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Nissan hints at Xterra-like off-roader

by Ronan Glon

Millennials are pushing Nissan back into the segment.

Nissan has all but confirmed the rumors that claim it's preparing an off-roader that will pick up where the Xterra left off.

"We know (via research) the Millennial male, through devices they're becoming more isolated. And they want to reconnect with friends, family, outdoors. And a vehicle is an expression, a way to do that. We're doing a lot of work in the space to understand that customer very well," Michael Bunce, the company's senior vice president of product planning, told WardsAuto.

He added the firm is "very, very closely looking" at the segment. He stopped short of confirming a comeback is in the works, however.

Earlier reports claim the brand's next off-roader will make its official debut in April at the biennial Beijing Auto Show. A leaked image (pictured) posted on a Chinese website shortly after the rumor surfaced showed a 4Runner-like SUV with styling that falls in line with the Navara pickup truck sold in dozens of global markets.

The model looks more upscale and bigger than the Xterra, which bowed out of the market in 2015. If the image is indeed Nissan's planned off-roader, which is still up in the air, it signals the SUV won't be as adventure-focused as its predecessor.

It will still be more capable than the average body-on-frame crossover. And, the new positioning won't stop Nissan from reviving the Xterra nameplate.

"It is a great asset in terms of a name and a badge. It's on the shelf right now, but it's something we could utilize in the future," Bunce opined.

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