By on October 1, 2018

Earlier this year, we addressed speculation that there was a chance Nissan’s new body-on-frame SUV — and spiritual successor to the now-defunct Xterra — could go on sale in the United States. Unfortunately, the development team behind the Nissan Terra has advised us to keep it in our pants. It isn’t coming here, despite previous claims from the manufacturer that it could be possible.

“We can do anything,” Ashwani Gupta, global head of light commercial vehicles for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, said last March, while maintaining that a strong case would still need to be made for the model’s U.S. arrival, “[The Terra has] authentic capability to go off-road — even if the customer only wants to go off-road once a year.”

Nissan has since changed its tune on the Terra’s prospects. “Currently, that is out of our scope,” Hironori Awano, chief vehicle engineer of the Terra, said during a briefing at Nissan’s global technical center last week. “The U.S. market is one of the toughest, not just because of crash tests but also because of customer expectations.” 

According to Automotive News, the SUV doesn’t adhere to the stringent safety standards imposed by the United States. It also may lack the fit and finish that North American customers are accustomed to.

From Automotive News:

The Terra’s lead designer, Masato Takahashi, said his team all but ignored North American sensibilities when designing the vehicle; emerging market tastes were top of mind.

Still the vehicle’s introduction fired speculation about a debut in the U.S., where it might slot into the lineup as a midsize sibling to the full-size body-on-frame Armada SUV.

It’s beginning to sound like the Terra might not be a quality item. Having already launched in China, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the SUV comes with diesel options most Americans wouldn’t want or the same 2.5-liter gasoline engine found in the smaller Nissan Rogue.

However, other explanations exist as to why it won’t make its way stateside. Production of the Terra is currently limited to Zhengzhou, China and Samut Prakan, Thailand. Selling it within the United States would require domestic assembly or some kind of miracle that resulted in the complete elimination of automotive tariffs and relaxed safety standards. Neither prospect is something we’re willing to hold our breath on. But if the SUV is as TERRAble as it sounds, then the only people really missing out are those who wanted a secondhand model for trail work and untold levels of off-road abuse.

Let us know if you happen to be particularly broken up about the news.

[Images: Nissan]

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16 Comments on “Body-on-lame: Nissan’s Terra Staying Clear of the U.S....”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m calling this a mistake – the ongoing popularity of the 4Runner clearly proves there’s a market for this kind of vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes, and if it were considerably cheaper, perhaps consumers would be willing to ignore the poor fit/finish. If anyone has an issue with it, the salesman can flip them to a Murano or Rogue, or simply say “its a modern Nissan, whadya expect?”.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I think Nissan’s getting a lot better in this regard with some of its’ newer offerings.

        But, yeah, it’d end up cheaper than a 4Runner, so it’d be “the competition.” They’d probably sell quite a few of them.

        Like I said…I’m feeling like it’s a missed opportunity.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Nissan version of a Fortuner, I like it. I wonder if they’ll sell them in Russia, sturdy underpowered 4wd BOF for as cheap as possible sells there (see UAZ Patriot)

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      gtem,
      It seems to be closer to an Everest than a Fortuner in it’s setup, but most likely much cheaper to buy.

      Ford of late in Australia has done a “Toyota” and has jacked up it’s pricing equivalent to VW and almost MB. Ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        It’s a smaller/cheaper-than-Prado pickup based midsize SUV (just like Pajero Sport, Fortuner, Blazer, Everest). The Fortuner is likewise available with a smaller gas motor, the 2.7L we in America can get in a Tacoma. In Russia the ‘Ace of Base’ Fortuner comes 4wd, stick shift+2.7L, black steelies, and locking rear diff as standard.

        youtu.be/FSwg3Vsk5g4

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    Nissan just gonna wait this trade war stuff out with this one. Who here thinks the chicken tax will survive this decade?

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Sell it in North America as a Mitsubishi. And make a two-door version.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Yeah, no, I don’t see this happening and not because of the cheap interiors. They have no engine for it. In USA, no one will take a 2.5l gas 4 cylinder in a vehicle that’s probably heavier than a Toyota 4 Runner. The diesel engine? Yeah, they would probably take it but after Nissan adds the SCR and all the other EPA required hardware to it, the price of the car has to go up by 5,000. So now, with the diesel engine they have to sell it for $ 35-36,000 best case scenario AND probably deemed poor/marginal by NHTSA and IIHS. This wasn’t designed in mind with those tests. This was designed for the small local barons in the developing world who didn’t quite make it to Landcruiser status. I would love to see something like this become the Pathfinder here and replace the current abomination with CVT, but this isn’t it. Could the ancient tried and true V6 from Frontier fit? Probably, but then we still have those pesky NHTSA and IIHS tests with the overlap and barrier and whatever.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I’ve seen some cheap interiors before. I’ve been into a Dacia Duster. That’s the definition of cheap. Functional but cheap. They sell for about $14,000-15,000 brand new, so maaaaybe people would put up with that cheapness at that price, but this Nissan seems to be the size of a 4 Runner so I am sure starting price in the developing world has to be $25,000 and go from there. And that with the 2.5 engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Carrera,
      I think the Terra will be coming to Australia. It will have a different engine and the interior and nanny aids will come with it to ensure a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating.

      https://www.carsales.com.au/editorial/details/nissan-terra-2019-review-112927/

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I got to ride in a family friends’ Renault Duster, one that gets used heavily for “dacha” (summer garden)hauling. They’re really neat cars, like a French-flavored Jeep Patriot. You’re right, the interior is very cheap but in a utilitarian way, and given the amount of car (in terms of AWD hardware and space) you’re getting, you don’t mind too much. The Duster is one of the better sellers over there, butting heads with the Chevrolet Niva, which is an even cheaper and more utilitarian rig, with a true full time 4wd system with locking center diff, low range, and a solid rear axle.
      goo.gl/images/YsCDov

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        gtem,
        My cousin’s kid in Paris has a Duster, remarkable and cheap. I would rather the Duster over a Patriot any day.

        She bought it to replace the Focus when her kid arrived and her husband is a sax player, so they use it to tote kid stuff and band stuff.

        It seems to be quite reliable and has more than enough basics to make it comfortable.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I can understand why Nissan USA will not get the Terra, it’s based on the Navara, the US is still running an old platform.

    I also read a long time ago that the US Frontier (Navara) will be based on the narrow body version.

    I wonder when Nissan USA will upgrade the Frontier, then the Terra might be viable. It seems to be a nice vehicle.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Thats a nice hill, where can I get me one of those?

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