Nissan Bringing Back Body-on-frame With Terra SUV, Starting in China
Nissan has twice confirmed production for its Navara-based body-on-frame sport utility vehicle. Called the Terra, rumors of the new model had off-road enthusiasts cocking their hands in preparation for a round of high-fives. Unfortunately, the vehicle appears to have been specifically designed for the Chinese market and may be spending all of its time in Asia for a while.
That hasn’t kept people from speculating that the Terra might eventually replace the Pathfinder or return as a successor to the defunct Xterr a. We’re dubious of any claims that the Pathfinder might return to body-on-frame status. Sales of the model have been steady in North America and have not been hurt by its unibody design. But, with Nissan’s Frontier badly needing an update, it is not inconceivable that it could spawn an SUV using the Xterra name in a couple years.
Nissan has been careful not to suggest that the current Navara would become the blueprint for the next incarnation of the Frontier. But Nissan’s North American executives have also said they are aware that there has been a growing interest in body-on-frame vehicles.
However China remains the current priority, according to Ashwani Gupta, global head of light commercial vehicles for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. He again verified the Terra as a model created for the Chinese market in a recent interview with Automotive News but wouldn’t rule out the model for North American entry later on.
“We can do anything,” he said, suggesting a strong case would still need to be made if the Terra were to make into the United States, “
It is a little weird that so much of the domestic advertising for trucks and SUVs in the U.S. focuses upon ruggedness and trail-worthy capabilities when so much of the market is saturated with unibody crossovers. America could probably handle one or more two body-on-frame vehicles that aren’t over 200 inches in length. The Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner shouldn’t be having all of the fun.
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