The Next Nissan Maxima, Small Trucks in the USA and RC Cars for Beginners? [Ask Nathan]

  • Any info on the next Nissan Maxima?
  • Next batch of small trucks in the USA?
  • What RC car should I get?

The first question comes from a Nissan fan who wants any updates on the next Nissan Maxima.

(Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) Quick question about the next Nissan Maxima.

Do you think it will be electric? I think it would be a good idea. Cheers!

2019 Altima design sketch - 2019 Nissan Altima
2019 Nissan design sketch. [Photo: Nissan]
A: Howdy!

That’s a good point, an all electric sedan is definitely in the wings at Nissan. They already indicated that they want to remain the leader in electric car sales and, with other large automakers gearing up for electrification, it seems logical. The question is: will the next Nissan Maxima be all-electric?

There are pros and cons to the idea, mainly based on the vehicle’s name. Will Nissan stick with a gas engine on the next Nissan Maxima? Perhaps a plug-in hybrid? Can the next Nissan Maxima bring back the sporting mojo lost?

We know that a heavily revised Nissan Maxima is coming to either the 2018 L.A. Auto Show or the 2019 NAIAS. Nissan USA has made it no secret that, with nearly every recent concept vehicle they debut, they want to dominate electric car production, but they haven’t indicated how.

Perhaps they will go bold and make the next Nissan Maxima electric? That could be awesome. What do you think?


The next question comes from a fan who wants details about the next batch of small trucks coming to the USA.

When will we see these “small” trucks in the USA?

Ford’s USA website says the Ranger arrives “this fall”, so I guess we know that answer. Can you give us your best guess on when we’re likely to see the Frontier and Santa Cruz? Oh, and a bonus question. If the Ranger arrives in the fall, does that imply that TFL will drive it soon (or already) under a press embargo?


A: Greetings!

Here’s what I got.

Ford Ranger: We were told that the Ford Ranger event is happening soon, but we still don’t have “official” dates. It’s possible that, after the F-150’s part supplier’s fire and some internal restructuring, a few things have been pushed back a bit – which may include the Ford Ranger’s press drive dates.

Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup: IF it’s built, it’s still a few years off. One of the new issues is the possibility of expensive tariffs. It may be built in the USA, but it’s still an expensive endeavor.

Also, there’s a distant rumor that Hyundai is considering the purchase of FCA. Seriously. If that were to happen, the idea of a Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup competing against other FCA trucks may present a conflict.

Finally – the next Nissan Frontier: While I have no doubt Nissan can pull the trigger and have an all-new Nissan Frontier ready for the next major auto show, I doubt they will do it any time soon. People are still buying the current (ancient) Nissan Frontier. It costs them SO little to build them, why stop the gravy-train?

Keep in mind, a top-of-the-line 2018 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab PRO-4X V6 4X4 5-SPEED AUTOMATIC has a starting MSRP of $33,790. A mid-level Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road comes in at $34,120. A loaded Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro comes in at $41,720. Add to that massive discounts Nissan dealers are throwing at customers and the current Nissan Frontier comes out to be a hell of a bargain.

Once consumers back off and stop buying the current model Frontier, Nissan will bring out the new one. I wonder if they will dump the small diesel that was intended for our market? Maybe that’s part of the holdup too?

Thanks for the email!


The last question is from a fan who wants my opinion on an RC car.

Nathan! Got a RC question for you.

I’m guessing that you and I are about the same age. I was born in the mid 1970s. I had friends who owned the old school RC cars from Tamaya and Kyosho. I never had one and when my kids began driving RC cars, they were nothing like the old ones. These new ones seem less complex to build and are way too powerful.

Now my kids are buggering off and I was thinking about tinkering with an old school RC car. I was wondering what type of cars you had experience with and which one would you build again if you could. I was thinking about a street car and an off road car.

I respect your opinion a lot. I see Roman and Tommy always playing with RC cars, but you never seem to on video. You should have a fun RC episode where the whole team makes a RC car that represent who they are. Even Sara and Mr. Truck! Then have a race through some ridiculous obstacle course!

You guys are the best!



Hi Lizzy!

Thanks for that great email! Yep, I love the old school RC cars. Most of the ones I owned were Tamaya. I bought a few new ones, like the Rough Rider, Hornet and Subaru Brat new. Others I bought used like the Fast Attack Vehicle and I even inherited a Grass Hopper from Tommy… which kind of blew up when I attempted to over-modify it.

These new hyper cars, both big and small, are a bit too much for me. I’m with you, I like the older stuff far more; however, recently I bumped into a fan who was driving his Tamaya Honda CRZ (I wasn’t expecting a RC version of that) in a parking lot and let me have a go. It was a blast! Not only was it FWD, it had a similar weight bias with the 540 motor sitting in front of the front axle. It handled like an actual FWD car which forced me to think about what I was doing.

I think RC cars that look and act like their full-size counterparts is mighty cool. I am still thinking about getting something like that.

While I am not qualified to give you an expert opinion about RC cars, Roman and Tommy definitely are. If you have more questions, I would send a note to them.

I absolutely love your TFL RC Battle idea! I can picture Mr. Truck driving an oversized 4X4 (like a Tamaya Lunchbox) and Andre in a Hummer. I guess Sarah would be in a WRX and our Canadian bureau Chief Stephen would be in a side-by-side RC car. Roman… well he no longer qualifies to drive his RC Raptor, I guess an RC Fiesta for him. Tommy? Maybe a RC Baja Bug, Wrangler or International Scout – if they build one.


Me? I’m a bog fan of the Tamaya RC Pajeros they have a few I have been eyeballing.

The whole team buzzing around off-road? That could be awesome. Ooh! It’s so cool just thinking about the possibilities!

Anyway, thanks for the email!

Best of luck!


Speaking of off-road hyjinx…

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.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: