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 Frontier Nissan 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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Ford EV manufacturing

Ford plans new plants in Tennessee and Kentucky

Ford's new TN facility may be one of the largest in U.S. history.

Ford

Earlier this year, Ford outlined its plans for significant investments in electric vehicle development and construction. Today, the automaker announced a big step forward in that roadmap that will include two new facilities, billions in new spending, and thousands of new jobs.

The $5.6 billion Stanton, TN factory will be called Blue Oval City and will bring 6,000 new jobs to the area. Ford says the site will include a BlueOval SK battery plant, and that electric F-Series trucks will be manufactured there. The assembly plant is designed to be carbon neutral and to send zero waste to landfills once it's up and running.

Ford Blue Oval City Ford plans to create a combined 11,000 jobs.Ford

Ford notes that Blue Oval City will be one of the largest automotive manufacturing sites in U.S. history. The campus sprawls 3,600 acres over six square miles, and will house assembly, battery production, and a supplier facility. The vertical integration of all functions on one site should lower Ford's production costs and reduce its carbon footprint.

The $5.8 billion Kentucky site will be a dedicated battery manufacturing complex that houses two separate battery plants. The location will supply Ford's North American assembly plants and is expected to create 5,000 new jobs. The facilities in both states are being built as part of a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation, pending regulatory approval.

Ford Blue Oval City The TN facility is expected to be carbon neutral when it's up and running.Ford

The increase in production capacity can't come soon enough for Ford. Earlier this year, the Mustang Mach-E EV debuted to strong demand, and the automaker will soon roll out the first electric F-Series truck. Called the Ford F-150 Lightning, the pickup will be the first electric truck from a legacy automaker.

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New sports sedan

2022 Infiniti Q50 gets more standard tech

The car sees new tech and interior features for 2022.

Infiniti

The Infiniti Q50 is an aging but still-stylish sedan that offers value and power, but it hasn't quite kept pace with the crop of more engaging premium European cars. However, it's still worth a look, and to press that point further, Infiniti has updated the car for 2022 with a healthy list of standard features.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Exterior styling has not changed for 2022.Infiniti

Headline updates for the 2022 Q50 are wireless Apple CarPlay and newly standard Bose Performance Series Audio. There's now leather for every trim, but in the ways that count, the car is the same as the one we saw last year, the year before, and so on.

That's not to say that the car is bad. After all, it still offers a 300-horsepower twin-turbo V6 as standard and can be upgraded with a 400-horsepower version of the engine. And, despite its aging exterior styling, it's still a handsome car with smooth, sculpted bodywork. The seven-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive remain in place.

2022 Infiniti Q50 All-wheel drive is available for all models.Infiniti

Pricing for the 2022 Infiniti Q50 starts at $43,125, which includes a $1,025 destination fee. The car gets standard wireless Apple CarPlay, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and Bose Performance Audio. All-wheel drive is available for a $2,000 upcharge.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Wireless Apple CarPlay and Bose audio are standard.Infiniti

The mid-range Q50 Sensory starts at $48,825, and comes with 19-inch wheels, black open-pore wood interior accents, navigation, and an air purifier system. Stepping up to the top Q50 Red Sport 400 will run $56,975, and brings the more powerful V6 engine, semi-aniline leather upholstery, and Dynamic Digital Suspension, which adjusts damping settings depending on road conditions and driving style.

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