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Definition of smart-casual.

WE all know about the iPod. Well here's the Townpod, courtesy of Nissan rather than Apple.

This latest design concept, currently on display at the Paris Motor Show, is aimed at individuals who can't be - or don't want to be - easily pigeon-holed.

Nissan makes the comparison with a simple white T-shirt when describing the Townpod - it's usually worn casually, but can be combined with a suit to look sharp. Similarly, the Japanese company's genre-busting concept mixes the comfort and style of a passenger car with the business-like utility of a commercial vehicle - and be used for business or pleasure.

Townpod employs the same zeroemission technology found in Nissan's LEAF electric car. Charging points can be found in the nose behind an automatically retracting cover, which appears to be backlit thanks to its electric blue painted surrounds reflecting off the car's Stratosphere White paint.

And the position of the headlights allows a coupe-style bonnet line feeding into a visor-like wraparound glass arrangement reminiscent of the Nissan Cube.

But the car is more van-like with its split rear doors, while the rear features back lights on the right, a number plate on the left and a reardoor handle set into a concave surface.

Access to the cargo area from the rear is unobstructed, thanks to hinged back doors, while large apertures on either side mean that cumbersome loads, or wriggling toddlers, can be placed in the car with ease.

Forward or reverse drive is selected using a joystick set into the right-hand side of the driver's seat base and all controls for the likes of climate control and media playback are accessed through two digital screens.

The upper monitor serves as an instrument panel, displaying car speed, battery status and remaining range as well as a sat-nav equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology.

And the lower touchscreen provides controls for the navigation system, allowing users to perform system checks on the whole car.

Says Franois Bancon, general manager of Nissan's Exploratory and Advance Planning Department: "Not so long ago cars were fitted with cassette players, then CD players and now we must be iPod compatible.

"This will not remain the same for long, so Nissan Townpod must be compatible with whatever musthave device sits in our future."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 1, 2010
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