Nissan previews rugged, body-on-frame SUV ahead of China reveal, but all is not quite as it seems.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Nissan has revealed the first official images and details of its upcoming Terra SUV, and if that name has you thinking that this is a revival of the company's much-loved, rough-and-tumble Xterra SUV, you're not alone.
But you're also not entirely on-point. According to Roadshow sources, despite appearances, this vehicle is "intended for China and other Asian markets. There are no plans for North America for this particular vehicle."
The new Terra, which is a "frame-based SUV" — code for "not a unibody crossover" — will bow in China this spring, likely at the Beijing Motor Show in April.
Nissan's new Terra SUV isn't necessarily the next Xterra
The new seven-seat Terra is expected to be heavily based on the company's latest Navara pickup, a vehicle that's related to North America's Frontier midsize truck. The US and Canada's current Frontier has fallen behind the latest D23-generation Navara pickup, which has been on sale since 2014, so while the two pickups are in the family, they're not really the same thing anymore.
Regardless, a next-generation Frontier pickup is still expected here in the next couple of years, where it will have to contend with the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado and the new Ford Ranger. To that end, it wouldn't be at all surprising for that truck to spawn a two-box variant to cash-in on today's SUV-crazy sales climate. Nissan North America executives have acknowledged renewed interest in body-on-frame SUVs — primarily due to the upcoming Ford Bronco revival — and the company knows that it has a good amount of equity built up in the Xterra name.
Nissan's Xterra last roamed North American showrooms in the 2015 model year.