Although still very popular as a work truck, the Nissan Frontier has been widely considered outdated for many years. Since its original launch way back in 2004 for the 2005 model year, Nissan’s Frontier midsize pickup truck has remained largely unchanged save for a couple of minor updates over the years. 

For the 2020 model year, the Nissan Frontier did receive a few much-needed drive performance updates and upgrades that are expected to preview the much larger changes that the Frontier will see for 2021. 

The Nissan Frontier underwent a complete redesign for the 2021 model year. While the all-new model of this midsize pickup truck from Nissan is not expected to hit the mainstream auto market until at least the third quarter of 2020, many exciting details about the eagerly-awaited 2021 Frontier have already been released.

2021 Nissan Frontier Changes

2021 Nissan Frontier Changes

Whether you’re in the market for a new vehicle or are just curious about the long-awaited debut of this redesigned midsize pickup truck, here’s everything you need to know about the all-new 2021 Nissan Frontier. 

Heightened Efficiency 

The 2021 Nissan Frontier is expected to be significantly more efficient than previous models of this midsize pickup truck. 

When equipped with rear-wheel-drive, the 2020 Frontier reaches a combined gas mileage of 20 MPG—18 MPG on city streets and 24 MPG on the highway. 2020 Frontier models equipped with four-wheel-drive reach a slightly lower combined mileage of 17 MPG, getting approximately 17 MPG on city streets and 19 MPG on the highway. The efficiency of the 2020 Frontier is nothing remarkable, but it also definitely holds its own among that of similar midsize trucks in the Frontier’s vehicle class. 

The efficiency of the 2020 Frontier marked a big improvement from the low efficiency of prior Frontier models. However, the 2021 Frontier is expected to make even bigger leaps in terms of efficiency with heightened aerodynamics and lighter materials that help this midsize pickup truck sip fuel rather than gulp it on the road. Only time will tell what the exact efficiency specs of the 2021 Frontier will be, but they are expected to wow consumers who are used to the sluggish efficiency of previous Frontier models.

Updated Drivetrain 

One of the much-needed updates for the Frontier came a bit early with the 2020 model year. The 2020 Frontier excited Nissan drivers when it hit the market with a brand-new drivetrain—including a new engine and transmission combo. The new drivetrain of the 2020 model is expected to preview that of the 2021 Frontier, although the 2021 model will likely feature a slightly updated version of the same engine and transmission combo that debuted in 2020. 

The Frontier debuted with a brand-new engine option for the 2020 model year. This engine option is a 3.8-L, V6 engine that boasts 93% new parts and delivers 310 horsepower and 281 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2021 Frontier is expected to hit the market with this same more powerful, updated engine option. 

The 2021 Frontier will also no longer be available with a 5-speed manual transmission, which is a fact that will disappoint very few drivers. The old manual transmission of previous Frontier models simply emphasized the outdated design of this midsize pickup truck. For the 2020 model year, Nissan debuted a new 9-speed automatic transmission in its Frontier model. 

The new 9-speed automatic transmission of the 2020 Frontier improved the 0-to-60-MPH acceleration of this midsize pickup truck by up to 10% and ensures a smoother, speedier ride. Both the 2020 and the 2021 Frontier models are available with rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive. 

The Nissan Frontier has long been written off as nothing more than an outdated workhorse of a truck. Even so, the Frontier has remained an integral part of Nissan’s truck lineup for more than 15 years. 

With its long-awaited redesigned model hitting the market in late 2020 or early 2021, the newest 2021 Nissan Frontier is expected to defy cemented expectations for the Frontier in all the best ways. 

There are still many details about this brand-new midsize pickup truck that has yet to be revealed, but the 2021 Nissan Frontier is definitely something to look out for in the months to come.