Nissan set for new model wave

30 April 2014
, CarsGuide

Nissan showrooms are about to be transformed with everything from a cool small car to a handy ute and a hybrid supercar. Nissan global boss Andy Palmer says the new Navara pick-up will be unveiled next month and is set to arrive in showrooms either late this year or early next.

Palmer gives little away about the Navara, which remains the most popular model in Nissan's local line-up. However, the new models is expected to be uprated to five safety stars.

Carsguide also has been told that the current Navara's high-powered 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, sourced from parent company Renault, will be dropped because the new 2.0-litre engine will get close to the Renault's 550Nm. Other areas of improvement are payload and towing capacity, where the current model falls behind the newer competition.

Palmer indicates Nissan will develop a seven-seat wagon using the Navara's underpinnings, similar to the SUV and ute pairings such as the Holden Colorado and Colorado 7, Mitsubishi Triton and Challenger, and Ford Ranger and the coming Everest.

The current Navara spawned the Pathfinder but Nissan Australia has used that name on a Toyota Kluger-style, car-derived SUV. It means Nissan will need to find a new name for its seven-seater based on the next-generation Navara, but it will also prepare a much-needed diesel-powered seven-seat SUV.

Palmer confirms development of the modern-day Datsun 1600 is well progressed. The IDx two-door coupe was confirmed late last year as going into production, just months after it was unveiled as a concept car at the Tokyo motor show. But it's still at least two years from showrooms. A budget-priced rival to the Toyota 86, it is expected to be powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that drives the rear wheels.

The IDx is expected to be a global brand-building model for Nissan, which means it's a strong chance for sale in Australia. The next-generation 370Z sports car will be more affordable and the next iteration of the giant-killing GT-R will adopt a hybrid powertrain to reduce its fuel consumption and give it an electric boost off the line. Both models are at least three years away.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling