Expect MPG Boost When Re-engined Nissan Frontier Lands
That headline comes with an asterisk, as the fuel economy gains expected from the 2020 Nissan Frontier are only applicable if you planned on buying a V6 model. The four-cylinder Frontier is dead for ’20, as is the manual transmission.
While the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t yet bestowed MPG figures on the “new” truck (same body, new powertrain), Nissan has come clean with estimates.
Speaking to Motor1, the automaker claims the rear-drive 2020 Frontier, which carries a standard direct-injection 3.8-liter V6 and nine-speed automatic (previous V6 Frontiers boasted 4.0 liters of displacement and either a five-speed auto or six-speed stick), should garner a rating of 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined in 4×2 guise.
Four-wheel drive models should net a rating of 17/23/19.
The estimates top the old 4×2 4.0L by 2 mpg, regardless of transmission, while the 4×4 sees a gain of either 1 or 2 mpg. It’s worth noting, however, that the base ’19 Frontier with four-banger and manual tranny returned 21 mpg in combined driving. The ’20 does top it on the highway, though.
With the six-speed manual gone for the current model year, Nissan fans can forget about a resurrection of the bargain-basement row-your-own model. According to Melaina Vasko, Nissan’s vehicle performance development manager for trucks and full-size SUVs, the nine-speed will remain the only transmission option.
Apparently, the model’s stick shift take rate was only 5 percent.
While the Frontier’s fuel economy specs change for 2020, they’re likely to change again when the redesigned 2021 model emerges. Boasting a new body, less weight, and extra aero, the ’21 should see further improvements in the MPG situation.