Trucks & SUVs

Where the Heck Is the 2021 Nissan Frontier?

The Nissan Frontier is a truck that’s been around for quite a few years. But it hasn’t seen a whole lot of design refreshes in that amount of time. In fact, the last time it saw any real changes was in 2004 for the 2005 season. Despite Nissan neglecting to modernize this pickup, it continues to make a moderate amount of sales

That may change, however, when the newest model finally makes its way to the showroom floors. Kelley Blue Book showcases the midsize pickups slotted for changes in this model year, but they offer an interesting opinion on the Frontier.

What is happening with the 2021 model of the Nissan Frontier?

As of the middle of January, there have been no announcements concerning the 2021 model of this pickup. But it leaves many people wondering when it will finally get released on the market. We know Nissan planned to offer some much-needed upgrades to the Frontier that hadn’t had any major changes since 2004, outside the new powertrain introduced last year. 

We’ve already heard the Nissan Frontier is up for some interior upgrades, which is exciting, especially for a truck that’s been outdated for too long in that department. Having a larger display screen in the new pickup is definitely going to be a game-changer. 

Kelley Blue Book speculates Nissan may just skip this model year altogether and return in 2022. If true, it wouldn’t actually be a bad thing, since Nissan needs to bring the Frontier up to speed with its competitors. The extra time would help them carefully choose the right features to revamp, making it more of a competitor in the midsize pickup segment. 

UPDATE: MotorTrend has since confirmed the existence of a 2021 model and the impending changes for the 2022 model.

What does the 2020 model offer?

The 2020 model doesn’t have much for changes. It’s still basically the same truck we’ve seen year after year since 2004. The only change we saw with the 2020 model is the powertrain. Kelley Blue Book states that the Nissan now has a 3.8-liter V6 engine under the hood. This motor produces 310 hp with 281 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. 

You can expect this engine to get you less-than-stellar fuel economy ratings. With the rear-wheel drivetrain, the Frontier gets 18 mpg on city roads and 24 on the highway. If you choose the all-wheel-drive version, you will get slightly less. This Nissan gets 17 mpg when traveling on city roads and 23 when you get out on the highway. 

The value isn’t bad, though, because the Nissan Frontier is basically a simple work truck. The simplicity keeps the price down. According to the Nissan website, the cheapest base model is the King Cab S 4×2. Nissan currently has it listed at $26,790 MSRP. 

For standard equipment, there’s a nice list of features. You get air conditioning, a backup camera, a 7-inch touchscreen, keyless entry, 16-inch steel wheels, and cloth fabric seats to name a few. The SV model adds a vehicle immobilizer, and oil pressure gauges. Nissan’s Pro 4X model gets a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel, along with a body-colored grille and bumper. 

Is it expected to be a worthy contender for midsize pickups?

RELATED: Consider a Nissan Frontier if You Need a Reliable Truck for Less Than $5,000

The Nissan Frontier seems to do a decent enough job competing against rivals with its affordable price tag and work truck capabilities. But, to overcome its competitors, it would probably boil down to the redesign planned for this new generation of Frontier pickups. 

Even though we haven’t seen it in all its glory, spy pictures show us the possibility of a boxier exterior styling and a redesigned new front end. The more luxuriousness Nissan ultimately adds to the interior could move this truck up the ladder in the segment. 

Rumors are making their rounds, saying that the Frontier could see an added powertrain to the list. It, reportedly, could be a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, which could add more value to this truck. Having motor options to choose from is always exciting. 

If you’re in the market for a Nissan Frontier pickup, you may want to wait and see what the new redesign ultimately brings for the truck, especially if you want to see a more luxurious interior.