Likely to arrive in 2017 as a replacement for the aging Patrol

The third-generation Nissan Navara was unveiled in June 2014, replacing the 10-year-old second-gen model in certain markets around the world. The pickup truck features a significantly improved exterior design that adopted Nissan’s current styling language, a revised interior, updated 2.5-liter gasoline engines, and brand-new, 2.3-liter turbodiesel mills. Unlike its predecessor, the new Navara has yet to spawn a U.S.-spec model, known as the Frontier, but this version is expected to arrive by 2018 and we’ve already speculated about what it might bring to the table. Meanwhile, the Japanese manufacturer is working on a new SUV based on the Navara’s platform.

The people hauler has been rumored ever since the third-gen truck arrived, with the most important hint being the new five-link rear suspension. The much-anticipated SUV is rumored to arrive as a replacement for the larger Patrol, but there’s no specific information on that matter. Actually, Nissan has yet to confirm a Navara-based crossover, but the spy shots we just received from our trusty paparazzi are proof that Nissan is indeed working on a new SUV. Not much is known as of September 2016, but these photos give us a closer look at the the company’s new people hauler. Join us in our speculative review to find out more.

Updated 09/12/2016: The upcoming Nissan Navara SUV was caught testing one more time, this time wearing its production body. The model is expected to hit the market in 2017 and will be offered in both 5-seat and 7-seat configurations.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Nissan Navara SUV.

Spy Shots

September 12, 2016 - Nissan Navara SUV caught testing with production body

2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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May 25, 2016 - First testing session

2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

The prototype may be wrapped in heavy camouflage, but the similarities to the Navara truck are pretty obvious up front, where the overall shape and size, the hood, and the fenders are identical to the model it is based on. The center section of the mule is also clearly Navara, but things change completely beyond the B-pillar.

On the first test mule, the rear section was borrowed from the previous-generation Pathfinder right down to the tailgate, vertical taillights, and even the rear doors and high-mounted door handles. Nissan was apparently still trying to figure out which setup worked best for the platform and the new five-link suspension system, but later following prototypes received production-ready bodywork with extensive modifications.

As the SUV is approaching is official debut, it still features a boxy rear end, but the tailgate a more stylish, raked appearance, the window is smaller, while the bumper is beefier and has a wraparound design. The taillights are a massive departure from the Parthfinder’s vertical units, being replaced by horizontal clusters with LED technology.

Interior

The interior of the SUV should retain most of the Navara’s features so expect a multi-function steering wheel, a wide center stack consisting of a touchscreen and numerous buttons and dials, and a tall center console. While the front compartment will mirror the Navara’s, the rear passenger will be reconfigured for enhanced comfort. While headroom and shoulder room are likely to remain unchanged, expect the SUV to feature enhanced legroom. Nissan is said to offer both five- and seven-seat versions. The former will naturally come with the most luggage room, especially with the second-row seats folded flat. Certain chassis tweaks should also give the SUV a more comfortable ride when compared to the pickup truck.

Drivetrain

2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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Driving information is not yet available, but the SUV is likely to receive the same engines as the pickup truck. If this proves to be the case, the hauler will come with a 2.5-liter gasoline unit and a choice of three diesel engines, including 2.3-liter and 2.5-liter powerplants. The latter features an electrically actuated turbocharger and is available in two states of tune: 161 horsepower and 297 pound-feet of torque and 188 horses and 332 pound-feet of twist. Transmission choices should include a six-speed manual and the new seven-speed automatic with manual override. Of course, Nissan could add another engine to the range, but we won’t know for sure until more details become available.

Prices

It’s too early to talk about prices, but given that the new SUV will sit above the Qashqai and the X-Trail, we expect it to cost a bit more. With the X-Trail priced from £21,995 (about $32,315) in the U.K., the new crossover will probably fetch more than £23,000 (around $33,800) before options. For reference, the Navara pickup truck retails from £22,000 (about $32,325).

Competition

Chevrolet TrailBlazer

2013 Chevrolet Trailblazer High Resolution Exterior
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Also based on a pickup truck, this time around the Chevrolet Colorado, the second-gen TrailBlazer was launched in 2012, three years after General Motors discontinued the first-generation model. Unlike the upcoming Navara-based SUV, the TrailBlazer is offered with diesel powerplants only. The entry-level unit is a 2.5-liter, Duramax with direct injection rated at 161 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The four-pot mates to a six-speed manual transmission.

The second choice is a 2.8-liter Duramax with variable-turbo direct injection that cranks out 197 horsepower 369 pound-feet of twist. The oomph travels to the wheels through a six-speed automatic. While the 2.5-liter model can only be had with two-wheel drive, the 2.8-liter is also available with an AWD system in the range-topping trim. Built in Thailand and Brazil, the TrailBlazer is only sold in Southeast Asia, South America, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Australia, with no availability in Europe or the United States as of 2016.

Find out more about the Chevrolet TrailBlazer here.

Conclusion

2018 Nissan Navara SUV Exterior Spyshots
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There isn’t much info to run by here, but Nissan could use a replacement for the aging Patrol, and a Navara-based SUV sounds like an excellent idea. Not only is the Patrol getting old, but its massive 5.6-liter V-8 makes it a forbidden fruit in important markets like Asia and Europe. This new people hauler has far greater potential to become a global SUV and its modern platform and more efficient engine could turn it into a popular choice as well. Of course, this also depends on the final styling, interior features and pricing of the vehicle, but we won’t find out more about that until later this year.

  • Leave it
    • * Likely won’t be sold in the United States
    • * Tough market in Asia and Europe
    • * We don’t know much about it right now
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