Design

Don't call it a grille; Nissan's Ariya Concept has a sensor shield

Nissan has designed a new technology shield that replaces the traditional grille.

Photo courtesy of Nissan

Gasoline and diesel engines need to breathe air to live. They get that air through various means, but most often it's the grille at the front of the car. Electric vehicles require no such accommodation. What then will become of the grille?

Nissan's design team is innovating the look and function of the typical grille area. In the company's Airya Concept the area typically reserved for the grille has been turned into a hotbed for sensors.

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Utilizing an aesthetic called Timeless Japanese Futurism the model has a a face that looks traditional yet advanced - not too outside the norm for the buying audience. The Concept utilizes Nissan's signature v-motion design to create a "shield" that hides advanced technology behind its interface.

"By replacing the conventional grille with the tech shield – with innovative 3-D texture within that goes beyond aesthetics – we wanted a way to highlight the technology within the vehicle, just behind the surfaces," said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of global design at Nissan. "In this case, its advanced technology that helps the Ariya Concept read the road and visualize things the driver can't see making what is invisible, visible."

Changins from a grille to a shield was a challenge for the design team. They had to not just sketch the idea, but also test the thickness of the material used, amount of metallic flake in the paint, and pattern. The shield uses the same polycarbonate material found on the car's headlamps transformed into a single piece with a geometric traditional Japanese pattern.

"The surface has no gaps," said Giovanny Arroba, Program Design Director, Nissan. "It's smooth like a sheet of silent water, with the kumiko pattern sitting just underneath the surface."

The Ariya Concept isn't just for show. It's a showcase of the true future of Nissan. GottaBeMobile's Josh Smith recently took the Nissan e-4orce, a vehicle that rides on the same platform as the Ariya, for a ride with Savannah Peterson, founder, Savvy Millennial.

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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The 2022 Frontier gets a brand-new face and updated tech.

Nissan

After 16 years on sale in its current form, the Nissan Frontier is a familiar face on our roads. The truck, which is technically old enough to get a driver's license and drive itself, is being totally overhauled for 2022, and the new look is a big departure from the ute we've seen for so many years. Nissan announced that production has started, so we don't have much longer to wait to see it in action for ourselves.

The new truck's 3.8-liter V6 has already been in action powering the 2021 Frontier. It produces a class-leading 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, and sends its power to either the rear or all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.


2022 Nissan Frontier Production is underway in Mississippi.Nissan


This is the first new Frontier we've seen in over a decade, so the upgrade in technology is steep over the previous truck. The 2022 Frontier can be optioned with a surround-view camera system with off-road mode that automatically displays terrain around the truck when it's shifted into 4LO. The system displays guidelines and can help the driver navigate tough obstacles on the trail. A host of safety features will be available that includes automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, high beam assist, and more.

Other than its age, there was nothing particularly wrong with the previous Frontier's interior, but the new truck looks to be considerably more upscale and modern. Various trims come with interesting contrasting color schemes and the truck gets Nissan's excellent Zero Gravity seats as standard. New hydraulic cab mounts should help quell vibrations inside, and traditional hydraulic power steering will provide excellent steering feel and feedback.

Nissan is building the new frontier in its Canton, MS facility, while the truck's engine is being built at the automaker's powertrain plant in Tennessee. We'll start seeing the new model on dealers' lots sometime in late summer 2021, and you can find a first drive review of the truck right here in a few weeks.


2022 Nissan Frontier The new trucks will arrive on dealers' lots later this summer.Nissan

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