Car News:  2012 Detroit Auto Show

Detroit Preview: Nissan's Lineup

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author photo by Nick Palermo December 2011
  • A Pathfinder concept that previews the model's fourth generation
  • An electric van concept Nissan intends for production
  • An NV-based food truck that will serve local fare

Nissan knows how to get the media's attention - feed them. The company announced it will be showing a food truck based on the NV full-size van at next month's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. During the show's preview days, Nissan will cater to the automotive press not only by filling them in on the latest concepts, but by filling their bellies with local Motor City fare, prepared onboard the NV food truck. Surely, this clever strategy will have the media lined up to grab a bite and check out Nissan's two world premier concepts.

The first of these is a preview of the next generation Pathfinder. The three-row, seven-passenger SUV will begin its fourth generation when the production version is released late next year as a 2013 model. Nissan released a shadowy teaser image of the concept, revealing a vehicle that has the look of a crossover compared with the current Pathfinder's rugged truck styling. The Pathfinder concept may have the crossover look, but Nissan has not announced whether the eventual production vehicle will migrate from its current body-on-frame architecture to a unibody setup, as other SUVs have.

Nissan's second concept will be an all-electric vehicle. Nissan says only that this concept is a future production van designed with flexible space and a small carbon footprint in mind. The company that makes the all-electric Leaf may show that a van is an ideal format for a new EV since electric motors and batteries can be neatly adapted for a horizontal configuration under the passenger floor, leaving plenty of usable space. Indeed, a van may also attract American customers more readily than smaller EVs currently available.

One van at the Nissan booth is almost certain to create buzz at the show. But hopefully the NV food truck and whatever tasty treats it serves up will not overshadow the two concepts that are supposed to be the real stars of Nissan's show.

What it means to you:

Nissan will reveal an electric van concept and a new Pathfinder concept, both intended for future production. An NV-based food truck will showcase that full-size van's capabilities.

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Detroit Preview: Nissan's Lineup - Autotrader