Is Nissan Reviving the Xterra SUV?
Nissan’s Senior VP of Product Planning drops positive hintsby Mark McNabb, on
Nissan is looking “very, very closely” at bringing the Xterra SUV back to life for a third generation. That news comes from Nissan’s own Michael Bunce, who serves as senior vice president-product planning for Nissan North America. In an interview with Wards Auto, Bunce said Nissan is watching the renaissance of the off-road utility segment with new vehicles like the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler and Ford’s upcoming Bronco due for 2020.
“[Xterra] is a great asset in terms of a name and a badge, “Bunce said. “It’s on the shelf right now, but it’s something we could utilize in the future.” He backed up Nissan’s reasoning with research the automaker has done on Millennial males. “Through devices they’re becoming more isolated and they want to reconnect with friends, family, outdoors. And a vehicle is an expression, a way to do that. We’re doing a lot of work in the space to understand that customer very well.”
Of course, Bunce made no official statements or promises about the Xterra’s revival were made. Interestingly, rumors of a body-on-frame SUV coming from the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance have surfaced and suggest something could debut at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show in April. Motor Trend, which published the rumors from its unnamed source, says it is possibly the third-generation Xterra. At this time, we’ve seen no spy shots of test vehicles or any other leaked information suggesting the Xterra will return.
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Should Nissan Build the Xterra?
Like the first and second generation Xterras before, an upcoming iteration would likely be based on the Frontier mid-size pickup
The SUV and crossover segment is exploding in popularity these days thanks to buying trends and lower fuel costs. In 2017 alone, we’ve seen the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and Infiniti QX80 have all undergone updates both big and small. Likewise, Fiat Chrysler has killed off its small car production (Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200) to build more SUVs and crossovers. Ford is rumored to be planning the same strategy.
Now, more than ever, seems like the right time to bring back the Xterra.
Like the first and second generation Xterras before, an upcoming iteration would likely be based on the Frontier mid-size pickup. Nissan has been working on the next-generation Frontier for some time now, though it’s not clear if the automaker will use its globally available Navara platform or develop a North America-specific chassis for the new pickup. The Navara chassis is already proven a successful and sharable platform. It underpins the Renault Alaskan and Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickups.
The last time Nissan built the Xterra, the calendar said 2015, however, the Frontier pickup on which it’s based is still in production
Nissan is also rumored to be developing a new, small-displacement V-6 that’s possibly turbocharged for use in the next-generation Frontier and even the full-size Titan pickup. If true, expect this V-6 to be used in the Xterra, as well.
As for that next-gen Frontier, Nissan will likely debut the pickup sometime in 2018 as a 2019 model. Nissan will be fighting against its long-time rival, the Toyota Tacoma, along with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, not to mention Ford’s new Ranger pickup, which is also due in 2019.
The last time Nissan built the Xterra, the calendar said 2015, however, the Frontier pickup on which it’s based is still in production. The Xterra got its start during the 1999 model year. A mild facelift came in 2002 before the second-generation debuted in 2005. Another facelift came in 2009.
Read our full review on the 2014 Nissan Xterra.
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