Nissan Z crossover is hopefully not a sign of things to come

Sorry to start the year with this, but a Nissan Z crossover is apparently scheduled to appear at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Called the Nissan Fairlady X (the letter “X” for “cross”), the car is being built by students at the Nissan Kyoto Automobile College. So, thankfully, it’s not an official Nissan concept. For now it’s just a project to teach students how to build cars.

We feel kind of bad for the students, because they’re getting ripped to internet shreds for the car, which actually looks to be well built. Our criticism isn’t a judgment on their craftsmanship, but the idea of a Z crossover to begin with.

According to the school, the Fairlady X is based on a Murano platform, but with the RZ34 nose and taillight treatment grafted on. The Z’s heritage wasn’t lost on them either, as the orange-and-black paint scheme and rear spoiler are tributes to the Fairlady Z432-R.

Sure, it’s sexier than a regular Murano, but it’s also answering a question no one asked. There have already been Z crossovers. They were branded as Infiniti EX and FX, but shared the same FM platform as the 350Z and 370Z. Those RWD-biased crossovers were fairly performance-oriented though, but something tells us a Murano-based one would lack that same pizzazz. Nissan’s also taunted us with a rally Z-based concept before as well, the GripZ.

With GM reportedly planning to make Corvette and Camaro entire sub-brands with their own crossovers (like Ford did with the Mustang Mach-E), you just know there’s a marketer at Nissan thinking the same thing about the Z while rubbing his hands together evilly, Montgomery Burns style. Hopefully this project remains a one-off and doesn’t give the higher-ups at Nissan any bright ideas. Maybe its best to stick with sports car projects like a Miata-based RX-3.

This post is filed under: Tokyo Auto Salon.

7 Responses to Nissan Z crossover is hopefully not a sign of things to come

  1. Fred Langille says:

    The boomers are all grown up and, want to bring their creature comforts or, some potting soil along with a couplea sheets of plywood as well as pick up kid at soccer practice. It looks well designed and COULD keep those with a Z experience aligned with the pressing familial and practical needs. The eMustang is pretty cool although I’ve never done more than sit in one. Let these guys loose and encourage them to design RELEVANT and USEFUL vehicles. This one ain’t bad so, let’s see how MUCH better they can do (don’t even mention electric … I feel the median charge distance bust be over 300 miles, we’re not there yet).

    • Crown says:

      Good point. Also harkens back to the ’60’s Volvo P1800 I believe it was, that had a coupe version and also the square glass back version which I liked better than the coupe.

  2. Nigel says:

    This just makes me cross (X)

  3. BlitzPig says:


    • Ian N says:

      Agreed – how anyone can relate a Volvo P1800, a thing of beauty, as WAS the Nissan Z – with this…. THING is just worrying, which only brings me to question: is April 1st celebrated on a different day in Japan?

  4. speedie says:

    All the carmakers are trying to figure out how to translate their current heritage models to an ever changing market. This is an interesting design exercise for students to take on (Hint: they are more likely to influence future design than you and me). I think there is zero chance that Nissan would market an SUV of the Z as a Z, but rather as Ben points out, as an Infiniti instead. With the consumer choosing the SUV as the vehicle of choice and electric powertrains being the way of the future, the future of the Z is definitely in peril in its present form.

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