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2018 Nissan Terra outed as Navara-based wagon

By Tony O'Kane, 18 Dec 2017 Car News

2018 Nissan Terra outed as Navara-based wagon

Do you miss the ‘old’ Pathfinder? Well, it’s back… kind of.

Remember when the Nissan Pathfinder was a proper 4x4, riding on a Navara-based body-on-frame chassis instead of the car-like unitary construction the present-day three-row wagon uses?

Nissan itself hasn’t forgotten either, and to sate demand for rugged large SUVs in China the company has once again given its Navara the wagon treatment. This time around, however, the Pathfinder badge is nowhere to be found – say hello to the unfortunately named Nissan Terra.

The Terra plonks a three-row wagon body atop the NP300 Navara’s ladder frame chassis, resurrecting a format Nissan surrendered when it launched the current-generation Pathfinder. At 4882mm long and with a 2850mm wheelbase, the Terra is significantly shorter than the 5255mm Navara dual-cab (which straddles a 3150mm wheelbase), though its 1850mm width is identical.

In the Chinese market, the Terra will be powered by a 137kW 2.5-litre petrol engine, and take power to either the rear wheels only, or all four via a 4x4 transfer case.

But while the Terra gives Nissan a handy competitor to the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X and Ford Everest (all of them based on commercial ute underpinnings), a local arrival is far from certain.

Nissan Australia remains noncommittal, saying that its “current SUV line-up is performing well,” and that it, “continues to evaluate all product options globally for their suitability for Australian customers”.

Would it be welcome here though? Body-on-frame SUVs based on commercial vehicles may suffer from worse refinement and packaging than monocoque SUVs like the current Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Kluger, but their rugged appeal and go-anywhere capability sees contenders like the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Isuzu MU-X convincingly outsell the supposedly more passenger-friendly Pathfinder.

Even the Ford Ranger-based Everest is only 20 registrations behind the Pathfinder in year-to-date sales figures. Would the re-introduction of a Navara-based people-carrier deliver Nissan Australia a more bountiful harvest? That’s no doubt a question the company’s product planners are currently wrestling with.