What Is It?
Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins is a conventional 2014 Nissan Frontier Desert Runner pickup fitted with a diesel engine and modified bodywork and interior.
What's New About This Model?
No midsize pickup currently sold in the U.S. offers a diesel engine. The Frontier Diesel Runner is billed by Nissan as a "project" vehicle to gauge public reaction to diesel power for a midsize pickup and to suggest a possible future direction for the Frontier.
When Does It Go on Sale?
This project truck, at least as seen at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, is not meant for showrooms.
But given that Nissan not long ago announced a collaboration for a diesel-powered Titan full-size pickup with the Frontier Diesel Runner's engine maker, Cummins — and all automakers are under the gun to seriously ratchet up pickup fuel economy — it's probable this project truck foretells of a very similar Frontier coming to Nissan dealers in a couple of years. Or less.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
• 2.8-liter, inline four-cylinder turbocharged diesel, projected to produce "nearly" 200 horsepower and more than 350 pound-feet of torque
• Eight-speed automatic transmission
• Claimed 35 percent better fuel economy than today's V6-powered, rear-drive Frontier, but similar towing and payload capacity
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
In addition to the Cummins-made diesel four-cylinder, the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins has custom paint, carbon-film-accented exterior body pieces and a hood with a transparent acrylic panel to highlight the engine.
Inside, there are red and carbon-trimmed accents that mirror the exterior colors and appearance, as well as special carbon-print leather for the seats, a carbon-film-wrapped instrument panel and a special gauge cluster to show engine-specific information.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
If Nissan decides to make a production version of the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins, it won't be alone in offering a diesel-engine midsize pickup.