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Nissan Australia is still interested in offering an off-roader based on the Navara ute, though it’s not at the top of the company’s wish list.

Richard Emery, managing director and CEO of Nissan’s local arm, told CarAdvice at the launch of the updated X-Trail range that a Ford Everest rival is still under consideration, though it’s not a prime focus for the brand.

It would be a consideration for us,” he said. “It’s not a key focus. In terms of potentially what that vehicle could offer, [it] might not suit Australian circumstances.”

We’re interested but it’s certainly not a live project for Australia,” he added.

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Such a model would fill the void left by the previous-generation Pathfinder and Patrol, which offered serious off-road ability for around $50,000-$70,000.

Nowadays, the ute-based SUV segment is occupied by newcomers like the Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and the Toyota Fortuner.

The upcoming Nissan Navara-based off-roader has been spied in pre-production gyuse over the last year, wearing heavy camouflage to conceal its tall and boxy wagon body.

It’s expected to make its debut sometime later this year or early next, and will likely utilise components from the ute such as a five-link rear suspension system, a 130kW/450Nm 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, and a dual-range 4×4 system.

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It’s been a few years now since the previous-generation Pathfinder was on sale in Australia, meaning buyers wanting a crew-hauling Nissan with proper off-road capability need to look at a Navara ute or stretch to $69,990 for the Y62 Patrol – which is offered exclusively with a V8 petrol engine.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more updates over the coming months.

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