With the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel about to roll into showrooms, and Nissan making the announcement earlier in 2013 that the next Titan would be offered with an optional 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel, and General Motors announcing the option of a 2.8-liter diesel in the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado, diesel is making some major inroads into the light truck segment. But could it go further? When The Detroit News asked Nissan senior vice president for U.S. sales Fred Diaz when the Titan diesel would be coming, he only said “Not Soon Enough,” but also hinted at technologies being considered for other future products.
Most notably, he said that a next-generation Frontier is in development, and that a number of different powertrains are being considered for the midsize truck, including hybrid and diesel powertrains. Nissan has access to a number of diesel engines within the global Renault-Nissan alliance, which are used in different models around the world. At last year’s Nissan 360 event, we had a chance to drive a Nissan Navara (essentially the global-market Frontier) with a 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine, and came away impressed with its torque and responsiveness.
An intriguing possibility for the next-generation Frontier is Cummins’ 2.8-liter ISF four-cylinder, which produces around 200 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. For the time being, the only officially-announced collaboration between Nissan and Cummins is the 5.0-liter ISV going into the next Titan, but if that option proves to be as much of a hit in the Titan as some expect it to be, it’s not far-fetched to imagine a Cummins under the hood of the next Frontier.