Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: | posted July 29, 2014 09:28
Nissan to compete in pickup-based SUV segment with NP300 Navara-based model
At the Global Media Drive of the 2015 Nissan NP300 Navara in Chiang Mai, Thailand, AutoIndustriya.com was able to speak to Chief Vehicle Engineer Takashi Fukui about the new pick-up and platform.
Being that the Philippines is a market that responds very positively to the arrival of a new truck-based body-on-frame SUV, we just had to press Fukui-san for the possibility of an SUV based on the new NP300 Navara.
"Yes," answered Takashi Fukui. "We have just begun the development of it."
There you have it. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.'s Light Commercial Vehicle department (which Fukui-san heads up) has already commenced development of a vehicle that will compete in the medium SUV category of the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport/Pajero Sport, Isuzu MU-X/Alterra and the Ford Everest.
We had to press the question due to the NP300 Navara's impressive rear suspension. Unlike other pick-ups which use leaf springs, the new NP300 -with the exception for the crew cab and cab/chassis versions- already rides on a 5-link rear suspension (though still a rigid axle) and coil springs; one of the essential developments common in truck based SUVs for a comfortable ride.
We asked Fukui-san for a tentative timeline for the said pick-up-based SUV , to which he did not commit a definite answer apart from it being more that 2, 3 to even 4 years away.
We also asked what name it will be given, but Fukui-san could not confirm it. Previous body-on-frame SUVs have been called the Terrano and Pathfinder.
Is it worth the wait? Based on our drive of the Navara, we surely think so.
Give us your feedback below on what you think about this new project from Nissan.