Compact Trucks Still Alive At Nissan

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
compact trucks still alive at nissan

Next Wednesday, Nissan will unveil a new compact truck, presumably the all-new Frontier/Navara.

Our resident compact diesel truck lovers have extoled the versions of the oil-burning Navara as a superior alternative to our full-sizers. With the next Titan getting a 5.0L Cummins V8 diesel, the smaller truck may be in line for one as well. Nissan did show off a Frontier “concept” with a diesel engine not long ago…

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  • Joe Chiaramonte Joe Chiaramonte on Jun 02, 2014

    I bought a 2014 Frontier this last Saturday. I found one of just two King Cab SV 4x4s in Northern California. There were plenty of Crew Cabs, very few KCs, and I wanted a 6 foot bed. It also needed to fit in my garage. The last new vehicle I bought for myself was a 1985 Toyota SR5 Xtra Cab. I stood staring at the Frontier this evening and the stature reminds me much more of an early 60s Chevy pickup than my old Toyota, which had the 2.4 liter 4 banger and a 5 speed. I know I'll be pumping plenty of go juice now, but I need the utility and towing capacity. Every truck has bloated beyond recognition. Not much choice out there right now, and I wasn't impressed with what I was reading about the Canyon/Colorado, so I didn't want to wait. Nor do I want to pay $6-7k more for the diesel Nissan is teasing us with. I just don't drive enough miles to make that pay off. It is a good sign there is some new blood in the segment. Maybe small can be the new big....

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jun 03, 2014

    @Lou and Jeff S I think the problem started when I blogged 'stuff' about the smaller an 'alien' global pickups. There are a dedicated group as Jeff has described on PUTC who just want to maintain PUTC as a full size site. I don't mind full size trucks as I'm interested in the new Titan diesel. A full size would work in the Northern Territory, but it has to be a capable off roader. Also, I need to justify a pickup that size, when I have a pickup that will do more than what I currently require. I unfortunately believe the US full size pickups aren't the best 4x4s around. They are good for a building site or unimproved road. But are to large for any real off roading. I think that's why Jeep Wranglers are more popular in the US compared to here. We have a good range of midsize 4x4s to use that provide more utility and comfort. From what I can gather our new diesel midsizers are very comparable to a small V8 full size in capability overall. The US doesn't 4x4 the way we do in Australia. It seems 4x4ing is more or less a one day activity in the US and then you go home for tea (supper), or at most a weekend. Where as here a 4x4 trip can go for a couple of months or when you have your 4 weeks annual holidays. I think this is why we don't get 'factory enhanced' 4x4s. We have them tailor made for what we are going to use them for. Our market size will also play a role. But looking at our muscle car market, you'd think the size of our 4x4 pickup market which would be 10 times the size factory enhanced pickups would be profitable. I will bet my balls that this new Navara/Frontier will be aimed at the global market. Nissan will not make the same mistake twice regarding the D40 which was designed for the US market. I think the D40 has cost Nissan many sales to Toyota and the others. I envisage Nissan will again become equal to the Ranger/BT50 and Amarok. We just have to wait and see what Toyota has in store with the next Hilux, which I think the US will receive considering it's the size of the new midsizers. I do think the next Mitsubishi midsizer will not be as good. Mitsubishi seem to produce pickups on par with GM. Okay products that are never a step in front of the competition. They mostly seem to be marginally sub par like GM pickups in comparison the competition.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 03, 2014

    @Lou & Big Al--I like to have a good discussion about vehicles regardless of size or type. I agree that PUTC is full of fan boys who have to have a large pickup with a high horsepower V-8. There is a place for every type of vehicle and those that want or need a larger size should be able to buy that and those that don't should be able to buy a little smaller. A market with more brands and types of vehicles benefits all consumers. Big Al having had a Mitsubishi Mighty Max several years ago I would have to agree with you that it wasn't bad but it was not on par with much of the competition. I would also say that GM pickups were much more competitive a generation ago than they are now. That is the good thing about a more competitive market is that it forces the competition to make a better product. I would like to see the Nissan Frontier become a better truck, not to say it is bad but it is very dated. I hope you are correct about the Frontier that it is aimed at a global market.

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    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jun 03, 2014

      @Lou That's a pretty good and very accurate list. Size and weight matters off road. I think Nissan has learnt it's lesson. Myself a Nissan man (I bet you didn't know that) would like to see Nissan create a good midsizer finally. Nissan's move to Cummins is good and this appears to be a global move. China has just built a Cummins factory to punch out god knows how many ISF's. The US hasn't been good at designing midsize pickups. That's why they are done overseas. I think the heart and soul in midsize design isn't in Detroit. Why build and design something to outdo your bread and butter? I pointed out the other day that Australia of late has been more or less the US's biggest competitor in pickup, muscle car and SUV design. It sounds hard to believe but we do this stuff quite well, as good as any other nation. Like I've always stated the future of vehicle is at it's most exciting right now. I just hope the correct decisions are made, because with the massive changes occurring it wouldn't be hard to make the wrong step and have a huge company go under.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 03, 2014

    @Lou--That was kind of my point about the true off roaders build their own and most of the ones I see where I live are old Toyota trucks (pre Tacoma). Being a former motorcyclist but not a dirt biker I can see that the dirt bike would be better yet especially for small trails. My nephews have a couple of dirt bikes and quads at the family farm in N KY. My one nephew bought a 2006 F-250 4 x 4 extend cab with a gas V-8 from the company he works for in Denver 4 years ago for $4,500 to use on the farm (he drove it from Denver to N KY and my brother bought it from him for the farm). Truck is high mileage but very little rust and perfect for when the family is at the farm (it has a tool box bed). If I wanted something to go off road in I would have my nephew buy one of those trucks, they are always coming up on auction and his company replaces their trucks on a regular basis. It is silly to buy a new 40k to 50k truck just for off road use. This truck is only used when family visits the farm so it is a waste of money to invest too much in a truck, but in runs like a new truck.

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 04, 2014

      @Jeff S - there is a reason why companies buy the cheapest bid truck they can get their hands on. My brother works in the forest industry and every brand of truck he has had is pretty much worthless at 100,000 - 120,000 km (62-75k miles). They can go further if you want to start fixing them. Guys on PUTC talk about durability and what is supposed to last offroad but in reality plain old gravel roads will kill them that fast. Statistically there is a slight difference in durability and to consumers it will make a bit of difference but it isn't enough of a gap to warrant the fanatical loyalty to brand.