Nissan leveraged decades of racing expertise on and off the track to build three concepts for the 2023 SEMA show. The first two are based on the Rogue and the Frontier, respectively, and feature several off-road upgrades while the third puts the humble Sentra in a racing suit.
Starting with the updated 2024 Rogue, the Project Rugged Rogue was developed to explore trails that are normally off-limits to crossovers. It was built with a long list of parts provided by Nismo Off-Road, including a three-inch lift kit, 18-inch wheels, a custom exhaust system with dual center-mounted outlets, and carbon fiber wheel arch flares. Its roof rack is fitted with driving lights and racks for a kayak and a mountain bike, and the interior gains neoprene seat covers and a spare tire carrier. This family hauler looks like it can go just about anywhere.
Nissan notes that a lot of the parts it used to turn the Rogue into an off-roader are at the prototype stage, including the wheels, the roof rack, the front bumper guard, and the seat covers. It also notes that the alloys were designed to fit the Pathfinder, among other models, which suggests — but doesn’t confirm; keep in mind this is pure speculation — that the Japanese brand might have production plans in mind.
Formula Drift champion Chris Forsberg helped Nissan engineers make a race car out of the Frontier. Developed by Forsberg Racing, the truck has already proven its mettle: it finished first in the 2023 NORRA 500’s stock production category, and it will be shown at SEMA in as-raced condition, dings, dirt, bugs, and all. Preparing it for the event required installing a lift kit, a high-performance suspension system, a sportier exhaust system, beadlock wheels wrapped by Yokohama mud-terrain tires, and rock rails, among other parts sourced from Nismo.
Moving back to the asphalt, the Sentra DET concept draws inspiration from the cars that compete in Canada’s Sentra Cup racing series and from the emblematic high-performance models that Nissan has built over the past couple of decades. While value has become the model’s main selling point, the range has historically included hot-rodded models like the 140-horsepower SE-R variant of the B13-generation car.
Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine whose output hasn’t been released. It sounds like one hell of a build, however: The list of parts used to assemble it includes Eagle connecting rods, Manley pistons, a Garrett G25 660 turbocharger, and Bosch EV14 secondary fuel injectors. The engine exhales through a Nismo B18 performance exhaust system, and Nissan added a lightweight flywheel and a sport clutch kit from McLeod as well as a Quaife limited-slip differential. Z-sourced brakes keep the power in check.
Nismo-built prototype coilovers, 18-inch wheels, and Recaro Sportster CS front seats complete one of the coolest Nissan concepts we’ve seen in recent memory. Nissan hasn’t revealed if this was put together solely for SEMA glory or if a spicier Sentra is in the pipeline.
The 2023 SEMA show opens its doors on October 31 in Las Vegas, Nevada.