Nissan's Compact Truck May Shake Up The Automotive World Soon

NK October 10 2021

Image for article titled Nissan Might Get In On The Compact Pickup Truck Game, Too  The 2022 Nissan Frontier might just be the first-ever Nissan compact truck that finally knocks off its full-size competitor, thanks to genuine enthusiasm behind it. The Titan has somehow been able to continue being an also-ran in a segment that is absolutely booming with new releases from competitors like Ram 1500 and Chevy Colorado.

It seems like Nissan is always coming up with new ideas. This time around, they're considering expanding their pickup line in the opposite direction by creating an even more compact model designed specifically for under its Frontier giant truck!

Is It A Good Time For Nissan Compact Truck To Be Shown For A World?

It would make sense for Nissan to enter the compact pickup market, considering they’ve had great success with their current models. The report cites people “familiar with the matter” and states merely that Japanese carmaker is "studying" possible options.

It also points out the hype behind Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz suggesting that might be eyeing a slice of the pie in the mini trucks category - and Automotive News reckons this mystery small truck should be totally electric because nobody else has tried it yet so why shouldn't we be first?

Nissan should be more creative when it comes to designing compact trucks. If the automaker wants its offerings to stand out from competitors, they need a way for consumers to mindshare with differentiating themselves and there's plenty of space below an F-150 Lightning or any other truck model that would make this possible.

Will The Next Nissan Compact Truck Be Electric?

“I could see that coming,” said John Wheeler about an electric powertrain. “The pickup area is really interesting - there will be a consumer who's looking for something more lifestyle-oriented and they can put all their gear in it."

Wheeler said there were plenty of discussions but no serious talks underway yet. “I don't know that we can expect to see any movement on this front anytime soon either."

The Maverick was released with high expectations for its hybrid drivetrain which promised 40 MPG but Ford has since shifted focus towards more expensive Ecoboost versions instead - leaving consumers wanting what they believe is actually desired by industry insiders rather than those who buy cars on average price points or even luxury tier brands like Lincoln Motor Company does within their portfolio (such as Continental).

There's only one image of a Nissan compact truck in my head and it looks like this: It’s tiny, but with the ability to drive itself. You don't even need gas or oil! Plus those pesky margins are no longer an issue because we're talking about electric motors here - think of all that wasted space on your current vehicle just waiting for something more interesting than what you really needed anyway…

With such a competitive and growing market, it's surprising to see that one of the most popular models will only be produced in limited quantities.

Have We Ever Seen Nissan Compact Truck Before? That Sounds Very Familiar

Nissan's compact trucks have a long and varied history, dating back to the early days of the Japanese automaker. Nissan began producing small trucks for the Japanese market in 1935, with the first model being based on the Austin 7. The company continued to produce various small tracks throughout the years, often using different names for different markets. In the 1970s, Nissan began exporting its trucks to the United States, where they were sold under the Datsun brand. The first model exported was the 620, followed by the 720, and then the Hardbody truck.

Nissan (Datsun) 620 


Nissan (Datun) 720


The Hardbody truck proved to be a popular model for Nissan, selling over one million units in the United States alone. Nissan continued to produce the truck until 1997 when it was replaced by the Frontier. The Frontier would go on to become one of Nissan's best-selling models and is still in production today.


Nissan's compact trucks have long been popular for their affordability and reliability. Over the years, they have undergone a number of changes, but have always remained a favorite among consumers. Whether you're looking for a workhorse or a weekend warrior, Nissan's compact trucks are sure to have what you need.

These trucks have already become classics, but even so, are still in demand. They are light, maneuverable, but at the same time tractive and reliable. They have earned the name of decent and reliable hard workers. But no matter how good they are, their time will come to an end sooner or later. These models, though they can work somewhere on the farm, their time is clearly coming to an end. And the management of Nissan clearly should think about breathing new life into this category of cars. Now the market for pickups is not so varied - there are huge trucks like Chevrolet Silverado or Toyota Tundra to any taste, but not everyone needs such a huge car. So Nissan compact truck would be a real breath of fresh air for motorists who prefer smaller cars.

