Design

Nissan's 'Timeless Japanese Futurism' does not include a tablet-style infotainment screen

The Nissan concept shows off a single wide screen instead of two separate disolays.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Don't blame it on the rain. Blame it on Tesla and Volvo, the pioneers of the tablet-style infotainment screen. They literally flipped the infotainment script on what customers expected from their systems with display graphics that were cleaner and truly different in the vast sea of colored buttons and song names cut off on the display.

In the years since, many automakers have followed suite, most notably with Ram's 12.3-inch and Ford's 10.1-inch vertical displays. Nissan, like Hyundai, will be bucking the trend.

Nissan ariya concept 2020The interior off the model shows off its roominess with horizontal space showcased by long design lines across the dashboard. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

When developing its display for the Ariya Concept, Nissan prioritized design and vision over the tablet trend. Instead, the design team created a curved two-screen display that was made to look wave-like and give a sense of horizontal proportion.

The layout reflects Nissan's new Timeless Japanese Futurism design language, also expressed in the Ariya Concept's unique shield (instead of a grille). This look is something that Mercedes-Benz has begun to embrace, and Cadillac has executed in the new Escalade.

"The human eye naturally looks from side to side when driving," explains Tomomichi Uekuri, senior manager of HMI engineering team. "People can see and absorb more information if it's laid out horizontally. Peripheral vision works this way as well."

According to the automaker, "In addition to conveying information better for the human eye, the layout does so from a safer location — in the line of sight, closer to the road. By matching the cabin's horizon aesthetic, it becomes a seamless part of the dashboard. Nissan's design team calls this "engawa" – the undefined space between where you are, and where you are going."

The Nissan Ariya Concept's display combines the information traditionally found on a driver's information display and infotainment screen and masks them under one display. Information can be changed out and moved by swiping.

"The display's wave construction is innovative and utilizes an ergonomic layout for both the meter display and the center display, not only for visibility, but also allows the driver to easily reach the center display touch screen," Uekuri explains.

It looks great, but how close is that to reality? The Ariya Concept, while futuristic, serves as a showcase of the possible. It's interlay in the realm of possibility that the design language of the model carries over into the next Rogue or Murano. It could go into Nissan's new all-electric SUV.

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Lincoln updated the flagship Navigator SUV for 2022.

Lincoln

Evie was smitten at first glance. If my ‘mini-me’ granddaughter who loves cars could have whistled through her teeth, I’m sure she would have. Eve Marion Judge, aka “Evie” was 7 when she first saw a Lincoln Navigator. It was clear that the exterior bling caught her ‘crow eyes’. The large and luscious grille. The bejeweled trim elements. The bulbous tires beset with wheels that twinkled. Paint that sparkled and invited a palm swipe. Evie was already a discriminating auto enthusiast who was in the habit of seeing a new car parked in my driveway each week. It wasn’t simply about things that glitter—for her, the rubber would meet the road when she climbed aboard her car seat and took stock of the second-seat passenger roominess and amenities. A monitor to access technology? Check! Window and illumination controls within easy reach-check. Her own climate and audio controls-double check!! And, now, the cherry on top: “how many of my friends can ride in here?”, she asked. “Seven riders total,” I said. “Fine, will you buy this for me when I get my driver’s license?! Now, this is my favorite car ever!

That was last year. I took Evie to the Chicago Auto Show recently. Now 8, she was already aware from some television commercials that the 2022 Lincoln Navigator had some upgrades and made a beeline to the updated Navigator on the show floor. She visited repeatedly during our time at the CAS and sampled the second-row massaging seats and learned how to use audio commands to obtain directions and other useful information. She was thrilled at the 10-inch rear screen that features live streaming provided by Fire TV. Her love interest held steady!

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe three-row Navigator shares quite a bit with the Ford Expedition underneath.Lincoln

I had the opportunity to drive the updated version of Lincoln’s crown jewel on a ride and drive program in Arizona recently and to speak with Lincoln engineers and designers. I was enamored with this full-sized luxury yacht that won the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury’s top award as the Car of the Year in 2018 and I share many of the same passion points as Evie. But, I too was looking forward to sampling what is new. Let’s take a closer look at the 2022 Navigator, plus a couple of new concepts that Lincoln has developed to stand apart in the ever-growing premium segment where the Navigator competes. Although Lincoln considers the Cadillac Escalade its only true rival, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Range Rover, BMW X7, and a couple of Mercedes vehicles sit in this class.

We started the day at the first Lincoln Boutique in the country, Sanderson Lincoln in Scottsdale. This new concept will give customers a unique experience by visiting an upscale, quiet space to have a latte and light snack as well as learn more about this luxury automaker that is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, plus have a new kind of dealership experience. The luxury automaker is also developing its new Lincoln Loyalty and Access Rewards programs that let buyers and lessees earn points redeemable for service, maintenance and purchases and also participate in “world class experiences”, such as the new pilot for a new Mobile Vehicle Spa Service!

