Nissan’s new British-built supermini is undergoing final chassis testing on UK roads ahead of its launch next year.

An intensive UK road testing program has been budgeted as part of the car’s engineering effort to ensure it competes dynamically with Ford’s class-leading Fiesta.

Nissan’s executive vice-president, Andy Palmer, has previously said he has been “nigh on fanatical” about tuning the hatch’s ride and handling to British tastes.

“Hand on heart, I believe it’s a credible Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo rival,” he said at Geneva in March when the Invitation concept, on which the hatch is based, was revealed.

The photos above, snapped by an Autocar reader, appears to back that up. The lightly disguised prototype was testing on roads close to Nissan’s European technical centre in Bedfordshire.

The resemblance to the concept is clear, but with show car features such as the bulging rear wheel arches and twin trapezoidal exhausts toned down for production. However, the car does appear to retain the concept’s muscular front wheel arches and intersecting styling lines.

Nissan is understood to have an autumn launch next year in mind for its new hatch, possibly after a Frankfurt show reveal. The Invitation name isn’t confirmed for production.

Thanks to: Autocar