Chicago Auto Show: Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner

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diesel runner headerAmong the stunning revelations currently taking place in the Windy City, Nissan has unveiled their diesel powered mid-sized pickup, with a proclivity towards fuel conservation. With the recent advancements in diesel propulsion technology, it should come as no surprise that a Japanese automaker has “thrown their hat into the ring” as it pertains to mid-sized pickup trucks. Between quiet and clean burning ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels and more sophisticated turbochargers, diesel powered automobiles now rival hybrid powered vehicles in fuel economy and diesel is typically more powerful and durable.

diesel runner hoodThe fact that the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner is powered by a Cummins Concept four-cylinder direct injection, turbocharged engine is not a closely guarded secret. This is evident by the huge Cummins logo that adorns the truck’s semi-transparent hood, which partially exposes the engine itself. While the exact numbers haven’t been officially released, Nissan executives estimate horsepower for the 2.8-liter engine at 200hp and an impressive 350 lb.-ft. of torque. Loosely translated, that is enough power to drag a yacht out of the lake on Sunday afternoon. Fuel efficiency upgrades for the diesel powered mid-size are expected to be in the neighborhood of 35-percent; putting the Diesel Runner at approximately 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway. It will be equipped with an eight-speed automatic ZF transmission. To make the transition as quick and painless as possible, Nissan plans to utilize many parts from the gasoline powered Frontier. Among them are wiring harnesses and the radiator.

diesel runner f3The exterior is stylishly done in a special matte silver and arrest me red paint scheme with carbon fiber accents and a black hood. Unique graphics, Cummins turbo-diesel fender badges, multi-colored wheels with all-terrain tires, a hard tonneau cover, and a heavy-duty roof rack complete the package, giving the little truck an aggressive, ready-for-anything appearance.

diesel runner open doorsInside, the red and silver color combination persists with red carpeting, carbon-fiber accents on the dash and instrument panel, gray stitched seating with leather faux carbon-fiber inserts, and red trim around the dash mounted triple gauges and instrument panel. Yes, sitting directly in the center of the top of the dash, positioned right above the center stack is an analog style set of triple gauges; boost pressure in the middle, a pyrometer (used to measure extreme turbo temperature) on the left, and a transmission temperature gauge on the right. The cockpit is all about business in this ultra-efficient mid-sized torque machine, right down to the red shifter boot.

diesel runner gaugesThe suspension and drivetrain will not differ from a standard V6 Frontier Desert Runner 4 X 2. The double wishbone independent front suspension and solid live axle rear suspension will receive thicker anti-sway bars and (lifetime guaranteed) Bilstein shocks, and will be available in rear-wheel drive only.

diesel runner sideThe Nissan Frontier’s reputation of rugged reliability seems to go hand in hand with the Cummins turbo-diesel engine. The overall user friendly strategy of everything from the bed mounted cargo tie down accessories to the comfort and security of the passenger cabin seems to declare that this new Frontier Diesel Runner will be able to take on any task.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.