By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

It’s a new territory for the Frontier, i.e. the 2020 Nissan Frontier. And a welcome one too, we should point out. The midsize pickup has been overhauled with a fresh powertrain and transmission. And come 2021, the truck will acquire a much-needed redesign inside out. For now, the previous 4- and 6-cylinder engines have been replaced with an all-new 3.8-liter V-6 direct-injection engine that puts out 310 horsepower @ 6400 rpm and 281 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. Gone is the former 5-speed transmission to be replaced with an impressive 9-speed auto gearbox. Tow capacity is a respectable 6,720 pounds.

An all-steel double wishbone front and solid axle in the rear make up the suspension system, resulting in a secure ride. The power rack-and-pinion steering system shifts seamlessly. That brings us to some of the abundant standard safety features in the pickup: dual front and side airbags, side airbag curtain, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and vehicle dynamic control, hill start assist and control, rearview monitor, front/rear crumple zones, front seat active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. Our PRO 4-X version was equipped with a shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive with 2WD/4H/4LO modes, electronic rear differential locker 4-wheel limited slip, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, and steel skid plates to tackle the vigor of off-road driving.

The sporty look of the fully boxed ladder frame Frontier can be attributed to an angled but body-colored, satin-chrome grille flanked by halogen headlights, fogs and daytime running lights. Other distinct exterior characteristics include large bumpers, short front and rear overhangs, tailgate spoiler and a roof rack with crossbars. It sits on standard 16-inch all-terrain alloy wheels with a 59.5-inch-long bed. Stepping into the roomy and pleasing cabin is trouble-free, thanks to full-size, forward-hinging doors. Push-button start is now standard. Dual auto a/c, leather shifter, manual tilt steering wheel, power door locks, cruise control, heated eight-way power driver and four-way passenger seats, overhead sunglass holder, dual glove box, CD player, moon roof, 5.8-inch color touch display, and satin chrome ring accents around the white-faced analog gauges come at no extra cost. The 60/40 rear seat flips up to reveal a hidden stowage bin.

A revised powertrain and transmission, as well as improved fuel mileage numbers, prove that the Frontier is making inroads into the midsize truck segment. Plus, the pickup packs tons of power while boasting ample creature comforts and praiseworthy towing figures. Go for the PRO-4X if you look to take the highly adept Nissan ride off the beaten path.


Wheelbase: 125.9 inches

Length: 205.5 inches

Width: 72.8 inches

Height: 73.9 inches

Weight: 4,696 pounds

Fuel capacity: 21.1 gallons

City: 17 mpg

Highway: 23 mpg

Base price: $37,490

Website: www.nissan.com