Photo: Nissan

The Nissan Terra is a truck-based frame-built off-roadable SUV that actually looks pretty badass. I bet it’d be a solid successor to the venerable Xterra, if only it’d make its way to America. It’s brand new, but it feels familiar.

In 2015, Nissan’s mid-sized pickup truck, the Navara, got a major redesign for every market around the world except for the U.S.A., where it’s known as the Frontier.


I thought, surely, with the mid-sized segment heating up here America would have the Navara’s sleek new styling imported to Nissan stores as our next Frontier in short order.

But Nissan said no back then, and three years later, there are indeed no signs of the USDM Frontier getting any kind of refit at all in the foreseeable future.

This week the world was introduced to the Terra, which looks like a lowkey Mr. Hydeified version of the Rogue or maybe an alternate-universe modern Pathfinder where that nameplate hadn’t been squandered on a minivanesque people mover.


The Terra is apparently built on the same frame-based underpinnings of the Navara, upon which the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and Renault Alaskan are also mounted.

Speaking of 2015, this reminds me of something else that happened for that model year: Ford’s T6 Ranger, the one sold outside the U.S. and soon to make a return, got a facelift and so too did its relatively rugged SUV cousin the Everest.


Despite claims to the contrary, I still have a strong feeling that the 2020 Bronco will look a lot like a 2019 Ranger with a closed cargo area instead of an open bed. I guess we’ll know for sure soon enough. But meanwhile, Nissan has bestowed us with a new 4x4 to clamor for from an ocean away. Ranger is to Bronco as Navara is to Terra, see what I’m saying?


I’m not bitter that these companies chose to keep all the cool compact SUVs out of the United States. We’ve got to keep our average fuel economy up and emissions down, after all. I just think it’s kind of funny that so much American car marketing is hinged on ruggedness and self-reliance while we get car-based front-wheel drive crossovers and the rest of the world is still selling SUVs that are built with earnest trough terrain chops like steel frames and low-range transfer cases.

It’s likely that the Terra will have the same 2.3 liter diesel currently available in the Navara, though Carscoops claims a 2.5-liter gasser will also be on the options list too.


“The Nissan Terra goes on sale this spring, first in China, with other Asian markets soon to follow” said Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president for Nissan’s frame and LCV business said in a press release.


We have a reasonable selection of capable off-road vehicles for sale in the U.S., but if you’re really hooked on these medium-sized strong-looking diesel SUVs I think you’re going to have to move to Asia or Australia.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL

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