Special Coverage

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CHICAGO – Although Nissan North America Inc. recently announced it would install its 5.6L V-8 in the midsize Pathfinder SUV, a company official says the Frontier midsize pickup truck won’t be getting a V-8 option.

“No, no way,” Larry Dominique, vice president-product planning, tells Ward’s on the sidelines of the auto show here. “(Nissan’s Endurance 5.6L V-8 is) not appropriate for that segment. We’re not trying to be Dakota.”

Chrysler Group’s Dodge Dakota and its Mitsubishi Motors Corp. twin, the Raider, are the only midsize pickups currently on sale in the U.S. with a V-8-engine option.

Ward’s data shows 45% of ’06 model Dakotas were equipped with a V-8 engine.

Dominique says Nissan is “very comfortable” with the two engines offered in the Frontier, a 2.5L inline 4-cyl. and a 4L version of its VQ V-6.

The off-road oriented Nissan Xterra midsize SUV doesn’t need a V-8 either, he says, adding the 4L V-6 VQ in the Xterra makes “more power than it needs right now.”

In the Xterra, the 4L produces 261 hp and 281 lb.-ft. (381 Nm) of torque.

“(With) Pathfinder, people say, ‘I tow; I put my family in the vehicle and I need to be able to pull better than I was with the VQ,’” Dominique says, explaining why Nissan made the Titan fullsize pickup’s 5.6L V-8 optional in the Pathfinder.

Nissan will begin selling refreshed versions of its Pathfinder and Titan models, as well as the fullsize Armada SUV, in the U.S. this spring.