If you thought Nissan was crazy for attaching snow tracks to its Rogue crossover, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Now, the Murano and the Pathfinder are joining in on the fun.
Earlier in the year, Nissan debuted a Rogue Warrior concept featuring a heavy-duty set of snow tracks.
This triumvirate expands upon that concept using other all-wheel-drive crossovers in the Japanese automaker's lineup.
The Pathfinder, Rogue and Murano are all sporting suspension lifts, snow tracks, some fresh vinyl and...that's it!
Yes, you read that correctly -- there were no large modifications to the vehicle or its AWD system to accommodate these tracks.
Theoretically, you could do this to your own Nissan crossover if you wanted -- and if you don't care about your factory warranty.
Despite the Chicago Auto Show starting just two days from the time of writing, Nissan decided to let us have a go in these ridiculous machines.
The verdict? They're tons of fun to drive...even if driving them isn't necessarily fun.
Grip abounds with these tracks. We climbed very steep snow hills, and the cars just kept going. It was genuinely impressive.
Of course, all this grip comes with a few downsides.
Namely, your ride quality will suffer -- greatly.
The tracks are bolted right to the wheel hubs, so every minute vibration works its way from track to steering wheel.
The steering wheel shakes like a paint shaker that hasn't had a drink in a couple days.
Then there's the noise.
The tracks are quite loud, both outside and inside the vehicle. Do you like yelling to (not at) your passengers? Then you'll love driving a crossover with tracks.
But you do get quite a marvelous show once you hit some fresh powder.
The tracks kick up snow all around the vehicle, giving the crossover its own cloaking field -- which doesn't really work all that well when it's wrapped in bright red vinyl.
Paint these suckers brilliant white, though, and they'd practically disappear into the background.
The tracks also cut into rear-seat ingress and egress.
Be careful not to slam a shin into the track when entering the vehicle, and make sure not to trip or stumble on your way out.
Standing still, each member of this unholy trinity looks downright angry.
If you're a clean freak who can't handle a bit of the white stuff on your paint, then you might want to avoid the whole aftermarket-track-installation thing.
But if you value fun and grip above all else, it's not a bad way to spend a fair amount of money and become utterly unstoppable in the winter.
You should probably check your local ordinances before slapping a set of tracks on, though -- good luck finding a county where these bad boys are street legal.
Best of all, if you can handle the suspension lift on the road, all you need to do to make these cars legal is put the wheels back on, which you can do with a jack and a tire iron.
The only other issue with a track-equipped crossover is the steering angle.
As the cars are currently set up, you can't turn the wheel more than 120-180 degrees without the tracks either breaking trim pieces or tearing into the front fenders.
Go too fast over a mogul, and the suspension will compress the rear tracks right into the quarter panels, as well.
Your fearless author may or may not have broken the Rogue's windshield-wiper-fluid tank after a bit too much steering input. Sorry about that once again, Nissan!
For all the downsides, though, these cars are absolutely riotous when around the white stuff -- sort of like pre-rehab Robert Downey, Jr.
Simply put, you can't go wrong with a crossover built to tackle snow with ease. Even if it is only a concept.
Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.