The heavily camouflaged SUV might well be at a private testing ground because it is right-hand drive and being driven on the left-hand side of the road. Nissan of course has a factory and private test facilities near Barcelona, where the previous model Navara ute was built.
Earlier spy pictures of the carmaker’s latest vehicle showed a Navara front end with an angular Pathfinder rear. But the SUV pictured here is altogether different again, showing hints of the softer design lines of Nissan’s 2017 X-Trail, for example.
What will it be named when the seven-seater arrives to take on ute-based rivals like the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Holden Trailblazer, and Isuzu MU-X? That’s if Nissan NZ decides to take it.
“Having access to a product like a Navara-based SUV would be nice, but it’s purely a concept discussion now, with no immediate opportunity,” said Richard Emery.
“There is definitely a segment there to be tapped into, and there is some volume opportunity. But can you spread yourself that thinly by having cars available in every segment? What is the added benefit overall?”
“Ultimately there would be cars you’d love to have that might not make sense from the business case. So if this vehicle was available, it wouldn’t be automatic that we’d take it either. The case needs to add up.”
Expect the Navara SUV spin-off to sport a version of the ute’s five-link rear suspension with coils, 140kW/450Nm 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, six-speed manual and seven-speed auto transmission options and dual-range four-wheel drive system.
Again, what would Nissan call it? Pathfinder is out, given the name’s already in use on the soft-roader. Terrano – a variation on the Latin ‘terranus’, or ‘earthy’ – is still in use in some markets; Armada is used in the US; X-Terra is retired. Perhaps Nissan might call it the ‘Navara Sport’. Perhaps a new name altogether.