The freshly-unveiled Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner embodies some great ideas that really gets me fired up about the future of trucks: it's small, it's focused on efficiency, and it's being designed with off-road usage in mind.
Regarding whether or not Nissan will actually build it, VP Fred Diaz only offered "We want to see what the public says."
If it does come to life, a Frontier Diesel launch would likely coincide with a new bodystyle as the current Frontier is good n' ripe.
So to all of you who keep bitching and moaning that the world needs more little trucks (yes, I am among you) now's the chance to post a barrage of comments about what you think of this cute little hauler.
This "technical study" Frontier Diesel Runner is running a Cummins 2.8 4-cylinder diesel Nissan says will meet or exceed "future emissions standards." Obviously, they mean short-term future.
They're also claiming "nearly 200 HP and over 350 lb ft of torque" and a 35% fuel economy increase over a V6 2WD Frontier.
This Diesel Runner is also 2WD, driven through a ZF 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission. Rear axle is a 3.13.
What kind of surprised me was Nissan's choice to kit it out like a 2000's-era tuner car. Pretty sure I used to lust over graphics like that as a middle schooler with a stack of Sport Compact Car magazines, and I'm sure that gauge pod on the dash won't be around in a production version.
The hood, lower front spoiler, and entire bed cover are carbon fiber. Wheels are borrowed from the Nissan Frontier PRO-4X.
Diaz promised they're going to "beat the crap out of the test mule" in the near future, so I have a feeling that carbon will get swapped for something a little cheaper and more robust before this thing gets let out into the wild.
As for the 5.0 Cummins Titan, Nissan says we'll be waiting another year.