Nissan needs the Ariya as soon as it can get it because with its current product line-up Nissan is feeling less popular and profitable. They are trying to pivot towards becoming a smaller but more valuable company by focusing on crossovers instead of cars like before when they were doing large SUVs which is why this vehicle would be amazing for them!


It’s almost like there’s a disconnect between what industry insiders think people want and what people actually want, or at least what manufacturers believe they can shift. Or, and hear me out here, perhaps auto execs/sales forecasters, paid handsomely to know exactly the answer to this question, know what people will buy better than blog writers reading the mood of internet comment sections?
v10omous / 2021-10-08 13:57:36

Yes, because every vehicle that those auto execs/sales forecasters have put out have sold like hotcakes. Not once have they release a vehicle that just sat on the lots without much customer interest. There’s no way that there’s a disconnect from announcing a vehicle as a sub $20k hybrid and not giving customers easy access to sub $20k hybrids.
doctorwhotb / 2021-10-22 08:41:17

Yes, because every vehicle that those auto execs/sales forecasters have put out have sold like hotcakes. Not once have they release a vehicle that just sat on the lots without much customer interest. Never said anyone was perfect, just that they have a lot better grip on the market than “just give us more wagons” bloggers do. There’s no way that there’s a disconnect from announcing a vehicle as a sub $20k hybrid and not giving customers easy access to sub $20k hybrids. My very strong suspicion is that the “No $20K hybrids on lots at first” is a temporary, chip shortage related thing. When you physically can’t produce all the trucks you want to, prioritize the builds that make you more money. No different than Tesla starting with the more expensive versions of the Model 3 before delivering the cheaper ones later.
v10omous / 2021-10-30 03:14:36

Its less about what people want and more about what people can afford. Also  these automakers can make more profit on a $40,000 mini trucklet than a $40,000 full size truck
bassrockerx / 2021-11-03 17:29:40

The loudest clamor is first for truly compact pickups. However, the requirement is already here for electric vehicles. Building an ICE version first is honestly a waste of money that could have been used to build the electric version instead.The real problem is that customers want what they’re told to want and the OEMs insist on sticking with ICE despite the NEED to change away from internal combustion engines.
Vulpine / 2021-11-11 20:32:07

I had a 1969 Datsun pickup and it was one of my favorite vehicles of all time. Compact, easy to drive, could haul a mountain if you could fit it in the box, and saint’s above actual tiedowns formed into the outside of the box. I hauled so much shit in that little pickup. Underpowered? Sure. But it would go down the freeway empty at 70+ no problem, and it hauled a ton of pea gravel once with only minor complaints. (Mostly related to the tires that weren’t really up to it.)Its downsides are easily correctable. Better brakes of course. It had 60's vintage drums on all four corners. Its seat sucked, but again, easily correctable. Add air conditioning and a little more horsepower and it would be fine. If they made it electric it would be more than fine.Hell, even as-is I’d drive it today.  Should never have sold it.
douglasd / 2021-11-20 16:31:50

We live in a world where people say things like “A pickup without four doors is useless.” This is why we can’t have nice things. People confuse wants with needs.Aside from the 4-door Dodge pickups that the loggers used for crew trucks (I grew up in a Pacific Northwest logging town in the 70's) I never saw a 4-door pickup until I was nearly 30. They always seemed to me a niche vehicle. Pickups were common in my family and we never felt the need for four doors.  Two doors and a bench seat.  Good enough.
douglasd / 2021-11-25 06:46:11

