After a lot of teasing, last week, Nissan unveiled the twelfth generation of it's Navara NP300, known since 1998 in North America as the Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup truck. We're thinking that this could be a preview of the forth generation of the Frontier, though Nissan isn't exactly saying yet. Our observations are based on the NP300, and not on any concrete specs about the North American version.
The new version is more of a subtle evolution than a revolution in terms of styling. The grille incorporates Nissan's signature V grid. Front visuals don't differ much from the current generation and the door panels are more pronounced, as well as slightly wider. The hood is shorter and the front fascia is taller. Front fenders and rear end seem less prominent, skewing a traditional sense of symmetry. Boomerang-shaped headlights have integrated LED lights, like the Rogue. According to Nissan, the Navara NP300 would have a higher ground clearance, lower pavilion and a wider loading tray.
Availability will depend on the market, but so far the NP300 is scheduled to be offered with 2.5-litre engines, in both gasoline and diesel powered versions. The Navara NP300 offers a choice of two, four-cylinder engines, one of which is turbocharged. It produces 188 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, 297 of which are available from 2,000 revolutions per minute. This is a step up from the current Frontier, which has a 152 hp four-cylinder.
It could be a good choice for a work truck, but most Americans would prefer a V6. Nissan may also choose to enlist a 2.8-litre Cummins turbodiesel, which we saw under the hood of their concept vehicle, to rival the Duramax turbodiesel in the upcoming Chevy Colorado. Only two transmission options are offered- a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic. Nissan's continuously variable transmission is conspicuously absent from the lineup.
The Nissan Navara NP300 comes with a choice of King or Double cab, as well as two or four wheel drive models. Obviously, different driving aids will be integrated, including Dynamic Vehicle Control, traction control, Hill Start Assistance, and Hill Descent Control.
Inside, the interior is luxurious, modern and ergonomic. Materials have been improved, and different aluminum accents have been integrated into the design. A centre touch screen can display the navigation system, audio system as well as various vehicle and operating settings.
Nissan North America spokesperson Dan Bedore said, "The Navara, which is designed for global markets, including Thailand, is not an indication of an impending launch of a new Nissan Frontier for the US market." He added that "we cannot comment on future plans for Frontier," noting that the midsize truck "is a very important part of the Nissan lineup and of our truck growth strategy for the US." In the meantime, Nissan is "focusing on selling our current Frontier and gearing up for next year's launch of the all-new full-size Nissan Titan."
Is the Nissan Navara NP300 the upcoming Nissan Frontier? Only time will tell, but it seems that not every manufacturer is willing to abandon the fight for this category.
Here is a video of the Nissan Navara NP300
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca