Nissan Rogue is all-new for 2021, Versa and Sedan sedans redesigned for 2020.
Next-generation Nissan Z and Pathfinder models should soon be revealed.
The Nissan Ariya will go on sale in 2021 as the brand’s first EV crossover.
Nissan has fallen on hard times lately, especially in North American with an aging truck lineup and financial challenges that haven’t been made easier to handle by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a matter of fact, sales were down by 33% year-over-year in both the United States and Canada, which is worse than the industry average in a year where dealerships had to be temporarily closed in some regions of the two countries. Still, there are new products arriving in dealerships, and more coming along in the pipeline, which is good news, and the company recently unveiled a new logo as well. Here’s what to expect from the Nissan brand in 2021.
Let’s start with the crossovers. The Nissan Ariya is the company’s first fully electric utility vehicle, and will go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, followed by other markets including the U.S. and Canada before the end of the calendar year. The compact-sized Ariya features two powertrain choices: a single-motor setup produces 215 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque in front-wheel-drive variants, while the e-4ORCE system combines two motors for AWD traction and an output of 389 hp and 442 pound-feet. Two battery capacities will be available as well, the smaller one boasting an estimated range of 200 miles or 321 kilometres, while the bigger one should provide 300 miles or 482 km.
The Nissan Kicks is the smallest and most affordable crossover in the brand’s lineup, and for 2021, it receives refreshed front and rear fascias, rear disc brakes on uplevel trims, new paint colours, and a reworked interior design with new seat materials and a standard seven-inch infotainment touchscreen—while an eight-inch display is optional. The 2021 Kicks also gets the company’s Safety Shield 360 active safety suite as standard. The Kicks has a front-wheel drivetrain, no available AWD, and is equipped with a 1.6L inline-four that develops 122 horsepower mixed with a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Called the Nissan Rogue Sport in the U.S. and the Nissan Qashqai in Canada, the brand’s other subcompact entry should roll into the 2021 model year with minimal changes, after receiving a host of updates for 2020 that included some design tweaks, standard active safety features, and new colours. The Rogue Sport/Qashqai features a 2.0L inline-four engine with 141 horsepower, matched to a CVT, although a six-speed manual is still available for now in the base trim of the Qashqai. All-wheel drive is available. The next-generation Qashqai has recently been revealed by Nissan over in Europe, which means we’ll be getting it for the 2022 model year—maybe even 2021.
An all-new generation Nissan Rogue has arrived for the 2021 model year. It’s equipped with a revised 2.5L inline-four engine developing 181 horsepower, matched to a CVT and standard front-wheel drive, with AWD available as an option. The new Rogue gets a slightly bigger interior than before, richer cockpit materials, a standard eight-inch infotainment touchscreen and an available 12.3-inch fully digital driver instrument cluster, among other things.
The midsize, two-row Nissan Murano rides into 2021 with the Safety Shield 360 suite as standard on all trim levels, in addition to new paint colours and some minor equipment changes. The Murano relies on a 3.5L V6 engine with 260 horsepower, matched to a CVT and front-wheel drive, while AWD can be specified as well. Rumour has it that a new generation of the Murano will be revealed sometime in 2021, as a 2022 model, and that it would shift to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine for motivation.
The Nissan Pathfinder is getting long in the tooth, and an all-new generation should imminently appear, possibly as a 2021 model. The three-row, midsize crossover combined a 3.5L V6 with a continuously variable automatic transmission, along with FWD and AWD systems, producing 284 horsepower. However, the next-gen Pathfinder could use a new nine-speed automatic instead.
The 2021 Nissan Armada has just been revealed, and although it didn’t get an exhaustive redesign, it does boast a new front fascia with styling drawing it closer to the brand’s more recent products. It also gets new fenders, bumpers as well as LED headlights and taillights, and it’s the first model to wear the new Nissan logo. The Armada’s interior has been reworked too, with a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, on-board Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with optional wireless phone charging. The full-size, eight-passenger SUV is still equipped with a 5.6L V8 and a seven-speed automatic, now good for 400 horsepower.
The Nissan Frontier will get an overhaul for the 2021 model year, replacing the current-gen compact pickup that’s been on sale without any significant changes since the fall of 2004. We know that the next-gen truck will be equipped with a direct-injected 3.8L V6 engine developing 310 horsepower and a nine-speed automatic, because it was shoehorned into the old Frontier for its final 2020 model year—which was sold in the U.S., but never ended up being offered in Canada. We expect the pickup to grow in size and offer a much more modern interior, as well as increased tow and payload capacities.
