Nissan Frontier Powered By Cummins: Video

4 Frontier_Diesel_Runner_13 II

Nissan chose the 2014 Chicago Auto Show to ask showgoers what they thought of the idea of a small diesel engine in a midsize pickup. Clearly, GM thinks it's a good idea, as both their Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon will offer a small turbodiesel in 2016, but seeing Nissan take the risk caught some off guard. But this shouldn't be too surprising because we've seen this engine in a Nissan before and we're likely to see it in someone's pickup at some point down the road. Here's our video with as much as we know right now. 





It would have been nice to watch the video, instead I got a beautiful high res photo.

What ever happened to the 1/2t V-6 shootout/test?

@Big Al, I think it takes a while for the video embedding to pop up. It's probably this video

Here's the link:

It seems like a no-brainer for Nissan. This is definitely a way to boost sales even if it's a stale design (not bad necessarily, just old).

Where is the video?

My bad, please disregard. thanks for the user that posted it!

This is the video with Mr. Diez talking about the truck.

the Frontier is a great place for Nissan to start with this idea! The powertrain in the Frontier is solid, but dated--this offers buyers a new combo.

Mark William's comment about GM confused me, though. GM's enthusiasm for diesel is so mild that they're postponing their diesel for AT LEAST a year. Seems like GM is dipping a toe or two into the water to see if customers like the mid-size platform, then they'll take a swing at the oil-burner. Hardly a sign of enthusiasm in my opinion!

GM has taken a very long while bringing the Canyon/Colorado replacement to market, especially when we consider how those trucks performed in the market since 2008.

Another sign of reluctance.

They risk missing the boat altogether, particularly if Ram's diesel half ton soaks up the existing buyers for a diesel option.

Ehem.... as for the truck and not the video, I think that this will be a huge succes as well for any other company to put a turbo diesel in a pickup that's not a 3/4 or 1 ton. Still waiting on gm to update its duramax though. Also, hoping that there is a face lift like in 2003.

Sorry guys. Got some bad coding. Will get it fixed pretty quick.

Nissan needs to release this truck to take a bite out of GM's pie.

@Lou_BC and Papa Jim
It wouldn't be hard for Nissan to release this vehicle rather quickly.

It already has the knowledge, hardware and even drivetrain in the Navara.

To bad about the chicken tax, Spain could have put some together. But..........that's another story.

I really like this little Cummins.

Looks like Nissan will be going to ZF 8 speeds as well. I wonder if the 7 speed they have isn't FE enough for the numbers they want.

Trucks ugly. Combo is spot on. 30+mpg in a small truck that could actually tow 4-5000lbs would be a huge hit. But gotta get rid of the hideous paint scheme.

It's a great engine for Nissan or Toyota as a "big dog" engine but too close to the power/fuel milage of the big threes Diesel engines for them to use in anything vs a smaller more efficient diesel, I would love to have the big c on an American truck again but I think anything going diesel will be good for all of us.

Like this video. A Nissan Navara 2.5 litre diesel towing a Airstream Travel Trailer in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The rural roads are as narrow in England and Wales.

@Robert Ryan: truck looks like it's bouncing around, are the roads that bad, or because of the short wheelbase?

Nissan should release this engine as an option soon and get the jump on GM. I agree with papa jim about GM's reluctance. Nissan is so far behind in truck sales that they have more to gain by releasing this as a option than to lose. This would be a game changer in the midsize truck market and could possibly force Toyota to offer a diesel in the Tacoma.

It really gets me how everyone keeps saying the Frontier is outdated. Don't forget that the Ranger over it's 29 year run only received several updates. Wikipedia said it had three "generations", but as we all know almost all the updates done to it were cosmetic. Even then, the updates occurred about every 9 years. Even despite the age of the design, people who needed them still bought them.

My point to make here is that who has the newest design isn't always the most important factor, especially in niche markets such as the mid-sized market. What will matter is game changers such as offering a Cummins in the Frontier. GM's problem is that they are only willing to go half way with their new Colorado/Canyon. It's almost as if they are afraid of something. If they were unsure of the midsized market they should have never invested a dime in it. It's really as simple as that.

