Nissan XIX

Even though this is technically called Car of the Day, I don't feature nearly enough trucks.

For a long time, they've been the best-selling vehicles in North America, they represent our culture at its best—work ethic—and worst—excess. Because even though where I live is ringed with farm land, 80 per cent of the trucks I see are hauling air.

Wouldn't a sedan or something smaller be better? Why waste the gas…?

Nissan must have had the same idea in 1995, though to be fair, Nissan had a lot of ideas in the 90s, which is probably why by 1999 they had to partner with Renault. From where I'm sitting, the XIX was a great idea: a car-based truck that was at home in cities, didn't use much fuel, but had a truck bed for carrying larger items that cars cannot. (It's pronounced "kicks".)

Of course, that didn't stop people for commenting on its looks. For instance, pickuptrucks.com said, "Don't blame us if you get eye cancer," a rather harsh sentiment for a little red concept truck. After its debut at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show (where else?) the XIX disappeared…I can find only one real photo of it. (Though I guess there's always the Subaru Baja and Honda Ridgeline, bigger versions of the same idea…)

Based on the Nissan Sentra, it was basically a crew cab Dodge Rampage. And even though its looks are a little on the odd side, it would have slotted in neatly beside the very square Nissan Rasheen, itself one of the first "lifestyle" car-based crossovers. At least in Japan, Nissan has been trying for a while to make their small vehicles practical—typically settling on stuff in the shape of a cube. After a bit of digging, I know why: both the cube and XIX, along with the X-Trail and Elgrand, were designed with input from the same guy: Etsuro Ikeyama.

Something else I found while digging: illustrations and "Engrish" descriptions of how the XIX would be used. One look at that illustrated Abarth and you get the sense that the team behind the XIX had put a lot of thought into its design. Before I end with those, if you have a moment, I found a (still active!) link to Nissan's website…from 1995. There's lots of garbled text and broken links, but it's fun, no? Enjoy.

These XIX illustrations and captions are amazing…you can even use the XIX "…freely, for adult hobbies":

The XIX is a utility car. Its spacious trunk opens wide to gulp down everything even if it is wet or dirty. The pitching part is designed to allow washing with water.

The XIX is a utility car. Its spacious trunk opens wide to gulp down everything even if it is wet or dirty. The pitching part is designed to allow washing with water.

The XIX can be used as a pickup truck. Using the wide opening trunk-through, you can easily carry an object as long as 2 m. by fixing it with a hook.

The XIX can be used as a pickup truck. Using the wide opening trunk-through, you can easily carry an object as long as 2 m. by fixing it with a hook.

The spacious XIX can carry both people and baggage. You can set a carrier on the long roof to carry bulky baggage for travel overseas. It would be fun to ride in an airport taxi like this.

The spacious XIX can carry both people and baggage. You can set a carrier on the long roof to carry bulky baggage for travel overseas. It would be fun to ride in an airport taxi like this.

The XIX is a good partner at an autocamp. The sub-lid can be used as a table when turned down. We can easily go camping with a lot of baggage.

The XIX is a good partner at an autocamp. The sub-lid can be used as a table when turned down. We can easily go camping with a lot of baggage.

The XIX is a lovable car. Drive, use, and enjoy it. Then if you maintain it yourself, you will feel that it is not a car but a member of the family.

The XIX is a lovable car. Drive, use, and enjoy it. Then if you maintain it yourself, you will feel that it is not a car but a member of the family.

The XIX is a treasure house of ideas. When you open the sub-lid, long items can be easily put in. Try to think what to put in it. This picture shows the XIX carrying a Christmas tree.

The XIX is a treasure house of ideas. When you open the sub-lid, long items can be easily put in. Try to think what to put in it. This picture shows the XIX carrying a Christmas tree.

The XIX is an all-around car. The 4WD function and high road clearance permit relaxed driving whether on a highway and a mountain road.

The XIX is an all-around car. The 4WD function and high road clearance permit relaxed driving whether on a highway and a mountain road.

The XIX has full-time 4WD and is capable of showing its power anywhere. For example, what about using the XIX this way? You can use the XIX freely for adult hobbies.

The XIX has full-time 4WD and is capable of showing its power anywhere. For example, what about using the XIX this way? You can use the XIX freely for adult hobbies.

Sources