Finally, a new Nissan Frontier. But not the totally new Frontier we were all hoping for. Rather than a full refresh, Nissan simply shoehorned a new engine and transmission into the same ol’ truck. The 2020 Nissan Frontier (with the same look) now wields a new 3.8-liter V6 and a nine-speed transmission meant to preview the “next Frontier,” scheduled for 2021.
According to Nissan, the Frontier’s fresh engine uses 93-percent new parts. And thanks to those new parts, the 3.8-liter V6 now pumps out 310 horsepower (231 kilowatts). That represents an increase of 49 horses (37 kW) over the previous 4.0-liter V6, but torque stays put at 281 pound-feet (381 Newton-meters). The nine-speed automatic replaces the ancient five-speed automatic, and the five-speed manual goes the way of the dodo.
Along with power, fuel economy should also see an increase. Nissan doesn’t provide officials numbers yet but expects a significant improvement over the 2019 four-cylinder model’s 19 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 21 combined. Rear-wheel drive, as on the previous model, comes standard, and a low-speed, electronically controlled transfer case is optional.
Part of the 2020 Frontier’s update also includes a more-streamlined lineup. The Frontier King Cab model will offer both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations on the S and SV models. The Crew Cab model, meanwhile, extends rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive to the SV standard bed and SV long bed trims, while the Pro-4X gets all-wheel drive exclusively.
Nissan hasn’t announced pricing for the 2020 Frontier yet, but there should be a slight uptick over the 2019 model. The 2019 Nissan Frontier starts at $19,290.