Holy crap, not only are we getting a new-new Nissan Frontier pickup truck for the first time since the Curse of the Bambino was broken, it actually looks like it might be kind of cool. It also looks a bit like the mid-sized truck Nissan already sells outside the U.S. as the Navara.
Nissan dropped a grand transformation plan to “prioritize sustainable growth and profitability” today, along with a teaser video featuring a fresh lineup of vehicles. (Whoa!) Most prominently featured, and obviously the most exciting is a new Z sports car. But there’s also a pickup truck flashing by a few times in there:
Wait, two trucks!
I believed the first of those two silhouettes teases a revised Titan half-ton truck, while the second is the next Frontier. The fact that they appear the same size in the video is, I think, just a trick of photography to make the size of these vehicles harder to discern.
However, as some readers later pointed out, it looks more like what we’re seeing is the non-U.S. Navara and the Frontier. “F for Frontier, N for Navara,” a commenter pointed out, which, actually makes sense.
Or, maybe Nissan’s going to have two different mid-sized truck designs in America! (No.)
You get a peek at the fronts, too:
We know Nissan has been planning to re-up the U.S. Frontier for some time, and the “new model coming soon” is why the 2020 Frontier is a strange transitional item with the old body/new engine.
However, Nissan already revealed a new Navara truck to the world years ago. The rest of the world’s Navara, until this generation, looked the same as the U.S.’s Frontier. It was simply the Frontier equivalent for other markets.
Since the current Navara came out around 2015, I’ve asked several Nissan reps versions of: “So is this pretty much the new Frontier?” The reply has consistently been “no” but I never put a lot of confidence in that.
(I posed a similar question to Ford’s people about the Ranger, asking of the 2020 U.S. market Ranger would pretty much be the 2015-style sold-overseas Ranger. The company maintains it’s not the same, but fundamentally, it totally is.)
All this to say: I started writing this post excited to proclaim I’d been wrong, and Nissan’s teased Frontier is in fact unique to the U.S. market. But the longer I look at the silhouette, the more I feel like maybe it is just a tweak on the Navara. Or, perhaps the current Navara will be updated at the same time and the two trucks will remain brothers.
Significant revisions on both the Titan and Frontier would be huge for Nissan. Americans love to buy trucks (gotta be able to haul pool toys once a year!) and car companies love to sell trucks (sweet, sweet profit margins) so a couple of sexy new pickup platforms could be the ticket back to Moneytown, USA for the artists formerly known as Datsun.
We largely rejected the Titan XD, Nissan’s impressively bold experiment in creating a nonstandard-sized pickup, but if the company takes another swing and is aggressive on pricing with some truck models in sizes people want, the automaker could be on to something.