Could Japanese DNA Influence Future Production Nissans?

It's not like the recently introduced Murano crossover SUV is up for replacement anytime soon or anything, but nevertheless the prolific Japanese automaker that makes it came to the Tokyo motor show with a concept vehicle so forward thinking that the production Nissan almost looks dated in comparison.

The Murano won't need to be replaced any time soon, but that hasn't stopped Nissan from looking at something that could replace it in the future. (Photo: Nissan)

The Serenity is lower and more car-like than the Murano, what Nissan refers to as a next-generation multipurpose sedan at 1,550 mm (61.0 in) in overall height, but what I see as kind of a cross between a modern day sport wagon and extra-large hatchback cum minivan. A minivan? It's the sliding side "swing doors" and vertical rear liftgate that endear it to this genre. And after all it's Nissan that has recently been changing perceptions of a minivan's sporting potential with its new Quest.

The Serenity is lower and more car-like than the Murano, what Nissan refers to as a next-generation multipurpose sedan. (Photo: Nissan)

But Japan's number two automaker seems to be on a new "quest" lately, attempting to celebrate its Japanese heritage by crafting new concepts with styling details inspired by all that's good in the land of the rising sun. The carmaker refers to this direction as the inclusion of "Japanese DNA," something I have to admit would be refreshing considering that the majority of the land's carmakers have spent decades imitating European designs.

There's also a certain tranquil quality to Japanese architecture, for instance, a simple elegance that would transfer over to automotive applications nicely. At the same time there's a willingness from the country's car designers to experiment, the courage to attempt outlandish new concepts way outside of convention, despite the worldwide criticism from automotive elitists that often follows the Tokyo motor show's radical adventures in creativity.