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If you like midsize trucks, you are likely familiar with the Nissan Frontier. This small pickup has been around for some time, and it recently got a full redesign for the 2022 model year. But from 2008 to 2012, the Nissan Frontier went by a different name from an entirely different brand: the Suzuki Equator. And it is quite a rare truck.

Is the Suzuki Equator rare?

The Suzuki Equator is a rear truck, with roughly 200 units sold a month while it was available. In total, it is estimated that under 6,000 Equator midsize trucks were sold during its run. For comparison, Nissan moved 44,997 Frontier pickups in 2008 alone. So clearly, folks were skeptical of a truck with Suzuki badging. 

In terms of what defines this rare truck, it’s pretty much just a Nissan Frontier. Take the “S” Suzuki badging off the front, and there’s no mistaking it. Suzuki wanted a truck to sell in the States but didn’t want to build one itself, so it got permission from Nissan to simply use its midsize pickup. 

A quick search on the used car search engine, AutoTempest, shows just 9 Suzuki Equator trucks available nationwide. And that’s a good indicator of how rare this pickup actually is. Personally, I had almost forgotten that Suzuki sold a rebadged Frontier until I noticed that my neighbor drives one as their daily. 

Is the Equator a good Nissan Frontier alternative?

The Suzuki Equator can be a good alternative to a used Nissan Frontier if you can’t find one in your budget. Despite being a rare truck, it does not seem like demand is too high. But as with all used vehicles, this pickup has not been immune to the crazy market. 

A 2008 Nissan Frontier drives off-road as the truck the Suzuki Equator is based on.
Nissan Frontier | Mark Elias via Getty Images

Because the Equator is so similar to the Frontier, you get a Nissan powertrain and basically everything else you would find from a Nissan truck of this era. That means you’ll be able to pick between a four-cylinder engine or an optional 4.0-liter V6. 

A 2008 Suzuki Equator midsize truck is parked on the street.
Suzuki Equator | BlueCrabRedCrab

The V6 engine makes 261 horsepower compared to the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine’s 152 hp. So, making the upgrade might be worth it in some cases. For you #SaveTheManuals folks out there, the Suzuki Equator does have a five-speed manual transmission. 

Why don’t automakers import small trucks?

Here in the United States, we have something called the Chicken Tax, and it makes importing a light-duty truck nearly impossible. Not because doing so is illegal, according to Jalopnik, but because a company will be subject to big tariffs if it decides to do so. 

A Suzuki Equator sits on display as a rebadged Nissan Frontier.
Suzuki Equator | Jin Lee via Getty Images

For that reason, brands like Suzuki rely on companies like Nissan that already have a truck on the market. Without having to get a factory up and running, the brand can simply rebadge a vehicle and sell it as its own. 

And usually, it can be a winning venture because both companies see profits. But in the case of the Suzuki Equator, with less than 10,000 units sold over four years, profits probably weren’t that great.

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