To give it its full name, this is the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins. If you’re wondering why Nissan is putting a brand new engine into its ageing pickup truck, it’s not. This is merely a concept show vehicle to “gauge the market reaction to a Nissan mid-size pickup with a diesel engine” in the US of A.
You see, over in the States, so-called mid-size crew cab pickups (as opposed to their giant full-size ones) are powered almost exclusively by large-capacity petrol engines. The Frontier – the Nissan Navara’s US name – is no different, and has a 4.0 litre V6 petrol engine with 261 hp and 382 Nm of torque to call its own.
This concept, on the other hand, offers a Cummins 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel motor that makes nearly 200 hp and over 476 Nm of torque, paired to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Nissan claims that it’s 35% more efficient than the existing petrol variant, but with the same range of payload and towing capacity.
The 2.8 litre Cummins engine is available in Malaysia in the unlikeliest of sources – the Bison Savanna pickup truck. It’s not quite tuned to the same highs as the Nissan concept, though, as it delivers just 161 hp and 360 Nm of torque in the Chinese-built truck, while making do with a Getrag five-speed manual gearbox.
Other than the possibility of a future diesel-powered Frontier models making production, Cummins will also supply a significantly larger and more powerful 5.0 litre V8 turbodiesel engine for the next-generation Nissan Titan full-size pickup truck, which will enter the American markets in 2015.