“Oh gosh,” photographer Jade Nelson texted me, “that looks five years old.”
“More like 16,” I replied.
Technically, we were both wrong. The brand-new truck Jade couldn’t find in an almost empty parking lot was, in fact, introduced 16 years ago, but it got a facelift in 2008, making it 12 years old. Except not really, because the 2020 Nissan Frontier gets an all-new engine and transmission in preparation for the truck’s long-awaited total replacement next year.
Think of it as a trial run. After more than a decade on the market without a significant change, and with the small truck market on fire with several new competitors in the field, Nissan needs to get the all-new truck right on Day 1. The engine and transmission are major components of any vehicle, so because they’re ready now, Nissan is trying them out on the current Frontier before installing them on the new truck. Any bugs that need working out will be sorted during the soft open here before the grand opening next year.