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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Nissan, and the Next Frontier

      ...the oldest small truck on the market is about to get a redesign...

    The Jeep Gladiator is new. While it is based on older underpinnings and a somewhat dated interior, the Ford Ranger is the second newest truck in the U.S. market.  Behind that is the just-refreshed but still on an older chassis Toyota Tacoma, that is getting a new platform in a few years. Behind that is the Honda Ridgeline.  Behind that are the GM twins of Colorado and Canyon which came out in 2012. And finally, behind those two, the oldest small/midsize truck is the Nissan Frontier, trucking on since 2004 without a major redesign.   Put into some perspective, the current Nissan Frontier is only one year younger than the previous generation of Colorado and Canyon.  As far as the automotive industry goes, that is ancient, but Frontier buyers don't seem to mind. Nissan sold nearly 79,646 Frontier trucks in 2018, a 7.1% increase over 2017.  That's with all the new competition coming on the market and without any major incentives.  That makes it the brands third best seller in the crossover/truck segment after Rogue and Murano. 

    People wanting something a bit fresher from Nissan still have about 18 months to wait. The next Frontier, sold as a 2021 model, should arrive in dealerships in the Fall of 2020. People who have seen previews of the truck describe it as "futuristic" and "Modern, but still looks like a truck".  It will get a new 300 horsepower V6 engine replacing the current 4.0 V6 and the 5-speed automatic will be upgraded to a 7-speed. 

    However, unlike the Tacoma, which is moving to an all new platform in a few years. The Frontier will get a heavily revised version of its current frame.  Nissan opted not to go with their global Navara truck platform primarily because it is too small to compete with the likes of the Ranger and Gladiator.  It also uses a more expensive coil spring rear suspension instead of the traditional leaf springs. 

    With the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator now entering the market, Nissan wants to catch up and be the newest kid on the block, if only for a little while.

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