Ask Nathan: Sub-Nissan Frontier Pickup Confirmed, A3 Alternative and This Year’s Super Bowl Ads?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • There will be a smaller-than-the-Nissan-Frontier pickup coming, but there’s a catch…
  • I want an alternative to my troublesome Audi A3.
  • What’s up with this year’s Super Bowl ads?

The first question comes from a viewer who thinks that, after the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance renewal, we’ll see a small pickup, that’s smaller than the Nissan Frontier.

Images: Renault

Q: (Via: Saw this article about a ute that’s smaller than the Nissan Frontier. If it happens here, it could happen there.

The article is: “Forget the Ford Maverick! Sub-Navara Nissan ute confirmed as by-product of renewed Renault alliance.” As you know, the Navara is basically a Frontier over seas.

The Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance has been renewed after a long series of discussions, and finally the three brands can move on with a more unified strategy. One of the key take-aways is a renewed set of utes.Focused primarily on the Latin-American market, where the Alliance sees big opportunities, is a “new half-tonne pick-up developed by Renault Group and shared with Nissan in Argentina.”The confirmation comes after years of Nissan saying it was considering a pick-up truck in the sub-Navara segment for a global audience.

In words to that statement, they said that they would lean heavily on Dacia who builds European SUVs and Utes. This would be immediately competitive with the Ford Maverick.

What do you say?

  • Juan TT

A: It would be great to see something smaller than the Nissan Frontier come here, but…

The U.S. market is very difficult (and expensive) to enter. You mentioned the Dacia/Renault Duster Oroch? Yea, that’s a small ute that’s in the same ballpark as the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz. It’s a sweet little pickup, but it was never meant for stringent U.S. requirements. On top of that, it is built overseas, which makes it a “chicken tax” vehicle. In its current form, the Renault Duster Oroch would not be fiscally logical in our market.

For those of you who didn’t know: the Renault Duster Oroch is even smaller than the Hyundai Santa Cruz, although its tow and payload ratings are in the same ballpark as the Maverick and Santa Cruz – overseas. The platform its currently based on would not pass our DOT-mandated requirements for safety.

Image: Renault

With that being said, there’s no reason to assume that Nissan or even Mitsubishi won’t build a small pickup competitor for our market. In an older post, we discussed the possibility of a small Nissan EV pickup. There could be an internal combustion version as well. They could use a lot of the data they collected with the Oroch and build something here.

As of right now, Nissan has said nothing official, but we’ll keep our ear to the ground!

– N

The next question comes from an old fan who’s getting sick of his Audi A3, and wants a replacement.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) I’m done with my 2016 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus S Line quattro

It is kind of funny that I saw one of your videos and then bought it. Loved it for a while, then the warranty went away and it immediately started having problems. I’m selling it this week and want to replace it with another sporty sedan that is under $50,000 dollars. I want something that could last 100,000 miles without falling apart.

Oh and I don’t want any German or Italian cars either.

– S Quan

A: There are plenty of options out there, many are a tad larger than your A3.

With your preferences in mind: three cars top my list. They are the Lexus IS 300 AWD, the Genesis G70 V6 AWD, and the Volvo S60 AWD (B5). All three are great entry-level sport/luxury sedans, and they all have their positive qualities. On top of that, all three are available for well under $50K.

If you want build quality, reliability and ease of ownership – the Lexus IS 300 AWD might be a good option. It’s not the most powerful in the group, and it can get pricy with too many options, but it’s a solid choice. The Volvo is more comfortable, and not quite as athletic as the IS 300, but it’s a sweet-driving machine. One that’s kind of under the radar, but rewarding nonetheless.

My first choice is the 2023 Genesis G70 V6 AWD, without a doubt. For the money, it makes over 100 horsepower MORE than the Lexus. I mean, 365 hp and 376 lbs-feet of torque is outstanding in a car that weighs less than 3,900-lbs. Even its less expensive turbo four-cylinder is a banger.

On top of that, it’s a brilliant mix of sport and luxury. All three of these cars are outstanding, and it might come down to ascetics, or bang-for-your-buck – but I would be happy with any of these.

Hope that helps.

– N

The last comment comes from a reader who wants to know about this year’s Super Bowl car commercials.

Q: Any decent super bowl commercials with cars this year?

Usually, there’s one or two good spots where we see something cool.

  • Pepper

A: Sure are!

Funny thing: my wife only watches the Super Bowl for the commercials. Then she will watch the Puppy Bowl when they switch back to the game. It gets kind of weird when the boys are screaming for blood after a botched play, and my wife is staring at her phone making baby talk to puppies.

Go Steelers!

… I know…