Don't be fooled by the name – this Terranaut 4x4 concept, which Nissan will unveil at the Geneva Motor Show, isn't the new Terrano. Instead, the Terranaut is a much bigger off-roader and is likely to give some idea of what the next Patrol will look like.
Considering that the rugged Patrol has been on sale since 1998, we'd expect to see an all-new car in 2008 or 2009.
It doesn't sound as though Nissan is ready to give up the Patrol's immense off-road ability, saying that the Terranaut is designed to 'travel to the extreme corners of the globe'.
Nissan says it has built the concept for 'adventurers', so it seats two up front and provides a working environment for an outward-bound scientist in the back. An asymmetrical design puts one door on the passenger side, and two on the driver's side. There's no pillar in the middle of the car on the driver's side, and the rear door opens backwards to make it easy to get in and out of the lab.
Realistically, it's most likely that the lab will be replaced with seating for up to seven when the car eventually arrives, and that the rearward opening door is replaced by a more conventional design.
Nissan's already enormous range of 4x4s, which includes the X-Trail, Pathfinder, Patrol, Terrano and Murano, will expand further early next year when the small, road-focused Qashqai arrives.
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