The current J200 Land Cruiser is the benchmark for old vehicles, having hit the market in 2007 — but the American-market Nissan Frontier can refer to that Landy as a young whippersnapper. Nissan skipped bringing the most recent generation for the U.S. and left us with the old one, which means the current Frontier we can buy has been the same beneath the skin since 2004. (For perspective, the Frontier launched when the Boston Red Sox were still cursed...and your humble correspondent sported an impressive selection of hemp jewelry.)
Nissan upgraded the Frontier’s powertrain to a 3.8-liter V6 for 2020 as a precursor to an all-new truck launching in the 2021 calendar year. That timeline means Nissan should be unveiling the new Frontier soon...though leaked photos posted to the website Formacar appear to have beaten Nissan to it.
We in the automotive media deal with a fair number of claimed "leaked photos," and these appear to pass the smell test. The Frontier stamping is an obvious giveaway, and the design language is neatly reminiscent of the larger Titan pickup Nissan just refreshed. The LED lights and gray paint feel very on-trend for 2021 (it feels like 99.7 percent of our test vehicles this year have been some variation of that color).
The photo on the right is likely the new PRO-4X trim. We’ll presume Nissan has refreshed the tight and dated interior found in the current truck.
It will be interesting to see how Nissan positions the Frontier moving forward. The truck has sold quite well, despite being ancient. But perhaps its main appeal — being a reliable, capable new truck you could buy for super-cheap — goes away with the new engine and body. And while there is a hot market for midsize trucks, it’s also one where Jeep, Chevy, Toyota, and Ford offer strong competitors.