While the 2022 Lincoln Navigator shares its mechanicals with the Ford Expedition, its sheet metal is unique from the front door forward and the flagship sport ute boasts a sumptuous cabin that is beset with exclusive, high-end materials and a lengthy list of standard comfort, convenience and technology features. New styling updates bring a refashioned grille and new exterior lighting elements. Interior enhancements include a new infotainment display with updated Sync 4 software, and two new Black Label design themes: Central Park sports a tasteful and clever laser-etched map of the park's pathways on the IP while Invitation adds an open-pore Kai wood trim with an overlayed geometric motif as well as black leather upholstery with brandy-colored stitching.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorLincoln fitted a new infotainment system for 2022. Lincoln

Also new is Active Glide, a hands-free, semi-autonomous driving mode, along with other updates that include improved massaging seats and an option for second-row massaging seats; new interior chimes and alerts recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; a larger 13.2-inch display; and an adaptive suspension that is programmed to react to a forward-facing camera to read bumps in the road and prepare the suspension to minimize impact and improve ride comfort.

The Navigator comes in a standard wheelbase or a “L” long wheel-based version and has seating for up to 7 or 8. It’s available with 2WD (rear-drive) or 4WD (AWD) and can tow up to 8,700 lbs. Trims include Navigator, Reserve, and Black Label. Pricing starts at $76,710 and tops out above $105,000.

I sampled different trims on a drive of close to 200 miles, with stretches of city traffic and twisting two-lanes that ascended to Payson, situated at an altitude above 5,000 ft. Slipping inside posh cockpits, my drive partner and I found supple leather, high-end wood trims, knurled metal knobs, 30-way power-adjustable front seats that make the Navigator easy to tailor for drivers and passengers of varying sizes. As a short-statured tester, I particularly appreciated the power-retracting running boards, adjustable pedals, and power-adjustable steering wheel and loved the heated/ventilated seats. I also liked the ease of access to the third-row seat and the overall comfort, roominess of the cabin, and the good stowage, with the third-row seat folded.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe Navigator offers great space across all three rows of seating.Lincoln

The Navigator is powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and has quick acceleration with 440 hp and 510 ft.-lbs. of torque. The 10-speed tranny works seamlessly on up and down-shifting duties and aids in the fuel economy of this nearly 6.000-lb. SUV. Despite its heft weight and wheelbase, it drives more lightly on its feet than I imagined and has well-weighted steering and good brakes. We tried out the hands-free driving and found it reliable on the bustling freeways in the Phoenix environs.

The Navigator is set up to be a mobile technology hub with a standard 13.2-inch touchscreen, standard Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with standard over-the-air software updates. There are USB ports in every row and it is a rolling 5G Wi-Fi hotspot. Standard is a 14-speaker Revel stereo system, with an optional 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D system that also comes standard on uplevel trims and with the Luxury Package.

Standard safety features with Lincoln’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist technologies bring blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection among other features. Of note are adaptive projector headlights and active park assist 2.0.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorActive Glide, a new semi-autonomous driving assistant, is available for 2022. Lincoln

**EPA fuel economy ratings: rear-wheel-drive 17 city/ 23 mpg highway/ 19 combined; 4WD 16 city/22 highway/18 combined.

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Full-size pickup truck

2022 Nissan Titan pricing announced

The 2022 Titan starts at $39,705

Nissan

The gas-powered full-size truck market is as strong as ever, even as new electric trucks start hitting the road. Toyota just released an all-new Tundra, the Ford F-150 offers an innovative hybrid powertrain, and GM recently overhauled the tech in its full-size pickup twins. Though it's not quite on the level of its competition, the Nissan Titan offers decent capability and a standard V8. Pricing for the Titan line starts just shy of $40,000.

2022 Nissan TitanNissan fully refreshed the Titan in 2020Nissan

Pricing for the 2022 Titan starts at (including $1,695 destination):

  • Titan S King Cab 4x2: $39,705
  • Titan S Crew Cab 4x2: $41,475
  • Titan Platinum Reserve Crew Cab 4x4: $61,675
  • Titan XD S Crew Cab 4x2: $47,275
  • Titan XD Platinum Reserve Crew Cab 4x4: $64,735

The Titan got an overhaul for the 2020 model year and it sees new standard features for 2022. The base Titan S adds a standard trailer hitch and Berliner, the SV trim gets navigation, dual-zone climate controls, and more. All trims get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane departure warnings, blind spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts, and rear automatic braking.

2022 Nissan TitanThe Titan gets new standard features for 2022Nissan

A single powertrain is on offer for the 2022 Titan, but it's a good one. The truck comes standard with a 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive. That powertrain enables a max towing rating of 9,660 pounds, which is not as strong as the Titan's rivals, but should be plenty for the average truck owner.

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