From PUTC December best selling list, the Frontier still sold 62k units. When you consider how old the design is, that is an accomplishment.

Whoever build a midsize diesel first will get my money! oh one thing Mark W. just said, and that was the pyrometer gauge (one of the three on top of the dash) is there to tell the temp. of the exhaust system, that is not true! it is to tell the temp of the turbo system!! not the exhaust system!

As it stands right now,the wife and I are waiting on the colorado diesel.We are both hoping that nissan can get the diesel frontier to market,as well as other oems with midsize pickups.I really would like another Cummins,and with an 8 spd......sweeeet.

Since Nissan/Infiniti is teamed up with Mercedes.
285hp 3.0 V6 direct injection (using the old very oversquare 93x73.3mm bore:stroke) coupled to the Mercedes 9 speed automatic.

Way better than a ~200hp diesel with the 1st generation ZF 8hp.

Wait, not over-square enough!
95.5mm x 73.3 mm for 3.15 liters
300hp & 250ft-lbs

wow George, you have the horsepower and torque numbers bassackwards. If you only want 250 torque, that's not much.

No better then a 240 hp 420 trq diesel.

If Mercedes has anything to do with it, it would be quite OVERPRICED, as the people buying Frontiers want affordable stuff.

Its kinda like ripping the top off an suv, the beds are what mostly 5.5 feet, and narrow? Good for 4 wheeling, yes, but nothing fits in the back.

There is a 6.5 bed, but when I shopped Nissan years ago, you had to get the auto trans.

@TRX 4 Tom Ram coils replace Crown Vic - The roads are rough in Robert's video.
Do you hate everything that doesn't have a goat badge on it?
I suspect it's just another insecure dig at little trucks. Where does that come from?
Small Ram syndrome?

@Robert Ryan - thanks for the video. Rugged and beautiful country. I've been on smoother logging roads than that one ;)

@sandman4x4 What do you think makes the turbo run? The exhaust! A pyro gauge tells you exhaust temps...or EGT as it's commonly called.

Wake me when EPA numbers are released and this is available in a <$30k trim level.
I wouldn't buy a diesel just to buy a diesel. It's going to have to make financial sense

@MaXx - I find it odd that the subject of return on investment only pops up when someone wants to buy a diesel.
Any of the 6.2 engines depending on the package are much more expensive than base but no one seems to care. They say I want performance and that is all that matters.
With a diesel you get good middle of the road performance coupled with better mpg, superior longevity and better resale.

The university of Michigan did a study and every diesel they studied had a ROI superior to an equivalent gasser.

No, the numbers are not reversed. If the engine makes 250ft-lbs@5000rpm, 300hp@7000, and revs to 7500rpm redline, and has 7600 soft limiter, 7700 hard limiter. You make better than 240hp from 5100rpm to 7600rpm

Mercedes 9g-tronic 9 speed automatic has 30% more ratio spread than the 1st generation ZF 8hp transmission.
Why wouldn't they want the best automatic transmission in the business?
Have you seen the ratios? You'd operate 2-9, and 1-8 in tow/haul.
5.5, 3.33, 2.31, 1.66, 1.21, 1, 0.86, 0.72, 0.60 Reverse 4.93

Putting a Cummins diesel in a Nissan truck will bring in customers who would otherwise not buy a Nissan truck. I know of many who bought Dodge Rams that bought them mainly because of the Cummins diesel. Nissan would pickup many sales regardless of an outdated truck just because of the Cummins. Nissan just needs to beat everyone to the market with this.

Both the Taco and Frontier are outdated by a generation.

Nissan need to come out with a new midsizer soon as the current one is relatively agricultural in comparison to what is available.

Hopefully the Chev and GMC midsizers will force Nissan and Toyota to respond.

I would think when towing the larger the hitch weight the more suspension travel would be.

A half ton SUV style suspension probably would travel a larger distance than a suspension designed to carry at least 50-75% more weight.

Wheel base does come into the equation, but with the ratio of the lengths of a midsizer and a full size not as great as the ratio of comparing to a sedan, I think the effect is a little smaller than you are trying to make out.

@TRX Tom,
Rough and Narrow roads. You can see only one vehicle can pass at a time in places.So bit a problem if a tractor or a much larger vehicle coming the other way.

