Ask Nathan: Nissan Z EV, Next-Gen Toyota Tacoma Updates, and Buying a Used Kia Sportage?

Nissan Fairlady image:  Franklin 郭

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will there be a Nissan Z EV?
  • Toyota Tacoma updates?
  • Used Kia Sportage?

The first question comes from fan who wants to know if we’ll see a Nissan Z EV.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Big question about a Nissan Z EV.

Roman, Nathan and Tommy I want to know if we will be getting a Nissan Z EV? Loved your earlier videos on the Z. I know you guys aren’t used car salesmen pretending to be journalists wit bogus numbers and that’s why I watch. Love that Roman owned lots of Zs and can back up what he thinks!


A: The idea of a Nissan Z EV is definitely on Nissan’s radar.

I answered a similar question back in 2018, but I had a lot less information – and things were a lot different back then. One thing that we’re all seeing is the commitment by many automakers to reduce their carbon footprint. Obviously, Nissan has been serious about electrification for a long time, but we only have the Leaf to show for it – in the U.S.

The seventh generation Nissan Z is starting to make waves right now, but it may be the last of a dyeing breed. While an all-out electric Nissan Z may be a ways off, there could be some electrification in the next generation. And – YES – if there’s demand, there should be an eighth generation Nissan Z.

Recently, Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta told MotorTrend that (He) “did not rule out an eighth generation of the Z car. As long as there is demand. (Nissan) will definitely continue with it.”

INFINITI Q Inspiration Concept
Infiniti’s Q Inspiration concept, shown at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. [Photo: Infiniti]

One thing we do know is that Infiniti committed to electrification of their whole fleet. We are just beginning to see this, and it’s possible that vehicles like the Q Inspiration concept may be a Nissan as well. Obviously, that’s all speculation.

I think the demand for the Z over the next few years will dictate how Nissan will react in the future.

p.s. our various driving impressions videos of the new Nissan Z will begin to surface as May 16th!

  • N

The next question comes from a comment made about the next Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

Image: TFLtruck

Q: (:Twitter@NathanAdlen) I wonder if the next Toyota Tacoma will be as much as a dud as the new Tundra is?

Any updates on the Tacoma? I bet Toyota will mess this one up too.

  • C.Bill

A: Hi Bill.

We have a lot of footage of (what we think is) the upcoming Toyota Tacoma. While nothing is set in stone, we know that it will ride on a modular TNGA-F platform. All the body-on-frame Toyota vehicles are going reside on a version of the platform over the next few years, and that’s including the Tacoma.

Sure, I have a few issues with the Tundra, but I think it’s a solid effort overall. Hopefully, learning from the Tundra, they will make the Tacoma even better. These two videos I added on (above and below) show the Tacoma testing. It most-likely has rear coils springs, and an all-new powertrain. The cab looks a lot bigger too; but the heavy masking makes it hard to truly tell.

We think the styling will mimic the Tundra, with slightly less grill, but that’s speculation as well.

Andre, at TFLtruck, has a lot of insight on the new Tacoma, and we think news will pop about it sometime in 2023.

  • N

The last question comes from a friend of mine, after we had a long discussion about a potential project vehicle for him to play with – a (very) used Kia Sportage.

Image: Kia

Q: (Paraphrased) “Read your article (on TFLoffroad) about the Kia Sportage.

I still see them on the road, and they are real cheap. The convertible is hard to find, but the five door versions are everywhere. I wanted to do a build that’s different. Originally, it was going to be on a older 4Runner, but they are getting stupid expensive. This Kia may be the way.”

  • Big Joe

A: True story: The Kia Sportage was one of the very first “press car loans” I received as a journalist.

About 20-years back, as I was cutting my teeth in the world of automotive journalism, two companies reached out to me: Suzuki and Kia. The Kia Sportage was one of the first vehicles I reviewed professionally. This was back when VEHIX was still around – but that’s a long story in itself.

Anyway, the time I spent with the Kia was longer than most. For some reason, I had it for two weeks, as opposed to the regular one week loan. In that time, I did everything with it. While it is a primitive vehicle, it proved very utilitarian. I took it to Trinidad, (Colorado), Durango, Four Points, and as far north as Wyoming.

Despite having pitiful tires, and mediocre ground clearance, it was great off-road. It had a simple, (Mazda-built) 2.0-liter FE DOHC engine that produced 130 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. It came with a five-speed manual or on optional four-speed automatic transmission. I only dealt with the five-speed, which gets the most out of the four-banger. Still, it was just enough to get it up-and-over difficult obstacles.  

At the time, I didn’t know that it was about to be completely replaced by a front-wheel drive biased model.

This is the 2004 Kia Sorento

The old Kia Sportage could be a slick project – but…

This is a sweet idea; however, I think you may want something with better all-around off-road chops. The replacement for the off-road/truck-based was the first generation Kia Sorento, and it was a much more powerful alternative. Built from 2002-2006 (in our market), the Sorento was a better all-around vehicle.

Still, they are a bit difficult to find. If you’re real lucky, you can find one with a manual transmission.

All-in-all, if you are thinking about using a Kia as an off-road build, consider going to (this) website first! There are lots of goodies like lockers, beefed up transmissions and full suspensions upgrades available!

  • N

Speaking of off-road in a Kia…