Ask Nathan: Nissan Leaf SUV, Highlander Hybrid Vs Tahoe Duramax and 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross?

This is not a Nissan Leaf SUV, but it is the Nissan IMQ Concept – and it gives us a hint at what they’re planning in the near future.

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will we see a Nissan Leaf SUV?
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD vs Chevrolet Tahoe with the Duramax diesel?
  • Is the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross the same thing as a RAV4?

The first question comes from a Nissan owner who want to know if the Leaf EV will have a crossover/SUV spinoff.

Q: (@NathanAdlen Twitter) This is Bashir and I am asking Nathan about the chance of a Nissan Leaf SUV?

I see the Leaf as the inexpensive option for EV. Why do they wait on a Nissan Leaf SUV? Everybody wants to drive a SUV. Am I correct?

A: Well, there is a Nissan Leaf SUV (crossover) coming out – well kind of. It’s called the Aryia.

This is a 389 horsepower crossover that will have the option for front or all-wheel drive. The Aryia is poised to take on the Volkswagen ID4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E – along with the base model Tesla Model Y. We suspect that it will be starting price will hover around the $40,000 range, which is competitive.

Still, you were asking about a Nissan Leaf SUV – right?

This is the Nissan RE-Leaf. It’s an overseas rescue concept, and it’s super cool!

Sales of the current Leaf are chugging along, but the competition is definitely creeping up. Right now, the Leaf is the value leader in our market. It is sold only as a front-wheel drive (FWD) hatchback. If Nissan were to lift it up a bit, slap on a bigger battery and a second motor to occasionally power the rear wheels, they could call it the “Leaf Cross,” or something. I bet it would sell.

They did build a lifted Nissan Leaf concept called the Nissan RE-Leaf. It wasn’t AWD, but it was lifted, had beefy tires and was capable of heading into nasty terrain. It’s a rescue vehicle concept, but it looked very cool.

You’re right, people are crazy for crossovers right now. There have been no announcements from Nissan about doing anything like this to the Leaf. Personally speaking, I think it would be cool if they did.

Thanks for the question!


2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition

The next question comes from a fan who is looking for an efficient long distance family hauler.

Q: Nathan, I would like your opinion and thoughts about choosing a car that I can purchase for I travel between NY and North Carolina, a trip of approximately 600 miles.

I want to do it with one stop for gas and need seats for six (two adults and a bunch of grand kids) with some room for luggage and stuff. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD or a Chevy Tahoe with the Duramax engine. In addition to seating, mileage of course safety and reliability are very important. I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Thank you,

Granda Pa Jordan

A: This is a great question!

I recently received a similar question from a family member.

Right off the bat, I would take a long look at that Chevrolet Tahoe. Recently, I drove a GMC Yukon Duramax diesel on a long road trip, and it was outstanding. For space, power and towing, the Chevrolet is the way to go. Online, I configured a base model 4WD with a Duramax diesel for about $55,000.

The Toyota Highlander is much less expensive. I configured a mid-level AWD Highlander for about $45,000. The Highlander is solid, with a great reputation for reliability. On the other hand, its AWD system is happiest in low traction situations. The Chevrolet has better off-road chops.

There is one issue with the Chevrolet that would upset my spouse: buying diesel fuel. I think it’s no biggie, but she has stated before that diesel is harder to find in cities. Another issue that some folks may have with the Tahoe is its height. The Highlander seems to be physically positioned in a sweet spot for many consumers.

Both vehicles can go up to about 600 miles on a tank. That means that both vehicles would need just one fuel stop on your trip. It would be possible to do the run on one tank, with no traffic and a gentle right foot.

Anyway, my personal choice would be the Tahoe diesel.

Thanks again for the email!

  • N

The last question comes from a fan who thinks the new Toyota Corolla Cross is the same thing as the Toyota RAV4.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

Q: (Dude Trader Joe’s line) Does Toyota think the Corolla Cross will sell when it’s just a RAV4?

It just looks like its only a little bit smaller than the RAV4.

Dude at Trader Joes.

2021 toyota corolla cross

A: Hi there,

Thanks for talk to me in that boring line, here are the facts about the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross.

The Corolla Cross is a competitor in the sub-compact crossover category. As such, it has small dimensions. Its total length of 175.6-inches is about six-inches less than the RAV4. Its 103-inch wheelbase is nearly three inches shorter than the RAV4.

RAV4’s curb weight runs from 3,370 to 3,655 lbs, depending on the model. Currently, the Corolla Cross is listed at 3.350 lbs. The base model RAV4 has a 203 horsepower four-cylinder engine, the Corolla Cross has a 169 hp four-banger.

You can read more about the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross (here).

The bottom line is that the smaller 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is meant to battle it out with the Honda HR-V, whereas the bigger RAV4 goes up against the Honda CR-V.

— N

Speaking of the Toyota Corolla Cross…