As we get closer to a new Nissan Frontier and Ford Ranger for the mid-size pickup truck segment, we're not surprised to be seeing more submissions from our spy shooters. However, we don't usually receive shots of crashed pickups — but that's what we have here.
Nissan is updating the aging Frontier with a U.S. version of its global Navara. Although the current Frontier is selling relatively well — certainly better than the automaker's full-size Titan or Titan XD — it is long in the tooth.
Here's the latest missive from our spy shooters:
"The destroyed truck pictured here — badged as the NP300 Frontier — has quite clearly been crash-tested recently. The note scrawled on its gas door says the truck's fuel tank was drained on Feb. 8, 2017, as a precautionary step prior to its controlled impact.
"Given that the Navara has been on sale outside of the U.S. since June 2014, the fact that one has been recently crash-tested in America seems indicative that it's coming here fairly soon. It seems logical to assume this truck has been crash-tested on U.S. soil for U.S. officials and for U.S.-market validation.
"The sticker on the side declares that the truck was used for a moderate overlap test at 40 mph, one of two frontal crash tests used by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its crash-testing program.
"Nissan's global Navara pickup variants have been on hand for evaluation at the automaker's Michigan facilities for the last two years. We've seen everything from the Nissan Navara to the look-alike Mexican-market NP300 Frontier, and even the French variant — the Renault Alaskan — stationed in Farmington Hills.
"Our sources at AutoPacific have suggested that Nissan's occasional denials about the Navara's influence on the next Frontier likely stem from the public relations team's desire to keep the focus on the full-size Titan and its slow rollout of its various configurations and body styles. AutoPacific remains convinced that the global Navara/NP300 Frontier will serve as the basis for the new U.S. model in 2019.
"Perhaps this sign of U.S. crash-testing of the global mid-size truck shows that Nissan is finally shifting its focusing to its mid-size Frontier to provide a fresh contender."
KGP Photography images