Having been around for about 15 years, the Nissan Frontier is listed in our “20 Oldest Cars, Trucks, and SUVs on sale today” with good reason. Nissan first announced plans for a replacement back in March when it said that work on a new generation of the pickup truck was well underway. Months later, Automotive News reported about the midsize workhorse being earmarked for a September 2020 unveiling as a 2021MY vehicle.
Fast forward to this week, our colleagues at Motor Trend learned from Nissan executives the Ford Ranger rival will indeed debut in its new form at some point next year. He didn’t go into any details about when exactly the premiere will take place and whether it will be launched at an auto show or a standalone event, but at least we now know for sure that it’s due in 2020.
Gallery: 2016 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: Review
Despite being around since the 2005MY, the aging Frontier is more successful in terms of sales than the Honda Ridgeline and GMC Canyon in the United States. The new one promises to be a “home run” as per a statement made by Ivan Espinosa, corporate vice president of global and Japan product planning. Motor Trend has learned the truck will retain the “same basic platform,” but updated in terms of chassis and electrical architecture in order to match what its significantly newer rivals are offering in terms of safety and connectivity technologies.
Espinosa went on to mention there will be an upgraded powertrain, with Motor Trend reporting a new V6 is in the works, along with a newly developed seven-speed automatic transmission and a revised six-speed manual. While an electrified version is not going to be available at launch, Espinosa explained they will consider a hybrid variant in the future depending on whether there will be enough customer demand for it.
Little else is known about the 2021 Frontier, but the design will evoke the “spirituality of adventure,” according to Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s global vice president of design. He also described the truck’s appearance as being “strong” as a result of a revolutionary design approach compared to the current model.
The aforementioned Automotive News report quoted a person familiar with the matter saying it “still looks like something a truck guy would want.” The same article mentioned Nissan will indeed refresh the F-Alpha platform rather than switch to new underpinnings.
If the next Frontier is heading to a big auto show in the U.S., we could see it as early as February 2020 in Chicago or in June at NAIAS in Detroit.