1999 North American
International Auto Show

Nissan Sport Utility Truck

Q: How does a market segment that didn't even exist in the US a year ago get so crowded?

In case you haven't heard, Sport Utility Vehicles have been sold throughout the world for years and years.  Especially popular down under in Australia - where they are called simply Utes - they are finally coming here.  So how did Nissan decide to design a truck like this for the US market?  Last year one of Nissan's top designers, Doug Wilson, was stuck at Home Depot trying to haul a palm tree home in his immaculate Pathfinder.  Well you can imagine his horror when the truck actually got dirty from the plant!  So Doug went and designed this SUV / pickup truck marriage.  The truck is split into two 'zones' - clean and dirty.  Guess which area is the 'dirty' zone.

Taking design cues from the Gobi concept vehicle shown in 1990 and new Xterra SUV, the Nissan SUT has a 3.3 liter SOHC V6 engine, 4 wheel drive, 4 speed automatic transmission, 4 wheel anti-lock brakes, 18 inch wheels, and 285/60HR18 tires.   In the back of the cab you will find a liftgate that swings upward and allows easy access to the bed over a small step.  When the rear seat is folded with the hatch up, the SUT has the bed length of a regular pickup.

Check out the hatch Interior shot of the SUT look out the hatch at the bed