Altima, Leaf take the limelight at Nissan

Nissan designers hinted at the next Altima in January with the Vmotion 2.0 concept, a vision of what a family sedan might look like as vehicles move toward autonomous technology.

The Nissan brand has spent the past two years trumpeting the arrival of freshened and redesigned pickups, SUVs and crossovers. But now two cars — from opposite ends of the sales volume chart — will get much of Nissan’s attention in 2018: the Altima midsize car and the electric Leaf.

Also due for redesign in the 2018-20 time frame will be the Frontier midsize pickup and the Z sports car.

Nissan’s product cycle will mean redesigns for the Altima, Sentra and Versa sedans over the next two years. How Nissan reshapes the sedans will be telling. Sedans have fallen out of favor for many U.S. consumers who have turned to crossovers. Yet the sedan line still represents a critical part of Nissan’s North American volume, and Nissan executives have been adamant that they are committed to bringing new life to the segment.

At the same time, Nissan is pushing for more truck-segment volume in a slowing market. In addition to updating the Frontier, Nissan will turn its attention to a new generation for its commercial vans, and a subcompact crossover, the Kicks, that could appear as early as 2018.


Future Product: Toyota and Lexus brand timelines

Future Product: Nissan and Infiniti brand timelines

Future Product: Nissan and Infiniti brand timelines

PDF: Toyota, Nissan and Honda Future Products

Future Product Pipeline


Versa: Nissan’s entry-level sedan is in line for a redesign in 2018 or 2019.

Versa Note: Because the hatchback Versa Note rides on a different platform from its sedan sibling, its redesign will occur on a different timetable, bowing in 2019.

Sentra: The compact sedan’s seventh generation went on sale in 2012 as a 2013 model. The Sentra is ready for another redesign, in late 2018 or early 2019.

Altima: Last redesigned in 2012, the Altima’s redesign next year represents a big opportunity for Nissan. Until consumers began shifting from sedans, the Altima rivaled the industry’s nontruck sales leaders, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Nissan is not ready to give ground on the nameplate. Nissan designers hinted at the next Altima in January with the Vmotion 2.0 concept, a vision of what a family sedan might look like as vehicles move toward autonomous technology.

The concept featured a floating roof, which also appeared on the redesigned Maxima, as well as a more prominent front end and V-motion grille. Inside, the concept pointed the way to a roomier layout with potential for flexible seating and advanced touch screen control panels and safety systems.

Nissan has invested heavily in marketing the current-generation Altima. The company’s pattern of the past six years has been to push edgy design and vehicle technology on each new redesign to set the model apart in its segment.

Maxima: The large sedan was redesigned for 2016 and will have no changes for 2018.

Leaf:​ The Leaf fell far short of Nissan’s vision when it appeared in the U.S. in late 2010, but the company has continued to improve the electric vehicle. The coming second generation, due in the U.S. this year, will correct two problems: It will have a more conventional body style and provide a greater battery range. The current-generation Leaf’s range is rated by the EPA at 107 miles on a fully charged 30 kilowatt-hour battery. The new generation is expected to deliver about 200 miles, narrowing the gap with new entrants from Chevrolet and Tesla.

370Z:The current-generation Z reached the U.S. in 2009. The company has given no sign that it is ready to give it a full makeover, but executives have indicated in recent years that the next Z could carry a smaller displacement engine, possibly include a hybrid or electric drive, and perhaps even show traits of a crossover.

GT-R: The GT-R, produced separately from Nissan’s global platforms as a supercar, continues to receive regular product enhancements.

Kicks: The Kicks subcompact crossover, which went on sale in South America last year, is the planned crossover mate for the subcompact Versa. It will appear as early as 2018. The model will likely carry the 1.6-liter engine that powers Nissan’s Micra, a tiny car sold in Canada and overseas.

Juke: The Juke carries over unchanged for 2018. But Nissan could go public in Europe with a new design concept for the sporty subcompact crossover as early as this year. Nissan has taken a free-thinking approach to the ​ model, saying its next generation will be even edgier and more stylized than the current model.

Rogue Sport is reaching U.S. showrooms

Rogue Sport: The Rogue variant is reaching U.S. showrooms for the first time as a 2017 model. The Sport is slightly shorter than the Rogue and provides less cargo and interior space. Based on the popular European Qashqai crossover, which was freshened for 2017, the Sport will hold firm in its styling rather than adopting the European changes.

Rogue:​ The Rogue was freshened for 2017 and will carry over substantially unchanged for 2018.

Murano: The midsize crossover receives a minor freshening this year for the 2018 model.

Pathfinder:​ Freshened in 2016 for the 2017 model, the midsize crossover will carry over unchanged in 2018.

Armada: The full-size SUV was redesigned in 2016 as a 2017 model. Its first minor freshening will occur in 2019.

Frontier:​ Nissan’s midsize pickup is in line for a major change in 2019 as it moves onto Nissan’s global NP300 Navara truck platform. The styling and powertrain remain unclear.

Nissan has indicated that it is studying a diesel engine option for the next Frontier — a V-6 rather than the full-size Titan pickup’s V-8.

Titan:​ The full-size pickup and its various body and powertrain versions are still rolling out across the U.S. after two years. The truck will rely on carryover exteriors for at least one to two years.

The 2017 model will be the last for Nissan’s Quest minivan after several years of lackluster sales.

Quest: After several years of lackluster sales for the Quest, and the rest of the minivan segment, Nissan has dropped the model from its 2018 offerings.

NV200: The compact commercial van is up for a redesign in 2019.

NV: Designers are working on the second generation of the full-size van line, which rides on the first-generation platform for the Titan pickup. The redesign could appear as early as 2019.