Last April, in response to a question about the wasting away of the mid-size truck segment, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said, “We were the first into that market and we would be the last to leave.” That’s commitment, all right—but a pretty grim perspective on the future of the Frontier and its competition. But all that could change, we think, if Nissan goes ahead with a production version of the Frontier Diesel Runner concept pickup, which the company unveiled at the Chicago auto show.
Quite a bit had to be altered to wedge in the 2.8-liter mill, along with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, but Nissan says it carried over as many parts as possible from the standard truck, including the wiring harness and radiator. If this is beginning to sound a bit like a SEMA project rather than a concept car, don’t assume it means Nissan isn’t serious about dieseling-up its mid-size pickup. The press release for the truck is loaded with comments hinting at production intent, right down to VP of product planning Pierre Loing saying “We hope consumers in Chicago and across the U.S. will let us know what they think of the prospects of a diesel engine in this segment.” Nissan execs with whom we spoke also said they were eager to see a diesel Frontier happen. The only question is, in light of the amount of modification needed to build this concept, would the diesel appear in this Frontier or hold off until the next generation arrives.
Thanks to: Car and Driver