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Nissan Zaroot Concept Car 

Broadcast dates : 1st May 2005
7th May 2005

You know the old question: "What have you been smoking lately?"

Well, if the answer to that is "a couple of zaroots", maybe you too could have designed something as restrained and utilitarian as this.

Jokes aside, Nissan assures us that there’s nothing homegrown about this sporty utilitarian vehicle. The idea was to put the zoot into ute, so to speak, and hence it’s rather… individual character.

The Zaroot broke cover at the Geneva Show a few months back, and word has it that it’s been wowing audiences as far afield as Timbuktu and Tongaat ever since.

It was, and remains, a pure concept-vehicle, and other than the fact that it has an electronic all-mode four-wheel-drive system and twenty-inch diameter wheels, we can’t tell you very much about it technically.

It’s name, you’ll be relieved to know, is derived from the word root, as in the "source of all things", and route, as in the "chosen path ahead".

Tye-died-in-the-wool Zaroot fans and other hippy types will appreciate immediately that the Zaroot has gull wing doors, all the better to fly with.

As owners of 1955 Mercedes-Benz SLs soon came to realize, there are a few places you shouldn’t open gull-wing doors. These are where other cars are likely to park next to you, and in your garage, where the doors tend to jam solid against the ceiling.

Nissan have solved this problem by splitting the gull-wing doors into two halves.

The first half flaps up, but not too high, and the lower half slides under the body so you can actually climb in. What Fun!

There’s plenty of stash space in all sorts of nooks and crannies in the Zaroot, and there are some very spacy features too, like the floating gear-lever console.

There’s also a degree of classic Nissan design language in the ‘Root. Like the steering wheel, which seems, if you’ll pardon the pun, to have its roots in the Nissan 240Z sports jobbie from the sixties.

The exterior styling seems to combine some very rooty stuff too. Do we detect a bit of Datsun Bluebird panel-van lurking in that otherwise chunky facade?

The inner Zaroot feels as if you are sliding down a slippery hi-tech slope at times, what with all the aluminium bright work, retractable panels, cunning recessed door handles and the like.

It seems that no Rolling Stone adherent has been left unturned, as they even use crocodile skin for the upholstery, according to our information.

For the practical-minded, there is a vinyl covering on the floor at the rear, which will, according to the press blurb, making cleaning the Zaroot a pleasure, not a chore.

But despite our poking fun, Nissan is serious about the Zaroot, at least in terms of design themes for its future SUVs.

Apparently, many of the ideas, such as the sporty character combined with the SUV high vantage point, is something customers want to see more of in future production SUVs.

Until then, we dream on… drive on… and light up a cheroot!

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