Chicago Auto Show 2020

Nissan hints at the future of Frontier with refreshed 2020 model

In the final year of the current generation, Nissan has given the Frontier a few, impactful upgrades.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In their own words, Nissan is laying "the groundwork for the next-generation Frontier" by enhancing the midsize truck for the 2020 model year. It is expected that we will see the next-gen Frontier later this year.

While there is't much new on the Frontier, it's what's under the hood of the model that's the most exciting news. Nissan is giving the truck a best-in-class 310-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine. Yes, 310 horsepower. That's a 49-horsepower jump from the available 4.0-liter V6 in the 2019 model and more than double the amount of horsepower in the 2019's base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

2020 Nissan FrontierNissan has abandoned the powertrains that were available with the 2019 model and made the new one the standalone option for the 2020 model year.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The new 3.8-liter is paired with the same nine-speed automatic transmission that is in the 2020 Nissan Titan. The powertrain replaces the four-cylinder ad V6 power plants and becomes the standard Frontier engine for the 2020 model year.

Nissan developed the powertrain specifically for U.S. customers and it was made with acceleration and emissions performance in mind. It features 93 percent new or redesigned parts and was tested extensively in North America. Fuel efficiency numbers are forthcoming.

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The engine will be assembled at Nissan's engine facility in Decherd, Tennessee, just down the road from the company's Smyrna assembly plant.

Nissan has also given the 2020 Frontier standard push-button start, a leather shift knob, manual tilt steering, power door locks, and power windows with driver side auto-down. There are new tires and wheel options as well.

What does this have to do with the redesigned 2021 Nissan Frontier? We're very close to seeing the next-gen model and this engine will be its beating heart.

The 2020 Nissan Frontier goes on sale in the spring.

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The new Z starts at under $40,000.

Nissan

The new Nissan Z is finally here, and the 400-horsepower sports car is hitting the market with a reasonable price. The car starts at just $39,990 before a $1,025 destination charge. That's significantly cheaper than the least expensive Toyota Supra for a car with impressive specs and great style.

2023 Nissan ZThe Z gets a 400-horsepower V6 from Infiniti.Nissan

The 2023 Z comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 400 horsepower. It's paired with either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. That's the enthusiast's dream setup, and it's one of few cars available in the U.S. with a manual gearbox. The body is stiffer and features more reinforcements from prior cars, and the steering system now features electric assistance instead of hydraulics. 18-inch wheels are standard and 19-inchers are available.

When it announced the car, Nissan made a point to talk about its retro-inspired styling and classic proportions. The coupe features a sweeping roofline, a distinct front fascia, and is unmistakeably a Z car, through and through. Inside, the car features a three anlog gauges for a classic look, 12.3-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 9-inch touchscreen display. The cabin looks upscale and tech-forward, with deep bucket seats.

2023 Nissan ZThe 2023 Z lands this summer. Nissan

Nissan says the new Z will go on sale in summer 2022. Pricing starts at $39,990 for the base Sport trim, $49,990 for the mid-range Performance trim, and $52,990 for the limited-edition range-topping Proto Spec trim.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

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Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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