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What if Nissan brought the old Gobi compact truck to life?

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Just after Thanksgiving, the Nissan Stories USA blog posted a heritage collection spotlight on the Nissan Gobi compact truck concept. While this could just be a “remember when” post, we almost have to wonder if it’s also a “what if” post.

With the compact truck segment starting to heat up, and the Titan dying a slow death, could Nissan be testing the waters on potential interest? If it is, Imma vote yes.

So, let’s dig into what the Nissan Gobi was, and what it could be.

What was the Nissan Gobi concept?

Revealed way back in 1990, this compact truck was a two-door model with a bubble-like design. It had a small footprint, low-sided bed walls and a low ride height. Inside, it had a driver-focused cockpit and kitschy features like a removable glovebox that could double as a backpack.

Though this truck was more of a design exercise than anything else, if you take out the quirky shape and color scheme, you have the makings of something that has potential.

What would a Nissan compact truck look like?

Should Nissan decide to redirect its focus and take a second look at the compact truck segment, a potential future Gobi could look a lot like the new Nissan Frontier and be built on the Rogue platform. Power it with the 201-horsepower, 3-cylinder engine, and you’ll have something that is competitive with both the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Price a base model around $25k and then trick out a top-tier trim with the available high-tech gadgets seen on the Rogue (think wireless Apple CarPlay and 360-degree camera), and you’ll give Santa Cruz and Maverick a run for their money.

The bottom line

I like playing the “what if” game. Considering there are only two compact trucks on the market right now and Ford can’t build enough Mavericks (they’ve already closed order books for 2023!), Nissan has a real opportunity here. Design the truck look rugged like the Maverick, but make a lot of the lux-level features you see on the Santa Cruz available, and you could have a winning combination.

What do you think? Comment below: Is there room for a Nissan compact truck in the market? What should it look like and what features should it have?

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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  1. Gene December 7, 2022

    I think this is a great idea. Bring it on!

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      Jill Ciminillo December 15, 2022

      IKR? To me this is a no brainer. I don’t understand why more automakers aren’t jumping on the compact truck bandwagon!


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