2002 Nissan Frontier White Xe King Cab 4x4!runs And Drives But Engine Has A Miss on 2040-cars
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Auto blogSat, 08 Jun 2013 11:00:00 EST
When going to overseas auto shows, one can't help but spend an inordinate amount of time eyeballing forbidden automotive fruit. It's often of the seriously rare, criminally powerful and six- or seven-digit variety. But more often than one might think, the genuinely affordable overseas hero makes us swoon, too. So it is with the Dacia/Renault Duster, the cheap-as-chips, hard-wearing utility vehicle. We've often thought that its basic, rugged charms would play well in the US if saddled with a low enough price tag, but we've never seen much of a window for that to actually come true.
But now, Autocar India is reporting that Nissan will flex its alliance with Renault to spin off a Duster of its own, one that exhumes the Terrano nameplate, a moniker once used for overseas versions of the first- and second-generation Pathfinder. The new model will feature unique sheetmetal to give it a familial look, but the interior will be the same, and we expect the same goes for the powertrain, meaning there will be a range of gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines with both manual and automatic gearboxes and front- or all-wheel drive.
So, does that mean we'll get a Nissan version of the Duster-based Terrano to call our own? Sadly, almost certainly not. Company spokesman Dan Bedore tells Autoblog flatly, "There are no plans to bring this model to the US." Bummer. Even if it isn't ultimately as capable as the larger, long-in-the-tooth Xterra (it's more on par with the now departed Canadian-market X-Trail), we think the Duster's archetypal SUV looks and low cost barrier would win it plenty of fans in our market. Our guess is that redesigning the model to meet US regulations (crash, emissions, lighting, etc.) would be prohibitively expensive, and the Dacia/Renault model is built in some pretty distant facilities - Brazil, India, Romania and Russia among them - making the business case harder still.
You can add Fiat to the admittedly short list of automakers considering a low-cost brand to rival Dacia. The inexpensive Eastern European brand from Renault-Nissan has performed on the balance sheet like a premium model line, and the money the alliance is taking off the table is encouraging other players to deal themselves in. Pretty soon Nissan's Datsun sub-brand will join the Dacia party, going on sale in Russia, Indonesia and India and will claim even more rubles, rupiahs and rupees for the parent company. Volkswagen recently said it will make a decision this year on a budget line for the Chinese market. With the euthanasia of Lancia and plans to move the Fiat brand upmarket, company CEO Sergio Marchionne wonders aloud to Automotive News Europe whether there could be room for a new budget brand underneath Fiat.
We're told that the initiative has been in the idea box for five years and even moved to the stage of name considerations, like Innocenti, but worries about profit kept it from realization. If such a range were to be developed, Marchionne says it couldn't be built in Italy and stay within budget, and the company is "analyzing its manufacturing capacity outside of Europe to see if a low-cost brand is viable."
Nismo is on a bit of a rampage lately. Once consigned to the fringes, Nissan has taken its performance sub-brand into the mainstream and let it loose on a whole mess of its products. The Juke Nismo was followed by a 370Z Nismo, and in Los Angeles, we saw the GT-R Nismo, Sentra Nismo concept and Juke Nismo RS.
So what's next from Nismo? According to the latest intel from across the pond, Nissan is working on a tuned version of its new Qashqai. Car magazine is reporting that the larger crossover will get the same 1.6-liter turbo four as the Juke Nismo, but with the RS model's 212-horsepower out and not the "base" model's 197. Expect all the other bells and whistles applied to transform a Nissan model into a Nismo one to apply as well.
If the Qashqai name doesn't ring any proverbial bells for you, that's alright, because it's only sold overseas, where it's one of Nissan's most popular models. The crossover (which looks like the new Rogue but is a substantially different model) was recently completely replaced, with engine options ranging up to 150 horsepower - so the jump to over 200 should make for quite a different beast altogether. Whether a parallel or subsequent program to give the Rogue a similar treatment is another matter, but given the pace at which Nismo seems to be running, that may only be a matter of time.