The 2020 Nissan Frontier is an example of how regulations are now dictating auto design by either delaying or pulling ahead or revising vehicle updates to comply with a bewildering set of global regulations that are not in sync with one another. The Renault Nissan Alliance is due to announce a global production revision next week that will determine where products are made and how many of them are built. With all-new 3.8-liter V6 and all-new 9-speed automatic transmission, Frontier originally due this spring will now appear in US showrooms at the end of July. Stay tuned.
Along with the 49-horsepower improvement compared to the previous Frontier V6, fuel economy is expected to increase. Also contributing to the 2020 Frontier’s improved acceleration and fuel economy is the all-new 9-speed automatic transmission. These alone make it a credible entry into the compact, now mid-size pickup truck segment, long the pick of younger buyers.
However, the $20,000 pickup is no more. Along with the Chevrolet Colorado and the Ford Ranger, the price of entry is now at least $28,000 ranging up to, gulp, $38,000. (Ford to Bring Back Ranger Pickup to North America, Off-Road Cruise Control on 2019 F-150 Raptor and Ranger, Chevy Marks Four Years of Colorado Sales with Sales Editions)
The all-new 310-horsepower 3.8-liter direct injection V6 was developed for U.S. customers. It has – so far – best-in-class horsepower while also providing improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.
Both the engine and transmission will be key elements in the next-generation Frontier. Development of the new engine focused on the needs or is that demands of truck owners in the U.S. The engine has 93% new or redesigned parts, and the powerplant underwent extensive testing in North America.
Key technical design aspects of the 3.8-liter V6 include a direct injection gasoline system, cylinder heads with integrated exhaust manifolds, a variable displacement oil pump, variable timing control and a variable tumble control valve. The new 9-speed automatic is like the one introduced on the 2020 TITAN and is designed to maximize powertrain efficiency and provide a better acceleration feel.
The 2020 Frontier is available in rear-wheel drive or an optional shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive system with 2WD/4HI/4LO modes and electronically controlled part-time transfer case. The suspension includes an all-steel double-wishbone front suspension and solid axle leaf rear suspension with over slung leaf springs with long suspension stroke for optimized off-road ride and ground clearance.
Steering is provided by a power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system, while 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are also standard on all grades. The 2020 Frontier offers a number of other upgrades for the new model year, including standard push button start. In addition, several optional things are now standard for all grades: leather shift knob, manual tilt steering, power door locks and power windows with driver side auto-down.
Frontier Product Highlights
- Fully boxed ladder frame,
- 4-wheel limited slip,
- Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control,
- 6,640-pound towing capacity (4×2 SV grade) and 1460-pound payload,
- Shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive system with 2WD/4H/4LO modes operated by an electronically controlled part-time transfer case
- Body-colored grille and bumpers, outside mirrors and door handles and fog lamps
- Optional Rockford Fosgate-powered premium audio system with eight speakers plus subwoofer (PRO-4X)
- Optional Bilstein off-road high-pressure shock absorbers,
- Optional skid plates on the fuel tank, oil pan and transfer case,
- an electronic rear differential locker
- 4-wheel limited-slip (PRO-4x)
- Optional “leather-appointed” white-stitched shifter knob and steering wheel, chrome accent ring around the white-faced meter gauges and trip computer,
- Optional machine-finished 16-inch aluminum-alloy off-road wheels with 265/75R16 All-Terrain tires (PRO-4X)
- Optional NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps with 5.8-inch display, touch-screen display, SiriusXM Traffic, SiriusXM Travel Link™
- Standard RearView Monitor,
- Frontier King Cab S and SV (4×2 and 4×4)
- Frontier Crew Cab S, SV (4×2 and 4×4) PRO-4X (4×4 only)
- Powertrain: All-new 3.8-liter DOHC 24-valve Direct Injection V6 rated at 310-horsepower and 281 lb.-ft. of torque
- 9-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission
- Frontier 4×2 – 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
- Frontier 4×4 –17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.