Official: Nissan’s future SUV and Crossover, Mazda3 vs Ford Focus vs Dodge Dart and Jeep Commander thoughts? [Ask Nathan]

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it's relevant in the automotive universe, there's a chance we may know something about it. The author's email address and name will be omitted - leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

In this week’s “Ask Nathan”

  • Nissan’s future SUV and crossover.
  • Mazda3 vs Ford Focus vs Dodge Dart?
  • What do you think about buying a Jeep Commander?

This first question (which is an old one) comes from a viewer who wants to know about some future Nissan products (Nissan’s future SUV and crossover). We have some official tidbits for him – huzzah!

2015, nissan, juke, 0-60 mph, track, video, review
2015 Nissan Juke

Any news on a future Nissan Juke or Nissan Xterra?


Nissan Qashqai

A: Ah, curious about Nissan’s future SUV and crossover? Got some great “official” stuff for you! Nissan just released a few future dates when they will announce new or updated products. Look at the graphic below.
FullSizeRender (5)

Now, some of these products require creative guesswork. Others, like the Pathfinder, Armada and Titan are already known. Using logic, and some wishful thinking, I think we can address most of these vehicles.

September 2016: there’s a new “SUV” announcement. Now, we all know that Nissan is the king of “crossovers,” so when they say they have an “SUV” announcement (and the new Armada is already known) it looks like a possible replacement for the Nissan Xterra.  Maybe it’s a cousin to the well-regarded Renault (Dacia) Duster? What else could it be?


January 2017: Nissan has a new crossover reveal. If it’s happening in January, it’s logical to assume it will be unveiled and/or announced at the 2017 NAIAS. It looks like there are two possibilities on this one. It is either a replacement for the Nissan Juke or a version of the Nissan Qashqai small crossover.

The Nissan Juke has sold like gangbusters here, I doubt they will retire the name.

September is only a few months off and I sincerely hope Nissan has a successor for the retired Nissan Xterra – that would be amazing.

What say you?




This next question is from a fan who is comparing the Mazda3 vs Ford Focus vs the Dodge Dart.

Hi Nathan and Roman, I was wondering if you could help me with trying to narrow down my next car.

I was thinking more the dart I watched your review on the dart I love the 1.4 turbo I was thinking of choosing between a Ford focus dodge dart or a Mazda 2013 models I want a vehicle with reliability ,fuel economy and as well as performance that’s the thing I am stuck on the dart thou. I currently have a 2008 Mazda GS thanks

David T



A: Hi David!

That’s a great question.

While I still like the Dodge Dart, because you get a lot of car for the money and it’s a great commuter, I would have a hard time saying “no” to the Mazda3. In my book, and Roman agrees with me on this one, the Mazda3 (in any trim, sedan or hatch) simply is one of the best driver’s cars in its bracket. Still, as I am a family man with a desire for a spacious, zippy car – the Dodge Dart is a mighty good choice.

The Ford Focus is great, but the space is compromised and they can be a bit expensive. There are big incentives on the Dodge Dart right now. It’s a good bet you can make quite a deal on one between now and November.

Roman and I want to remind you that the new Honda Honda Civic coupe is damn good too.

Try test driving all three (or four) in one day.

Hope that helps!


The last question comes from a Jeep fan who wants to buy a Jeep Commander.

Jeep Commander Rocky MTN edition

Hi guys, I love watching TFL! I was thinking about joining the Jeep community and buying a 2010 Jeep Commander.

I was looking at a used Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer, but the idea of being able to go off road became very appealing. I know you guys have a lot Jeep experience and I know that the Jeep Commander is not that popular. I kind of like its looks.

Can you give me any advice?



Hi Molly, great question!

First of all, the Jeep Commander shares many of its components and (stretched “XK”) platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. If you’re serious about heading off road, I highly recommend getting one with the Quadra-Drive II system and the big 5.7-liter V8. When properly equipped, it’s a great machine.

The third-row back seat is very small, suitable for children or small adults. The interior is not one of Jeep’s best, but the seats are comfortable and the driving position is quite good too. All in all, it’s a decent SUV with the potential for good off-road capability.

Read about Jeep etiquette (Jeep Wave? ).

Be sure to have a mechanic look at the one you’re interested in. Under-body damage is common on the lesser models that did not have enough undercarriage armor. Also, avoid highly modified ones as they were probably bashed around off-road. Finally, make sure that the vehicle’s history includes regular maintenance history (that includes inspections for all recalls).

Good luck!


Here’s the next video episode of “Ask Nathan!”

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

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