Nissan is giving its dinosaur a new heart. No, not Godzilla—the mid-size Frontier pickup.
The current Frontier debuted way back in 2004. For reference, that was so long ago the Nissan 350Z was still fresh, and the only Toyota hybrid on our shores was the Prius. Nissan has treated its truck to a handful of updates over the ensuing decade and a half, but largely it’s stayed the same. Which is why this 2020 model is so unexpected.
While it may feature the same wrapper, the 2020 Frontier hides a new, sweet, chewy center. Underhood is a 3.8-liter, direct injection V6, boosting both power and fuel economy. Nissan is quoting a whopping 49 hp increase, which would put the new engine’s pony count at 310 hp. Like its recently refreshed brother, the 2020 Titan, the Frontier will send its power through a nine-speed automatic.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Nissan Titan First Drive Review
Nissan claims 93 percent of the 3.8-liter is either new or redesigned. It will produce the mill at its Dechard, TN, plant, alongside the Titan’s 5.6-liter V8.
This new drivetrain will be a single-model-year feature though, at least on the existing truck. In its announcement, Nissan confirmed the next-gen Frontier will touch down the following year. Expect a whole host of changes as it does battle with the ever-popular Toyota Tacoma, as well as newer entries in the segment like the reborn Ford Ranger.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Ranger FX4 Review
Alongside the new 2020 Frontier, Nissan is showing off an older 2007 example on its stand at the Chicago Auto Show. The teenage truck recently hit 1 million miles with its owner, local man Brian Murphy, behind the wheel. To celebrate, Nissan is giving him a brand new 2020 model.
The 3.8-liter 2020 Nissan Frontier will go on sale in spring. We’ll see the all-new Frontier not long after that.