After a cold, rainy spring morning spent in futile pursuit of the wary wild turkey, my hunting buddies debated ideal vehicle configurations over lunch. Strangely, the one who drove a sport/utility vehicle argued in favor of pickups, saying he hated to have muddy waders, wet dogs, and fresh game-specifically wild hogs-in the vehicle with him. The pickup owner pointed out how he likes SUVs because they have real rear seats and not the torture racks common in extended-cab pickups. Both demanded a svelte package to tackle narrow paths on their mountainous ranch.

The answer for both just might be Nissan's Frontier Crew Cab. Think of it as either an SUV with a short pickup bed grafted on or, more accurate, a pickup with an SUV's rear seat sectioned in. Knowing that neither SUV nor pickup fully suits the needs of those hauling everything from personal watercraft to mountain bikes to duck decoys, Nissan has introduced what it says is the first compact pickup with four front-hinged doors. Others like this idea, too: Ford, at least, will soon unveil a bobtail four-door F-150.

To keep the Crew Cab about the same length as a King Cab Frontier (it's actually 3.0 inches shorter), its 4.5-foot bed is bed is 18 inches shorter than that of a standard Frontier. That means even with the optional bed extender some of the biggest toys may not fit. Lighter gear can go on the optional tubular roof rack, which will accept Yakima attachments for skis, snowboards, kayaks, or cargo carrier.