Invitation Concept Previews Nissan’s New Honda Jazz Rival

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Nissan already has three contenders in the popular European market B-segment: the Micra hatchback, the Juke mini-crossover and the Note mini-MPV.

Yet its Invitation concept that was unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show is, in Nissan’s own words, “a new offering in the compact hatchback segment in Europe, to join Micra and Juke”. Did you notice that the Note is conspicuously absent from the previous statement?

So it’s a fair assumption that the Invitation, which Nissan says will enter production in 2013, will replace the aging tall hatch.

“The name we have given to this concept is self-explanatory”, said Nissan’s Deputy Division General Manager of Product Strategy and Product Planning Division Francois Bancon. “It is inviting thanks to its sensuous exterior design and generous and comfortable interior space, cleverly packaged within compact overall dimensions.”

The 4,150mm long, 1,740mm wide and 1,470mm tall Invitation is based on Nissan’s new V-platform, which also underpins the Micra. It features a McPherson strut front and a torsion beam axle rear suspension, with the latter designed for minimal intrusion in the boot compartment.

Nissan claims that thanks to the lightweight platform and the aerodynamically-optimized bodywork, it aims for a CO2 emission target of under 100 g/km.

The aggressively styled front end along with the prominent side crease, or “Squash Line” as Nissan calls it, and the steeply raked windshield give the Invitation a more dynamic appearance despite its bigger-than-normal height.

Nissan revealed that the production model will be built at its Sunderland plant in the UK alongside the Juke. The Japanese carmaker will invest £125 million (US$196.7 million) in the factory that will carry out not just vehicle assembly, but also cylinder head casting, camshaft machining, engine assembly and axle production.