4 door trucks fill a need, just unsure why the back seat is on track to become larger than the bed. Back to your logging example, the only time I see 4 grown men in a pickup is a work truck usually 3/4 ton or larger.Why does every half ton truck need more legroom in back than the front.  Got an extended cab Tundra, back seat is plenty big for occasional adult use and it has a full size bed.  Love the size.  Had a 2006 F150 crew before that.  In mid cycle refresh of 2009, Ford added 6 inches leg room to back seat which I thought was plenty large already.  6 more inches to bed would have been more useful as even 8 ft. 2x4 stick out dangerously to the side with the tailgate up.
Quake_Guy / 2021-12-04 02:45:42

Because people want a large, powerful, American cruiser. And for regulatory and social reasons, a Brougham d’Elegance is no longer available. The crew-cab pickup is either the Caprice, Park Avenue or Fleetwood of the modern market, depending on the trim. The fact that it has a bed on the back is ancillary for most buyers, most of the time. But strangely enough, I think these small trucks are likely to get used for “truck stuff” more often than their full-size counterparts, which is why I think there’s a case for a small cab/long bed configuration on these.
smartascii / 2021-12-11 04:21:59

“and it hauled a ton of pea gravel once with only minor complaints”Okay, this is how I know you’re full of it. No one who puts in a ton of pea gravel has only minor complaints about it.
tps22az / 2021-12-16 03:05:41

I was shocked, actually. I told the guy to put a half-scoop in and he did. Then I rolled across the scale and did the math and it was about 1900 pounds. Okay, not quite a ton, but pretty close. The little truck waddled down the road sitting on the booster springs while I prayed to Buddha the 2-ply tires didn’t explode.I made it home, about 6 miles of flat road and no curves, and then spent a couple hours unloading with a scoop shovel. I was complaining after that. My aching back.
douglasd / 2021-12-24 06:07:38

4 door trucks fill a need, just unsure why the back seat is on track to become larger than the bed. Back to your logging example, the only time I see 4 grown men in a pickup is a work truck usually 3/4 ton or larger.Why does every half ton truck need more legroom in back than the front. Got an extended cab Tundra, back seat is plenty big for occasional adult use and it has a full size bed. Love the size. Had a 2006 F150 crew before that. In mid cycle refresh of 2009, Ford added 6 inches leg room to back seat which I thought was plenty large already. 6 more inches to bed would have been more useful as even 8 ft. 2x4 stick out dangerously to the side with the tailgate up.I can somewhat answer least based on my own needs. 1) Pickup Trucks have become family vehicles, there’s more need for people to put more back there. And I know “Shoulda bought an SUV.” I think most people should consider SUVs if they need that much cargo volume...For me, personally, I need to tow around 6-7,000lbs on a regular basis, and the bottom line is I cannot afford an SUV that tows those numbers. We’re basically talking Suburban/Expedition territory2) Pickup Trucks are a penalty box of moist belongings. There are 100s of solutions, but bottom line is my box is known as the “Mold Zone.” It’s really great for dirty stuff, really crap for clean stuff, so much of my daily-carry belongings end up getting stuffed inside the interior, wherever I can neatly fit it. Again, an SUV would solve this, but pickup trucks are better bang for the buck for towing.I have 2 growing kids and I can easily drive all over the country on road trips. We’re outgrowing the interior space my Frontier has to offer, and the idea of a Tundra CrewMax or Ram Mega Cab actually sounds appealing.  Even with that large cab, the box is plenty big for my needs, plus you have towing and towing features for a very reasonable price.
ninety-9 / 2022-01-02 02:07:36

Nah, it was easy! We had a house with a fairly wide overhang, and a sidewalk that went around about 75% of it. Between the sidewalk and the house foundation was a flower bed about 2 feet wide. We lined it with weed fabric and covered it with the pea gravel. That made it super easy to maintain. Weeds pulled right out of it like nothing. It always looked good.
douglasd / 2022-01-07 00:51:17

