In a nod to its fan faithful, Nissan has chosen Instagram as the venue to show off the first cleverly camouflaged photos of its next-generation Frontier, set to debut later this year most likely as a 2015 model. The new-generation Frontier is expected to add an all-new engine option along with sharper styling and better fuel efficiency across the board. With sales lagging to the popular Toyota Tacoma and new versions of the Honda Ridgeline and Chevrolet Colorado just around the corner, Nissan aims to beat other manufacturers to the punch. While full-size pickups sell in greater raw numbers, compact trucks are gaining popularity.
While much of the new truck is still invisible, we do see Nissan’s new corporate 3-bar split grille on clear display, looking much more manly for truck duty. There’s also a revised front end with a new front air dam design, though the details are still a little murky. A brightly illuminated strip of LED daytime running lamps flanks square-shaped headlamps, and a pair of roof rails rising high above the roof are clearly visible. Proportions look to be about the same as the current Frontier.
The big news coming to the Frontier line is the introduction of diesel power, which was first previewed in the form of the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins Concept touching down earlier in 2014 at the Chicago Auto Show. The new 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel makes an estimated 200 horsepower and 365 lb-ft. of torque and comes mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Nissan promises 35% better fuel efficiency than the current Frontier V6 while maintaining at least the same towing and hauling capacities, so smaller business owners and anyone else who does heavy driving should keep their eyes peeled for good diesel things to come in the near future.
Gasoline 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 4.0-liter V6 engines may well carry over, though expect updates with things like direct injection plus 8-speed transmissions leading to better fuel efficiency than ever before. The four-banger is particularly ancient in its design, so an all-new gasoline four-cylinder may take its chance to appear here, as well. The current 19 city/23 highway mpg (I4) and 16 city/22 highway mpg (V6) ratings actually fall behind even the most-efficient full-size trucks, so Nissan’s got some work to do in the fuel efficiency area to make its small truck more appealing.
The new Frontier is expected to be fully revealed within the coming weeks, and may debut in dealerships by the end of the year as a 2015 model, or at the very beginning of 2015 as an early 2016 model. Pricing should start at around $18,500. A new Xterra based on the same platform is expected to be released soon, as well.