The 2021 model year brings no changes to the Nissan Titan full-size pickup, after receiving a refresh for 2020. However, it will be removed from the Canadian lineup after 2021 due to slow sales. The Titan comes standard with a 5.6L V8 that develops 400 horsepower, matched to a recently introduced nine-speed automatic transmission, and the Safety Shield 360 suite of active safety gizmos is standard across all trim levels as well. In the U.S., the Titan is offered with 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains, in King Cab and Crew Cab configurations, in addition to the Titan XD Crew Cab heavier-duty variant, while the Canadian market is limited to the Crew Cab 4WD configurations of the Titan and Titan XD for its final model year.
The Nissan Versa sedan, redesigned for the 2020 model year, gets no significant changes for 2021, and it’s now available in Canada as the entry-level replacement of the Nissan Micra which wasn’t offered in the United States. The Versa is equipped with a 1.6L inline-four engine that develops 122 horsepower, mixed with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT. The subcompact sedan is available in both countries in S, SV and SR trim levels, the latter adding a sporty appearance with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, among other features.
After receiving a complete redesign for the 2020 model year, the Nissan Sentra gets standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration across all trim levels, while the sporty SR is now available with an Electric Blue Metallic and Black roof colour combo. The Sentra is equipped with a 2.0L inline-four that develops 149 horsepower, matched to a continuously variable automatic. In Canada specifically, a six-speed manual is also available in S and now in SR trim, while the base Sentra S now gets heated front seats and heated exterior mirrors as standard. Nissan Canada has just announced that the Micra Cup monotype racing series will be replaced with the new Sentra Cup for 2021.
The fully electric Nissan LEAF is once again offered with two battery capacities for 2021. The 40-kWh pack provides a driving range of 149 miles in the U.S. and 240 kilometres in Canada, while the 62-kWh battery helps the compact hatchback cover a distance of up to 226 miles or 363 km. No changes have been announced for the new model year, as the LEAF is available in five trim levels south of the border, and four up north.
The Nissan Altima was redesigned for the 2019 model year, and gets some enhancements for the 2021 model year. In the U.S., the midsize is available with a 2.5L four that produces 188 horsepower in front-wheel drive variants, and 182 horsepower when matched to AWD, along with a CVT. Meanwhile, the innovative VC-Turbo 2.0L engine with 248 horsepower is only available in SR trim level with FWD—which the Canadian market doesn’t get. In Canada, the Altima comes standard with AWD and the 2.5L engine since the new generation arrived on the market. Other changes, at least in the U.S., include equipment revisions to hierarchically move the SR trim above the SV, and there’s a new SV Premium Package as well.
As for the Nissan Maxima midsize sport sedan, it celebrates four decades of existence with a 40th Anniversary Edition. Based on the Platinum grade, this new variant adds a Ruby Slate Gray Pearl paint job with a contrasting black roof, exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, black badging, black exhaust tips, red semi-aniline leather upholstery with 40th anniversary embossing, red contrast interior stitching, white instrument cluster gauges and heated rear seats. The Maxima is equipped as standard with a front-wheel drivetrain, a continuously variable automatic and a 3.5L V6 engine developing 300 horsepower. The Maxima could soon be replaced by a fully electric car inspired by the Nissan IMs concept revealed at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
An all-new Nissan Z sports car is about to launch, and back in September, the brand unveiled the Z Proto that foreshadows what the next-generation car would look like. We don’t know whether it will keep the 370Z name or change to 300Z or 400Z, but what we do know is that it will feature a twin-turbo V6 engine, possibly the one currently found in the Infiniti Q50/Q60 lines. That means 300 to 400 horsepower, and a six-speed manual will be available as well, in addition to a seven-speed automatic. The 2021 370Z hasn’t been announced yet, so it’s unclear if there will be one. The current-gen model is equipped with a 3.5L V6 good for 332 horsepower, or 350 in the 370Z Nismo variant.
The company’s other sports car, the Nissan GT-R, soldiers on for 2021 with trim levels, the Premium and the NISMO. They both receive the latest version of the twin-turbo 3.8L V6 engine, which now develops 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque, matched to a dual-clutch six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. The next-generation GT-R is expected for 2023, and a GT-R Final Edition might be offered in 2022 with a 710-horsepower engine. Meanwhile, deliveries of the exclusive Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign have started.
Capping this extensive model lineup are the full-size Nissan NV and compact Nissan NV200 commercial vehicles, which are still on duty in 2021 without any major changes. The NV Cargo offers two powertrain choices, including a 261-horsepower 4.0L V6 and a 375-hp 5.6L V8, along with three trim levels and two roof heights. The NV Passenger can seat up to 12 people and gets the same powertrain choices, while the NV200 is equipped with a 2.0L inline-four that develops 131 horsepower. The NV200 S gets cruise control as standard, while the SV adds rear sonar to facilitate parking manoeuvres, and a new paint colour called Gun Metallic is now offered as well. In the summer of 2020, it was reported that production of the NV would soon be stopped due to slow sales.