2018 Nissan NP300 Navara-based SUV leaked - Image via BurlappcarEnlarge Photo
Nissan is out testing a mid-size SUV based on the rugged underpinnings of the global NP300 Navara pickup truck, and the first photo of the completed design has hit the web.
The image above was sent in by a reader to blogging site Burlappcar and reveals the Chinese market version of the body-on-frame SUV. In China, the vehicle is expected to be called a Paladin, the name Nissan currently applies to the Xterra in China.
We previously heard the vehicle will debut next April at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. However, we’re now hearing the debut could take place later this year, possibly as early as the 2017 Guangzhou Auto Show later this month.
2018 Nissan NP300 Navara-based SUV spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-MedienEnlarge Photo
The vehicle will feature 7 seats, allowing it to compete with rival body-on-frame 7-seaters such as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, and Toyota Fortuner.
If sold in the United States, we would likely see the vehicle revive the Xterra name. That’s because the NP300 Navara pickup, with which it shares a platform, was sold here in previous generations as a Frontier. And the Frontier shared its underpinnings with the Xterra.
Nissan certainly has room for the vehicle in its U.S. lineup, especially now that the similarly sized Pathfinder has adopted car-like unibody construction.
2015 Nissan NP300 NavaraEnlarge Photo
Interestingly, we hear the automaker is cooking up a new Frontier for the U.S. market. The new pickup is due later this decade and is expected to be closely related to the global NP300 Navara, so perhaps an SUV variant bearing the Xterra name could follow.
The previous Xterra was one of the few mid-size SUVs civil enough to drive around town but also perfectly capable off the pavement, and a new generation could prove decent competition for the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Ford Bronco.