2020 Nissan Frontier – Hinting at a Next Gen Version

AutoInformed.com on 2020 Nissan Frontier - Chicago Auto Show Debut February 2020

Both the engine and transmission are key elements in the next-generation Frontier.

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

Fuel Economy

  • 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.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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