Back in May 2020, Nissan announced their bold and ambitious plan to launch 13 new and updated models within 18 months. At the time, the move was unprecedented as it's not often a manufacturer announces their plans for the future. Then there was the number of models they planned to introduce. Launching five models in one year is tough enough, but 13? It was a tall order.
Looking back, not only did Nissan pull it off, they even finished it way ahead of schedule. That's because they managed to reveal all 13 models in less than a year. If you find it hard to believe, let's run down all the models they launched since the announcement from 11 months ago.
The Ariya debuted in July 2020, mere months after it was shown as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. This model aims to build on the success of the Leaf by putting electric power in the most popular body style these days, the crossover. But perhaps the most notable thing about it is its transition from concept to production. Put the prototype and road-going versions together and you'll have a tough time spotting the differences.
The Armada is essentially the Patrol for the North American market. Revealed last December, it wasn't just a rebadge this time around. The new Armada has unique front and rear bumpers, likely for compliance laws. It's also available with different wheel designs. Not only that, the Armada gets a newer and wider infotainment screen. There's even a luxurious variant that replaces the second-row bench seat with a pair of captain's chairs.
When Nissan introduced the new Frontier back in February, it was nothing like its predecessor. The 2021 model is no longer a Navara with a different name. The mid-size pick-up is now its own unique model. Put it side by side with the new Navara (also part of the 13 new model plan) and there's no need to explain any differences inside and out.
The updated Kicks was among the first models launched included in Nissan's bold 2020 plan. This model is the first crossover to benefit from Nissan's unique (and ingenious) hybrid drive system dubbed e-Power. The line-up has grown since then with compact turbo-gas engines serving as optional powertrains. Best of all, we already know it will be arriving in the Philippines.
This was the “Mystery M Crossover” we mentioned last year. The Magnite is yet another subcompact crossover from Nissan, and they introduced it back in October 2020. It slots below the Juke and the Kicks, making it the smallest crossover in the Nissan range. Primarily intended for the Indian market (with a Datsun badge), the Magnite is also making its way to parts of Southeast Asia.
It was in November 2020 when Nissan pulled the covers off the updated Navara, and it was more than just a cosmetic update. We got to see it first-hand last month, boasting several enhancements that can lure some prospective pick-up buyers towards the Nissan showrooms. The 2021 Navara has a bigger bed and an upgraded rear suspension, showing that its upgrades are more than skin-deep.
The Note holds the distinction of being the only mass-market model that isn't a crossover, SUV, or pick-up that Nissan launched recently. Also released in November 2020, the subcompact hatchback wears its green credentials on its sleeve (or in this case, the tailgate). You can't have it with a downsized-turbo engine or a compact diesel. This city car only has one powertrain option available, and that's the e-Power series hybrid system. Nissan aims to blend the benefits of an electric motor in the Note, but sans the range anxiety.
The fifth-generation Pathfinder was launched alongside the redesigned Frontier. While it's no longer a rugged, truck-based SUV, its exterior does a great job masking its car-based chassis. With its large dimensions and room for eight, it's up against the likes of the Ford Explorer and Mazda CX-9. We'd like to see this model in local showrooms, but sadly, the chances of it landing here are slim to none.
Nissan doesn't have a shortage of subcompact crossovers. There's the Juke, Kicks, and more recently, the Magnite. But the model that started it all for them was the Qashqai. While it's not offered in the Philippines, this model enjoys great success in Europe. First launched in 2007, the first Qashqai was a bit like a mini X-Trail. The third-generation (launched February 2021) steps out of its big brother's shadow with a more striking design inside and out.
If you want to know what the next-generation X-Trail will look like, just check out the all-new Rogue. It was June 2020 when Nissan launched their bread and butter crossover, and it presented a radical departure from the current model. The soft lines and curves gave way to slashes and flared fenders, making it the most aggressive-looking X-Trail (and Rogue) yet. The redesigned Rogue and X-Trail also form the basis of the fourth-generation Mitsubishi Outlander.
Technically, this is the X-Terra, but we all know what it really is. The 2021 X-Terra is the heavily updated Terra, and Nissan went to great lengths is improving their pick-up-based SUV. It's not often a facelift model gets massive changes inside and out, but that's exactly what the Japanese automaker did. With the new Navara in showrooms already, we can't wait for Nissan Philippines to launch the new-look Terra soon.
Last but not least, the all-new Z. Okay, it's the Z-Proto for now, but it's essentially a thinly-veiled concept car that's a few tweaks away from the production version. Like the past two generations, the redesigned Z takes cues from the classic 240Z and 300ZX models. From its round headlights outside to the hooded dials inside, this sports coupe follows the school of retro-futurism. That said, it won't be a long wait before we see the road-going version, as spy shots of it have started to float around the internet.
Given the difficulties they faced for the last couple of years, Nissan's 13-car launched seemed impossible to achieve when they first announced that plan. But now that they've done it and accomplished it ahead of schedule, it seems that Nissan wants to show everyone they can bounce back and be even stronger than before.