But first, the name. It's rather cool that it's not just a reference to the year we're currently in. Concept 20-23 underlines that the Nissan Design Europe studio celebrates two decades of existence and also points out the Japanese brand's "lucky numbers," so to speak. In Japanese, "ni" means two, and "san" is three.
The designers also minded Nissan's history of making quirky small cars. For example, the S-Cargo (meaning "snail" in French), the Figaro (meaning "barber" in Italian), and the Be-1 helped the automaker gain a reputation for having eye-catching vehicles in its portfolio.
They also considered the brand's involvement in Formula E, where only all-electric cars race, and the impact video games have on the younger generation. If you were born in the '90s, then you have played titles like Need for Speed, Daytona USA, Crazy Taxi, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Gran Turismo, Test Drive Le Mans, and Forza 2. Some of those vehicles remained forever embedded into the collective consciousness. It's one of the reasons why BMW's M3 GTR (E46) got immensely popular.
The concept vehicle boasts a smiley face that feels like it's been plastered onto a shapeshifting robot. Angular shapes transform into rounded surfaces and delicate cutouts. It has a certain level of drama to it, but the designers didn't go overboard. It would be amazing if this concept could somehow end up in production.
Clean-cut surfaces reveal a silhouette that immediately makes us think of a pod that's able to manipulate gravity when needed and just unstick from the road and fly away. And sticking to the road, it does because the Concept 20-23 has nearly as much aero work as a Porsche.
The rear mimics the front with similarly shaped taillights that are interrupted in the middle. They look minimalistic but are a great addition. The small car looks modern and fresh.
The yoke-like steering wheel exuberates dynamism and suggests that the artists wanted those finding themselves inside the Concept 20-23 to feel like they're driving and flying a spaceship at the same time.
We can't help but wonder: does this preview the upcoming Micra? The little hatchback has been in production for six years now. It's due for a refresh.
Lastly, can you believe that this marvelously-looking little thing came out of the same design studio that gave us the Juke and the Qashqai?