What you see here is the Frontier Diesel Runner, a “concept” truck built to gauge consumer interest in diesel-powered, midsized trucks. The truck itself is barely changed from the production line, but features a 2.8-liter, I-4 turbodiesel built by renowned engine builder Cummins. The Cummins/Nissan partnership isn’t new, however, as the pair have plans to power the next-generation Nissan Titan with a 5.0-liter V-8 turbodiesel in 2015.
The Frontier ’s diesel engine is expected to produce around 200 horsepower and more than 350 pound-feet of torque — all while increasing fuel efficiency by 35 percent over the standard 4.0-liter, gasoline V-6 engine. It’s backed by a ZF-sourced 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission. The new engine-transmission combo is expected to tow and haul roughly the same as the conventional gasoline Frontier.
Nissan and Cummins did have to modify the truck slightly to get the powertrain nestled within the engine bay and transmission tunnel. Saving room and further development, this frontier lacks the optional four-wheel-drive and added complexities the system brings to a driveline.
It’s very unlikely the Frontier will be sold with a diesel option in its current generation. Nissan is hard at work developing the second-generation Titan pickup, and will likely turn its attention it the Frontier once development is competed there. We expect a new Frontier won’t be far behind the new 2015 Titan. If Nissan chooses to include a diesel as a powertrain option, it’s likely to happen then.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins.