Following an earlier teaser, Nissan has introduced the latest generation of the NP300 Navara pickup truck, which is the international version of the Nissan Frontier sold here in the United States. Although previous Nissan Frontier and Navara pickups have been essentially identical, the next U.S.-spec Nissan Frontier will differentiate itself more than ever to better compete with fresh competition from the midsize GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado.
This newest Nissan pickup boasts improvements we can hope to see underpin the forthcoming Nissan Frontier, although the two models can be expected to sport visual and powertrain differences. The new Navara is lighter than the old model, and has a lower roof height, higher ground clearance, and a larger loading bay. Styling upgrades include a typical Nissan V-shaped front grille and fascia, a higher beltline with a blacked-out B-pillar, and exaggerated fenders. Modern, boomerang-shaped LED lights and bright bronze or yellow paint schemes echo the current bold styling cues we’ve seen on the Nissan Maxima concept and the new 2015 Nissan Murano.
Narrow and wide-body Nissan pickups will be available, as well as king and double-cab body variants riding on either two- or all-wheel-drive platforms. Powertrain choices include a 2.5-liter gasoline inline-four, as well as a 2.5-liter turbodiesel inline-four, paired with either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The diesel produces 188 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is said to increase more than 11 percent compared to the outgoing Nissan pickup.
When the U.S.-spec Nissan Frontier arrives sometime next year, it will likely carry its own range of diesel and gas engines. Most prominent of these offerings will be a 2.8-liter Cummins turbodiesel four-cylinder, positioned atop the existing 2.5-liter gas-powered four-cylinder and 4.0-liter gas V-6. We saw a preview of the diesel-powered Nissan Frontier at the 2014 Chicago auto show, with the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner project. Before the new Frontier, though, we expect to see a new full-size truck, the 2015 Titan, at next January's Detroit auto show.
We can see that the new Nissan Navara’s interior also gets a handsome redesign. New to the pickup are smoother lines, upgraded materials, and modern technology previously associated with premium crossovers, such as a high-resolution color display with turn-by-turn navigation. To meet the substantially higher demands of American buyers, who look for a midsize pickup to straddle the line between the capacities of a full-size pickup and the day-to-day comforts of a crossover, look for the Nissan Frontier to get the full range of technological features seen the Nissan Murano crossover, possibly including safety features like blind-spot warnings.
Aside from powertrain options, it’s safe to bet that the Nissan Frontier coming to the U.S. will need to be more modern and dramatic than the Nissan Navara shown here. Similar to how the Chevrolet Colorado sold in the U.S. is substantially sharper, tougher-looking, and less car-like than its global sibling, the Nissan Frontier will need to follow the same formula if it wants to compete in the midsize truck marketplace. The Nissan Frontier is expected to adopt Nissan’s modern design language, but could take a more aggressive approach with wider and taller dimensions than its international version.