International Auto Show
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'
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.