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Navara NISMO versus Toyota GR HiLux? Nissan's performance brand to expand to utes and SUVs

Nissan's NISMO brand is set to expand.

Nissan's NISMO performance brand is set to expand to car-maker's ute and SUV line-up, setting the scene for a performance ute showdown between the Navara, HiLux and Ranger.

Rumours of a Navara NISMO hav circulated for years, with the brand in Australia making no secret of the fact it wants one, and sources in Japan telling us that research and engineering work had been invested in a vehicle that would focus on on-road performance rather than off-road punch.

But today NISMO's global CEO, Takao Katagiri, has called out the brand's utes and SUVs as targets for a performance expansion, with the executive team "having lots of discussions" about how expand the brand in the USA and beyond.

"When we look at the USA market and what our competitors are doing there, I think there is a possibility in the crossover and truck segments going forward," Katagiri-san told Automotive News.

The vehicles to which Katagiri-san is are referring, in the USA, are the Titan, and the American answer to the Navara, the Frontier.

But if the Frontier goes NISMO, you can be sure the Navara will follow. And given the America's penchant for petrol-powered vehicles, there's every chance it could end up powered by the twin-turbocharged V6 engine currently at work in the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport and the new Nissan Z; a 3.0-litre unit that produces an impressive 298kW and 475Nm.

And that would set a sensational showdown, not just with the incoming 2022 Ford Ranger Raptor, but with the all-but-confirmed Toyota GR HiLux, which is expected to make use of the LC300's 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, good for a massive 700Nm.

Which means we stand at the dawn of a new era of performance utes. And that can only be good news for all of us.