Good man.I saw a 1992 Nissan Hardbody 4x4 on Craigslist the other day. Decent condition, and probably a good price. I didn’t even look too closely at it, not being interested in an antique at this point in my life. Not that it’s a bad truck mind you, but it’s 29 years old! It sure looked nice though. If I had it I probably wouldn’t part with it, but investing in it is a different situation.
douglasd / 2022-01-15 12:22:29

First off, thank you for naming yourself in such a genius fashion, but I digress.I completely agree with the back seat thing: somewhat recently I temporarily put up my automotive technician gloves for a sales position with (at the time) FCA, and spent a lot of time with the current generation of RAM trucks, of which it literally seemed like the biggest song and dance after the marvel of the 12 inch screen was, and I kid you not, that you could theoretically fold down the front and back seats and effectively have a queen size bed to sleep on. Meanwhile, if you actually had a real truck bed, you can literally buy a tent that’s outfitted with an actual queen size bed and not have a fucking center console in your way, but judging by the monstrosity I parked my first gen Cummins dually next to yesterday (which I should proudly note is a long bed, extended cab, REAR wheel drive affair that I intend to lower), people would rather have the shortest bed possible to put a tool box, transfer tank, and a cooler in, and have literally less than a foot of cargo space. It's almost as though what people really want is a station wagon. I mean, I sure do, but I was born and raised in one, so I figure I'm the weird one.
Bohemian_Funk / 2022-01-21 12:32:02

I would love to see a new Mazda B2000, and why isn’t GM making a new type of LUV or something similar. Nissan would be wise and name the 720.
dubblewhopperwithcheese / 2022-01-30 00:03:12

Actually I think its a rebadged Isuzu Dmax.. Any Euro/Australian confirmation?
dunebug / 2022-02-06 10:07:23

You’re welcome.Ford and Mazda divorced back in 2009, but kept their Auto Alliance hookup going for awhile. Ford eventually bought Mazda’s share of the Flat Rock Michigan plant; then Ford announced in 2017 it would stop building the Ranger-based Mazda BT-50 in Thailand until Mazda could find a new partner.  That would be Isuzu, which had just broke up with GM, but did get rights to use the Colorado platform to modify for its own use.
imoore3 / 2022-02-11 08:50:49

If Nissan wants to kill it in the full-size segment, they ought to re-skin the Titan to look like old-school Chevy C10s and Ford F-150s. They’d sell everything they could make.
lawyer-applegate / 2022-02-19 11:53:09

True - many truck buyers value appearance over capability or utility. Most truck buyers will value appearance above all* else if capability and utility are close among competing brands.* except for some of the rabid fan boys - you could sell them SOS all day long if it had their brand on it.
grasscatcher2 / 2022-02-27 06:27:02

Yeah, we’re fucked all the way around. The last 5 years is proof of that with 40% of the country going full-Nazi, that same percentage continuing to fuck us over by not getting their vaccines and counting down the days until they can happily vote for someone as awful as they can possibly find. I moved to California 22 years ago. The weather here has changed. DRAMATICALLY. When I first got here there was a reliable rainy and then dry season. It would rain from October-April and then be dry until October again. Its been YEARS since they happened. In the last 5 years its barely rained at all during the winter. That weather pattern has been replaced by a new season: Fire season. Like clockwork, as soon as late July-early August we get smoke. Lots and lots of forest fire smoke. And out comes the large air purifiers until October.  Basically this state is becoming more and more uninhabitable. Years ago we thought of moving to the lower Sierra Foothills or out towards Napa and Sonoma. Not now. That area burns every year, you can no longer get home insurance and the people I do know who live there keep their bags packed for 3 months out of the year.
the-easter-bunny / 2022-03-05 23:33:36

Don’t feel bad.Yesterday I read in my local paper that my state, Alabama is running out of beds due to the increasing Covid infections-again-and our government still won’t mandate refurbishing recently-shuttered hospitals and clinics or assist in keeping soon-to-close hospitals open to face the crisis.BUT...they sure aren’t wasting time making sure everything is ready for the upcoming college football season.This state still can’t get its priorities right.
imoore3 / 2022-03-13 18:07:44

