Why does Nissan do things the Nissan way? That way is to create a better midsize pickup than the one available to the largest pickup market in the world. That would be the US in case you can’t follow along. We get the Frontier, and everyone else gets the Navara. And because they get the Navara they also get this slick version; the Navara Off-Roader AT32. We may like, and we may want it. But, we can’t have it.
Yes, it’s true, we have the lovely Frontier which hasn’t changed in we think roughly 39 years. Actually it was 1998 when it debuted, my math isn’t too good. But the Navara Off-Roader AT32 is an upgraded Navara with some graphics and components from the factory to set it apart from the normal Navara.
The Nissan Navara Off-Roader AT32 package will get you really great options
Underneath the AT32 gets underbody armor with full-length aluminum panels. It rides on Nokian tires which supposedly are special because you get better mileage while also getting the performance of an off-road tire. The 32-inch tires are mounted on satin-black aluminum rims with dual valve stems to better adjust tire pressures in off-road or street conditions.
Befitting its off-road prowess the AT32 rides on a lifted suspension that provides almost 10-inches of ground clearance for better departure angles. The suspension uses Bilstein shocks and Arctic Trucks performance suspension components. It also comes with a Front Differential Locker that transfers 100% of the torque equally when locked. You can also order with any Navara an optional Rear Differential Locker so combined it can handle extreme conditions. The Safari snorkel takes in cleaner air in heavy dust or water conditions.
Nissan says the Off-Roader AT32 was extensively tested in Iceland and the Arctic but not the US
According to Nissan, the AT32 was extensively tested in Icelandic and Arctic conditions. It’s available only in the double-cab configuration and is not available at all in the US.
Nissan also makes available light kits and different finished roll bars to enhance the Navara.
So the question for years has been why doesn’t the US get the Navara?
Why doesn’t the US get this obviously great replacement for the Frontier? The Navara is built in Thailand, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and China. Without being made in the US it is subject to the “Chicken Tax” which is a 25% tariff on imported trucks.
It would be easy for the Navara to be built in Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, Frontier manufacturing plant, but for whatever reason, it isn’t. We know that plans call for the next Frontier to be built there.
The Navara debuted in 2014, so being much newer than the Frontier and selling in the rest of the world it would seem to be the logical Frontier replacement. Don’t forget; the current Frontier has been ours to have and hold since 1998. Actually, the current Frontier came out in 1997 as a 1998 model. Though it has been able to catch up with its midsize brethren through continual updates it’s still over 20-years old.
The Navara sits on the Frontier frame so why not get us the rest?
Underneath the Navara is based on the ladder bar frame and suspension of the 1998 Frontier, so the Frontier assembly line wouldn’t have to be completely changed over. It’s a puzzle how this all works.
Nissan is in the middle of a crisis, with profitability way down. It’s affecting the rollout of some much-needed new models. We know we’ll be seeing a plethora of new models soon. But, we could have already had a new Frontier had better heads prevailed.