2008 Detroit Auto Show: Nissan Forum Concept

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  • Looks like: We’re still not quite sure
  • Defining characteristics:  No B-pillar, no track for side doors
  • Ridiculous features: Surveillance monitors for back seats
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Remote. Some of the design language might make a new minivan, but the structure and tech features would make it too costly for a typical family

Nissan seems to think it needs a new minivan to replace the Quest. While other car companies like Ford and GM have ditched the segment entirely, Nissan keeps plugging away. The latest attempt is the Forum concept. The radical looking van is actually quite innovative in a number of ways; unfortunately, all that innovation has little chance of making it to the driveway anytime soon.

The coolest part for minivan owners is that there is no pillar behind the front seats. Instead, the front doors open 90 degrees and the rear doors open on a unique hinge instead of a sliding track. That means there is room for stylizing the side panel, but we just don’t see much stylization there. It also means easier entry for all parties.

Inside there is a gorgeous upscale interior, a sky panel roof with hidden screens, and plenty of entertainment options co-developed with Bose. The rear seats get surveillance cameras to keep an eye on the kiddies as well as a swivel design, much like the seats found in Chrysler’s new minivans.

We like the idea of the Forum quite a bit, but we wonder if this is a look at a future consumer product or just a daydream for busy moms and dads. More photos below.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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