This is time when you take 5 min and send a email to Nissan and tell them to bring this diesel option! If you like it and want one in the near future tell Nissan, don't just post messages here that mean little to nothing.

@ LouBC,

I'd see more benefit of better resale value if I was a cash buyer and if the trucks weren't driven until they were no longer driveable.

Since neither is the case, all I can see are higher operating expenses, higher fuel costs and now a new additional cost, in that it will obviously require DEF, higher payments to the bank and higher insurance due to the higher value and replacement

In order for it to maybe make sense is if the fuel economy is drastically improved but all that depends on the price of the truck. If the price is about the same, it won't require that much better mileage. But if the mileage is also the same and it boiled down to a slower, noisier, smellier truck (I don't care what anyone says, I've seen european small turbo diesels, they do smell and they do make more noise) then I don't see the benefit. For my personal truck, I'd rather pay a little more for that supercharged Frontier that had about 10 years back. That thing hauled @$$


You were doing great right up to the last sentence or two. The last gen Frontier was nowhere near the truck this current generation is even if it is 10 years old.

The old truck was fine for guys who are under 6 feet tall and under 150 pounds but they were narrow and confining. Built to last though! My friends tell me that theirs lasted 200k miles before they even began to fade.

Guys, you can give Nissan direct input on what you think of this diesel option at its a survey with about 20 questions and you are entered for a $100 gift card give away for your time as a bonus.
Nissan really wants to hear feedback on this truck to decide whether to make it happen or not.
You wanted a I4 turbo diesel in a midsize... now is your chance.

I want it !!! I want it !!! I want it !!! I want it !!! I want it !!!

Frontier, Cummins, 4x4, locking read, manual gear box. I would scratch a down-payment check today.

Too bad VW never introduced the Amarok in the US or at least Canada. The Amarok is better then the Ranger, Frontier, Colorado, HiLux, Triton, Taco and uses the 2.0 diesel that's already certified in the US.


There is a simple reason that VW didn't: the market for midsize trucks in the US has not proven itself apart from sales of fleet-trimmed trucks, aka a plain jane Ranger. VW cannot compete on price.

Ram, Toyota, Ford (the Sport-trac, not the Ranger) and Nissan all offered consumers a really solid lineup of midsize choices ten years ago, but the buyers were decidedly down market. GM only had one breakout year with their Canyon/Colorado trucks. After that it was weak.

Everyone agrees that a VW midsize would sell for a price at least equal to full size crew cabs if not more.

@papa jim
There are two reasons why VW didn't market the VW Amarok in the US.

1. The chicken tax.

2. Sales of over 100 000 Amaroks a year to support a NAFTA manufacturing plant wasn't achievable according the VW.

This came from VW.

I think the 'traditional' view of pickups from decades ago is becoming removed. This is evident by the cost of the average pickup which has been rising significantly over the past 20 years.

Pickups as a family 'truckster/SUV' is now more prevalent.

It's the same in Australia, Canada, Euro nations. People use these style of vehicles with SUVs/CUVs almost as status symbols. They have become a sign of middle class success, not just the American dream. As they are a dream to many.

Gone are the days of just buying a pickup because it's cheap. Even a 'stripper' pickup is several thousands of dollars more expensive than a small car like a Focus. They are even more expensive to own and operate.

The VW Amarok isn't that much more expensive than a Hilux, so I would expect the same when compared to a Taco in the US.

Many of you guys continually compare a midsizer against the full size for sales and yet you don't make comparisons of a Toyota Corolla against a Mustang or Comaro, let alone an Impala.

Most trucks have become cars, to the point many drive around empty let alone tow.

If Nissan is in the market with a diesel when the baby sierra arrives in 2015 with the 2.8L I will give them preference over the GMC if they are not the GMC Canyon WILL be my next mid-size truck, period. I have waited for decades for a mid-size diesel burner and I am not waiting any longer.
For me its huge, besides the added fuel economy with good towing it will give me the ability to use fuel from my over the road trucks while using it as a tax right off reducing my fuel cost over $1 a gal and using a quick sifon from the garage I will never stop at a fuel station in my private vehicle ever again!

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