The 2020 Nissan Frontier Is Basically the Same But With 2 Big Exceptions

No one is going to deny that when it comes to midsize pickups, the Nissan Frontier is a familiar name and a hard-working truck. But the fact remains that the Frontier really hasn’t changed since it launched in 2004. There’s still a lot to love about the Frontier including the price tag and its durability.

There were, however, two big changes for the 2020 models. What were the changes?

The Nissan Frontier is still here

While the Frontier is an older truck, its value is appealing to many. The 2020 models are expected to start around $26,000 for the base truck. 

For contractors, tradesmen, and others, it’s a good deal and offers many advantages they’ve come to count on. The cargo box is customizable and the interior is hardwearing. It may not have the latest driver-assist technology and high-tech infotainment features, but its tow ratings are pretty impressive with a towing capacity of 6,720 lbs. It can carry up to 1,400 pounds in its bed. The off-road models aren’t likely to break your budget.

All 2020 Nissan Frontier models, according to Car and Driver, are available with your choice of a four-door crew cab or an extended King Cab with a 5-foot cargo bed. You can also get a 6-foot-1-inch bed with the Crew Cab models. You can still get the base S model, the midrange SV models, and the Pro-4X models in 2020.

While the 2020 Frontier isn’t all-new, it’s also not being discontinued. The 2020 models are the last version of the current truck. According to Kelley Blue Book, the Nissan Frontier will be all-new in 2021.

What’s new in 2020?

The 2020 Nissan Frontier does get new changes. There are only two changes but they are big ones: the engine and transmission. The new powertrain is actually that of the upcoming Frontiers for 2021.

All models get the new 3.8-liter V6 engine that gets 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This takes the place of the four-cylinder and 4.0-liter V6 engines offered with previous models. There’s no longer a manual transmission option offered.

You can get the new Frontier with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. There are 8.9 inches of ground clearance for the standard rear-wheel-drive models. For the four-wheel-drive models, there are 10.1 inches. The Pro-4X models are perfect for off-roading and offer some great features for that purpose like all-terrain tires, electronic rear differential, high-pressure shocks, skid plates, and more.

The new powertrain isn’t expected to change the truck’s ride very much. That’s a good thing because the Frontier offers a comfy ride despite some extra body motion. The steering is slower and the suspension is softer, which makes it perfect on the trail.

What else?


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The new Nissan Frontier gets improved standard features across all its models. On the inside, there’s a leather-wrapped shifter knob, power locks and windows, and push-button start. There’s also a tilting steering column, cloth seats, rear jump seats, along with front, side, and side-curtain airbags. 

You also get air conditioning, keyless entry, and cruise control. For tech, there’s Bluetooth, two 12-volt DC power outlets, one USB/iPod port with Siri Eyes Free, a 7-inch color touchscreen for a very basic infotainment system, and a backup camera.

On the outside, you get 16-inch steel wheels, a black front bumper, and a chrome bumper in the back. There is the Value Package for the SV models that adds fog lights, heated seats, cargo tie-downs for the bed that are movable, a tow hitch, and a spray-in bed liner. You can also get a Special Edition for Crew Cab SV models that gives you 18-inch alloy wheels, a special chrome grille, a trip computer, and a bumper to match the body. 

The Midnight Edition appearance package offers Midnight Edition badging along with glossy-black paint on the grille, mirrors, and wheels. The option is only available with the crew cab SV short-bed models.

The nice ride and new powertrain keep the new Frontiers from being the same truck, new year.  It’s worth taking a closer look at the new Frontiers for the improved powertrain alone.