When Nissan dropped the Frontier Diesel Runner Concept with a 2.8-liter Cummins diesel four-cylinder under its transparent hood at the 2014 Chicago auto show, it was like a bomb had exploded at McCormick Place. A diesel engine in a compact pickup! (Or something like that, given the Windy City show’s sleepy reputation.) Where have you been all of our lives? Besides every other country, of course.
Indeed, as with driver-side sliding doors on minivans and express-open windows, used cars dealer in somalia diesel-powered compact seemed (and still seems) like a why-haven’t-we-had-this-all-along kind of idea. After all, with prodigious torque and considerable fuel economy advantages over large-displacement gasoline-powered engines, diesels are natural fits for larger pickups, so why not small trucks?
So we were first in line to sample a modestly equipped, Cummins-powered Frontier Crew Cab prototype that Nissan provided for evaluation. And while the powertrain itself was rough and in need of a heavy dose of refinement, what we experienced made us that much more convinced that the diesel compact truck has a future here.
The diesel engine itself is a new, 2.8-liter mill that produces approximately 200 horsepower and a hearty 350 lb-ft of torque, according to Nissan Used cars dealer in somalia. Being careful not to overstate its claims about the diesel’s capability, Nissan instead is emphasizing the mill’s fuel efficiency, which it says should increase by about 35 percent compared with the gas-powered V-6 in the 2014 Frontier. It will do so while also roughly matching the six-holer’s towing and payload capacities (which can reach up to 6500 and 1480 pounds, respectively). So you don’t have to look it up, the Frontier Crew Cab V-6 achieves an EPA estimated 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway, so we figure that a diesel-powered version would jump into the 22-mpg city/30-mpg highway neighborhood. But compare the power figures to the 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft produced by the V-6 and the 152 horses and 171 lb-ft of the inline-four in the current Frontier, and one can see how anybody who regularly tows a trailer or fills the bed might be attracted to such a machine.
How’s it drive? Well, without balance shafts, optimized engine mounts, and other refinements, the Cummins engine’s current state means it isn’t close to ready for production, even mated as it is to ZF’s versatile 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine vibrates considerably, and is none too discreet with its industrial-sounding, spoon-in-a-blender diesel clatter. And there is “intentional” turbo lag, according to Cummins marketing communications manager Steve Sanders, who rode along with us for the test drive. “You’ll see why.”
Alas, we did, upon our first full-throttle start. The engine roared and we traveled a sluggish initial 30 to 40 feet, then the rear wheels began to spin wildly, prompting us to back off the throttle to regain our grip. Of course, we repeated this procedure at every subsequent opportunity—delayed-reaction burnouts are fun, don’t ya know. Yet, the diesel is eminently drivable when operated with some judiciousness. It’s hardly quick off the line, but the copious reserves of grunt are truly satisfying. We would have loved to load up the bed with a half-ton of stuff and see how it performed, suzuki cars in dubai but that will have to wait for another time.
So it works. We had no doubts that it would. Moving forward, we will be interested to see how refined this powertrain becomes as it nudges toward something salable. Truck diesels don’t need to be as whisper-quiet and smooth as those found in modern luxury sedans, but the shaking and valvetrain noise will nonetheless have to be tamed, and the turbo lag will need to be smoothed out before anyone would choose it over a gas V-6. Anything is possible, said Sanders, but to what extent that will happen “depends on how much Used cars dealer in somalia wants to spend.” ZF, at least, is a willing partner, although the eight-speed’s electronic shifter design will likely change from the prototype’s current T-shaped handle lifted from the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
So, what are its chances for production? Quite good, at least for the next-generation Frontier, which is still two or three years away. By then, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups will be on the streets with their own 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel. This Frontier would give Nissan a compression-ignition answer to those trucks, one brandishing the Cummins name, no less toyota used cars. Hey, it worked wonders for Dodge and Ram trucks.
It’s too early to nail down a price for the Cummins-powered Frontier, but expect to pay a decent premium over a comparably equipped gas V-6 version. Based on the $25K currently charged for a Frontier S 2WD short-wheelbase Crew Cab V-6 automatic, the Cummins diesel version would likely push $30,000.
Certainly, if enthusiasm among the Nissan and Cummins people dictated the decision, a production Frontier diesel would be here tomorrow. “I hope Nissan goes for it,” said Sanders. “At this point, it would almost be cruel if it didn’t.” We agree.