The five-link rear suspension to the new Navara raises an obvious question: is there an SUV coming to sit on this platform?
TMR can now confirm that an SUV wagon, sitting on the New Navara platform, is “in the works".
Chief engineer of the new Navara, Mr Takashi Fukui, confirmed to TMR at the launch of the new Nissan Navara that he and his team were now working on an SUV.
The new Navara was four years in the engineering. I asked Mr Fukui if the SUV was “four years away”, he said, “No, one year".
That means thing are well advanced, and, as that five-link rear suggests, an SUV version was part of the original brief in the development of this platform.
Indeed, Victor Nacif, General Manager, Global Product Communications, had earlier confirmed to me that Nissan has plans “to develop other products from this platform”.
So what will it look like? Most likely a Navara with a wagon back. (Pictured above and below is a rendering by independent artist, Theo Chin.)
That will take this product ‘back to tors’, back to the original Pathfinder which sat a wagon hat on Navara 4X4 underpinnings.
And surely, this is the gap that has now opened in Nissan’s global product portfolio, and an opportunity begging in Australia.
Toyota dropped its HiLux-based 4Runner years ago (although a new Fortuner is anticipated), the Pathfinder is now a soft-roader with no low-range transfer case, and the FJ Cruiser has no diesel option.
That’s a yawning gap in Australia’s SUV-obsessed market. And one that Ford is going to jump into with its Ranger-based Everest.
It’s a gap likely to now have growing appeal to families who want a genuine 4X4, also want the economy of a diesel engine and a tough ladder-frame chassis, but who are not willing to pay the $60k-plus premium where (mostly) the bigger 4X4 wagons begin.
Design the Navara SUV
Ok, now it’s over to TMR readers. Can you better Theo Chin's renderings above and below?
Get into Photoshop and get your new Navara SUV into gear. Remember: it will carry a lot of the design of the new Navara, certainly have a Navara nose and front doors, but the back will be all-new.
Integrate a back on it and rear doors, and we’ll publish the best three with a few words from the winners in a week or so.