Nissan considering Xterra revival; 'it's got to be authentic'



The revival and revitalization of classic off-roaders is proving to be very popular with buyers, and highly profitable with automakers, particularly with models like the Defender, Bronco and revamped Land Cruiser. There are a couple of exceptions that haven’t seemed to fully capitalize on this trend, with one noteworthy example being Nissan. Potentially its most well-known off-roader, the Frontier-based Xterra, has been absent since the 2015 model year, nearly a decade ago. But after talking with Nissan Americas Senior Vice President and Chief Planning Officer Ponz Pandikuthira, it seems we may see a revival, yet.

To be perfectly clear, Pandikuthira did not confirm an Xterra. But he did say that the idea is being “very actively considered.” Additionally, we found him to have a clearer idea of a modern Xterra than expected for something that’s not truly confirmed. One of the chief criteria he listed was that “it’s got to be authentic,” and that it has to be a “serious truck.” Basically, it can’t be just a Rogue with all-terrain tires, but something with real truck capability. He also noted that it would both need to be relatively inexpensive, as well as incorporate some modern design details. Both of those sound refreshing in a world of extremely expensive and retro-styled off-road rigs. Furthermore, that would seem to line up with something that Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Global Design Alfonso Albaisa told us about how he sees the opportunity now to have retro designs that are more subtle and allude to past design cues without being restricted by them.

As such, while we could see some retro cues and features, it seems to us that this hypothetical neo-Xterra would probably be based on an existing truck platform, probably the Frontier’s, which would be right in line with the original, and likely what fans of the model would like. But it might not be as retro as expected, with nods being low-key and less obvious. Nissan has been releasing some pretty radical looking concepts in the past year, too. One of them being the Hyper Adventure concept you see at top. That could provide some design inspiration for the final product.

These are our best guesses based on what we know, and they generally seem to add up. The market seems right, the use of an existing platform would keep costs down and feasibility up, and it seems like Nissan higher-ups are interested. So we think a new Xterra could have a good shot at reality. If nothing else, it seems like a great idea to us.



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The revival and revitalization of classic off-roaders is proving to be very popular with buyers, and highly profitable with automakers, particularly with models like the Defender, Bronco and revamped Land Cruiser. There are a couple of exceptions that haven’t seemed to fully capitalize on this trend, with one noteworthy example being Nissan. Potentially its most well-known off-roader, the Frontier-based Xterra, has been absent since the 2015 model year, nearly a decade ago. But after talking with Nissan Americas Senior Vice President and Chief Planning Officer Ponz Pandikuthira, it seems we may see a revival, yet.

To be perfectly clear, Pandikuthira did not confirm an Xterra. But he did say that the idea is being “very actively considered.” Additionally, we found him to have a clearer idea of a modern Xterra than expected for something that’s not truly confirmed. One of the chief criteria he listed was that “it’s got to be authentic,” and that it has to be a “serious truck.” Basically, it can’t be just a Rogue with all-terrain tires, but something with real truck capability. He also noted that it would both need to be relatively inexpensive, as well as incorporate some modern design details. Both of those sound refreshing in a world of extremely expensive and retro-styled off-road rigs. Furthermore, that would seem to line up with something that Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Global Design Alfonso Albaisa told us about how he sees the opportunity now to have retro designs that are more subtle and allude to past design cues without being restricted by them.

As such, while we could see some retro cues and features, it seems to us that this hypothetical neo-Xterra would probably be based on an existing truck platform, probably the Frontier’s, which would be right in line with the original, and likely what fans of the model would like. But it might not be as retro as expected, with nods being low-key and less obvious. Nissan has been releasing some pretty radical looking concepts in the past year, too. One of them being the Hyper Adventure concept you see at top. That could provide some design inspiration for the final product.

These are our best guesses based on what we know, and they generally seem to add up. The market seems right, the use of an existing platform would keep costs down and feasibility up, and it seems like Nissan higher-ups are interested. So we think a new Xterra could have a good shot at reality. If nothing else, it seems like a great idea to us.



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