Face it. The only reason there are high schools in the South is so they can have the corresponding athletic programs. If vaccination was required to play or watch footbawl, it would be nearly 100% coverage instead of having to dump thousands of doses because no one wants them and they’ve expired.
dogrivergrad68 / 2022-03-18 16:51:15

Image saying this phrase in 007 style: Hardbody. Nissan Hardbody. That is all Nissan needs to sell this truck.
ohalbaniankar / 2022-03-25 01:28:57

They’re still selling it overseas. The NP300 is still popular in Africa, the Middle East, and portions of Southeast Asia. In South Africa, it usually places in the top 5 pickups sold there, while it’s more modern sibling Navarra, finishes in 10th. (The Great Wall pickup routinely outsells the Navarra at either 8th or 9th. Go figure.)It also sells in Mexico.I wouldn’t expect either of these versions to come to the states, unless you have some good connecti0ns in Mexico. I think it would be something similar to the NP200, which is a rebadged Dacia Logan pickup.
imoore3 / 2022-04-02 21:29:29

the problem with the current US car market is that it is driven by dealers ordering what is going to move off their lot reliably and as quickly as isn’t that people don’t want 3 door hatches, it is that they don’t sell as quickly as 5 doors. it isn’t that people don’t want compact cars, it is that compact CUVs sell faster. it isn’t that people don’t want bright colors, it is that silver/grey/white/black sells faster. it isn’t that people don’t want manuals, it is that autos sell you get this vicious self reinforcing cycle where all the interesting cars disappear because the dealers want fast turnover.
toobs-n-stuff / 2022-04-11 00:32:04

Yep. The dealers stock their lots and the majority of the public doesn’t have the time or patience to order what they were actually looking for and just settle on what is presently available. Or they don’t even know that ordering is an option because I can count on one hand the number of times that has even been presented as an option to me while I am shopping for a non-niche vehicle.
jeffdonovan08 / 2022-04-17 00:41:24

Nissan has quietly inserted itself in the government fleet world. Why have they NOT made a small EV truck yet?If they made a electric, leaf-based truck, my old fleet would have bought dozens of them and likely made 1/3 of the total fleet (seriously we would order about 30 out of our 77 vehicle fleet. We had a bunch of the GEM truckbed variants, NV200/Transit Connects, worse, we had been holding on to old small rangers for as long as we could and darn the repair bill. I mean, we were using the LEAF as a ult vehicle when we could over the small vans. This would/should subsidize their manufacturing cost, pull over the LEAF’s basics, and then have a small FWD EV with a bed.
futuredoc / 2022-04-24 02:17:32

They can take the Leaf as a basis.... or take a light truck we are already familiar with: the recently departed NV200.Nissan sells an electric variant overseas. She already got the payload capacity and wheelbase to make it happen, just re-do the body to a more attractive unibody pickup shape and increase the battery pack for >200 miles. The e-NV200 40kWh pack (~120 miles) wouldn’t cut it.
luisinhoens90 / 2022-05-01 03:53:23

I would be fine with a 80-120mi variant. My biggest issue is that I have a lot of Gem EV, ERides that are new-car expensive to replace and even more expensive to keep running. My 2012 Leaf is far more economical, and better yet, had actual crash worthiness. The fleet might go 30-40 miles in a day sometimes up to 50-60mi. Mostly short sub 25, occasionally 35mph and carrying a bit of gear and two guys. However, some of my trades guys would then need to make a partsrun, swap out of their EV and then driving around a F350 all day because they “needed” that switch at grainger. They would then burn a tank of diesel idling.I would take the EV van, but an open air truckbed is better in the case they are carrying something that has EHS respiratory concern. I can fit lockboxed/bodies on the truck to make a “van” but I need the open bed.
futuredoc / 2022-05-06 19:34:32