Renault Shows Alaskan Concept Pickup Following Arrival of Nissan Navara in Europe
French Midsize Pickup Likely Based on Nissan, Could Presage Next-Gen Frontier
Renault recently revealed the Alaskan concept, a midsize pickup likely based on the Nissan NP300 Navara. The Alaskan will presage a production midsize pickup (known as a one-tonne in Europe) that will go on sale on the Continent in the first half of 2016.
The evidence to suggest the Alaskan is based on the Nissan Navara is strong. Aside from similar overall proportions, the Alaskan has an apparently identical cargo box and door stampings. Additionally, Renault says the Alaskan is powered by a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel, while the Navara gets its motivation from a 2.3L dCi diesel shared with several Renault-Nissan products.
The Alaskan may take its basic structure from the Navara, but it’s nevertheless a very interesting proposition. A prominent Renault logo surrounded by dot-matrix chrome notches dominates its uniquely French front end. A delicately contoured hood and front bumper give it a much more sophisticated look than the Navara (a handsome truck in its own right).
Concept-spec 21-inch wheels wrapped in knobby tires are anachronistic, as anyone with half a brain knows that huge wheels and tiny sidewalls are a terrible combination off-road, but nevertheless, they look cool. We hope the sculpted tailgate makes it to production, and we hope the chrome-accented clear taillights don’t.
In the cargo area, the bedsides and forward bulkhead are equipped with enclosed cargo binnacles, and they’re slimmer than the similar RamBox storage containers, meaning there’s less cargo bay intrusion. Tiedowns and bedrails adorn three sides of the pickup box.
Does that mean Americans will get a chance to sample the Renault Alaskan (since the Nissan NP300 Navara is essentially the same truck as what will replace the current Frontier pickup)? It’s not likely. In the U.S., the midsize pickup market is still relatively small, and Renault-Nissan probably wouldn’t want to subject the Alaskan and Navara/Frontier to infighting or sibling rivalry.
Some might suggest that the Alaskan could be marketed as an upscale pickup here (befitting French vehicles’ reputations as quirky, luxurious options), but that seems unlikely as well, since the Nissan Navara is already spawning a Mercedes-Benz variant. The Three-Pointed Star has much better brand recognition in the U.S. as a luxury marque, so it would make more sense than the Renault. Still, the chic Alaskan would bring a new level of usable style and comfort to the pickup market here, so if owners would stop going gaga for huge pickups they never use, we might be able to make a case for this truck’s existence here.