2020 Nissan Frontier Gets New Engine, Same Looks

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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.

2020 Nissan Frontier
2020 Nissan Frontier

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.

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