Nissan has released the first official images of its upcoming Terra SUV ahead of its expected debut at the 2018 Beijing auto show in April. A traditional body-on-frame design, it’s nothing like the youth-targeted TeRRA concept that Nissan unveiled at the 2012 Paris auto show. Instead, it follows the formula of the recently departed Xterra in both design and mission. It utilizes the chassis of the Navara mid-size pickup, which is not currently sold in the States, as well as much of its styling inside and out.
Nissan made no mention of the Terra’s powertrain, but the current Navara employs a trio of inline-fours in the 133 markets where it is currently sold: 2.3- and 2.5-liter diesels and a 2.5-liter gasoline engine, paired with either a seven-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Two- and four-wheel-drive versions are available. The global Navara pickup shares little to nothing with our current Frontier; it is, however, the basis for the Mercedes-Benz X-class and Renault Alaskan pickups, neither of which is sold in the States.
Cribbing bits from a pickup for an SUV is a time-honored formula, and it’s one that seems to be making a comeback, which is interesting considering that, for the past decade, the industry has been moving to unibody designs in the name of reducing weight and increasing fuel efficiency.
Nissan is optimistic about the growth of the market for body-on-frame trucks and light commercial vehicles, so much so that it’s ambitiously aiming for a 40 percent increase in sales of those vehicles by 2022. That’s a tall order, but we’re sure the Terra will be warmly welcomed when it goes on sale in China this spring. Additional Asian markets will follow shortly thereafter. The Terra also seems an obvious choice for the U.S. market—it’s even got a familiar-sounding name.