Chicago’s Brian Murphy arrived at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show in a million-mile Nissan Frontier from 2007 and drove away with keys to a 2020 model thanks to the Japanese automaker. Murphy, a part-time delivery driver working 13-hour days, bought his Frontier new intending to rack up a million miles, and he reached that rare feat thirteen years later. While the 2020 Frontier doesn’t look too different from Murphy’s 2007 truck, there are new bits underneath the familiar sheet metal.
For one, the Frontier loses its five-speed manual gearbox, which is how Murphy changed gears in his old truck. Instead, a nine-speed automatic is the only gearbox choice for 2020. The 2020 Frontier also comes with an updated 3.8-liter V6 engine – 93-percent new parts – that produces 301 horsepower (231 kilowatts) and 281 pound-feet (381 Newton-meters) of torque. That’s 49 more horses (37 kW), but torque remains the same. That’s an improvement over Murphy’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder in his 2007 Frontier.
Other than the powertrain, the 2020 Frontier soldiers on pretty much unchanged, which should give Murphy a sense of familiarity when he takes delivery of his new truck. The exterior is identical between the two, unchanged since the truck’s second-generation introduction in 2004, and the interior has only received the mildest of updates over the year. Surprisingly, though, sales have stayed consistent since the turn of the century – however, the Great Recession did hurt sales for a few years.
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When Nissan celebrated Murphy’s million-mile Frontier, Murphy said, “My truck deserves to rest.” With Murphy’s fresh, new 2020 Frontier ready to begin its journey on the streets of Chicago, his 2007 Frontier can enjoy retirement. The truck deserves it – and so does Murphy, but he says he’s “got to keep busy.”