Nissan Stuffs V8 Up Nose of Frontier Pickup

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
nissan stuffs v8 up nose of frontier pickup

In a time-honored tradition of shoehorning a large engine into a small vehicle, Nissan showed up at this week’s SEMA show in Vegas with a V8-powered Frontier midsize pickup truck. Yes, it’s a concept but one can still admire the effort.

Built by the speed freaks at Forsberg Racing, the Nissan Frontier concept truck features the 5.6-liter V8 engine sourced from a Titan. That’s an engine that makes 400 horsepower and roughly a like amount of torque when fed a steady supply of premium fuel. Both are healthy jumps over what’s on tap in a stock Frontier which shows up for duty with a 3.8-liter V6 good for 310 ponies and 281 lb-ft of twist. Plus, one can imagine the octopot sounds much burlier than the six-cylinder mill. In past testing of the Titan, we’ve discovered the thing to rumble out a good impression of Nipponese NASCAR.

Details are scanty as to exactly how much work was required to stuff this thing between the fenders, but it is worth noting the concept has a wider suspension than stock. Specifically, a wide-track suspension was created with different lower control arms, front spindles, wheel hubs, plus a rear axle plucked from a Titan. The suspenders also feature custom upper control arms and Bilstein coilovers, and custom rear leaf springs with external reservoir shocks for increased ride height and payload capacity. A few of those items are surely for off-road prowess, but we suspect some of the gubbins were needed to make the V8 work properly.

Tying it all together is a custom wide-body kit with carbon fiber front fenders, hood, and bedsides. Don’t expect those to make their way into any sort of official catalog but that prototype NISMO Off-Road front bumper stands a chance since it functionally improves the truck's approach angle and tire clearance. Looks baller, too. Same goes for the prototype rock rails. The roof rack and off-road lighting are sourced from NISMO.

Readers with their ears to the ground will know that Nissan has significantly scaled back their truck program, halting deliveries of the Titan in Canada. Most expect the truck to disappear altogether in a few years, leaving dealers with the midsize Frontier as their sole product with an open bed. North of the border, some dealers were left holding the bag and unimpressed after investing heavily and doing quite well for themselves with Titan sales.

Memo to Nissan: this would be a great way to use up any surplus V8 engines formerly earmarked for Titan production.

[Image: Nissan]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • Varezhka Given how long the Mitsubishi USA has been in red, that's a hard one. I mean, this company has been losing money in all regions *except* SE Asia and Oceania ever since they lost the commercial division to Daimler.I think the only reason we still have the brand is A) Mitsubishi conglomerate's pride won't allow it B) US still a source of large volume for the company, even if they lose money on each one and C) it cost too much money to pull out and no one wants to take responsibility. If I was the head of Mitsubishi's North American operation and retreat was not an option, I think my best bet would be to reduce overhead by replacing all the cars with rebadged Nissans built in Tennessee and Mexico.As much as I'd like to see the return of Triton, Pajero Sport (Montero Sport to you and me), and Delica I'm sure that's more nostalgia and grass is greener thing than anything else.
  • Varezhka If there's one (small) downside to the dealer not being allowed to sell above MSRP, it's that now we get a lot of people signing up for the car with zero intention of keeping the car they bought. We end up with a lot of "lightly used" examples on sale for a huge mark-up, including those self-purchased by the dealerships themselves. I'm sure this is what we'll end up seeing with GR Corolla in Japan as well.This is also why the Land Cruiser has a 4 year waitlist in Japan (36K USD starting MSRP -> buy and immediately flip for 10, 20K more -> profit) I'm not sure if there's a good solution for this apart from setting the MSRP higher to match what the market allows, though this lottery system is probably as close as we can get.
  • Jeff S @Lou_BC--Unrelated to this article but of interest I found this on You Tube which explains why certain vehicles are not available in the US because of how the CAFE measures fuel standards. I remember you commenting on this a few years ago on another article on TTAC. The 2023 Chevrolet Montana is an adorable small truck that's never coming to the USA. It's not because of the 1.2L engine, or that Americans aren't interested in small trucks, it's that fuel economy legislation effectively prevents small trucks from happening. What about the Maverick? It's not as small as you think. CAFE, or Corporate Average Fuel Economy is the real reason trucks in America are all at least a specific dimension. Here's how it works and why it means no tiny trucks for us.
  • Gabe A new retro-styled Montero as their halo vehicle to compete against the Bronco, Wrangler and 4Runner. Boxy, round headlights like the 1st generation, two door and four door models, body on frame.A compact, urban truck, Mighty Max, to compete against the Maverick. Retro-styled like the early 90s Mighty Max.A new Outlander Sport as more of a wagon/crossover to compete against the Crosstrek and Kona. Needs to have more power (190+ HP) and a legit transmission, no CVT.A new Eclipse hybrid to compete against the upcoming redesigned Prius. Just match the Prius's specs and make it look great.Drop the Eclipse Cross, I am not sure why they wanted to resurrect the Pontiac Aztec. Keep the Mirage and keep it cheap, make the styling better and up the wheel size. The Outlander seems fine.I like the idea of some sort of commercial vehicle, something similar in size to the Promaster City but with AWD.
  • El scotto Will Ford ever stop putting a V-8 in Mustang GT's? Not as long as Bill Ford is around. I haven't shopped for an F-150 in years; can you still get a V-8 in one? Y'all have that one pair of really comfortable shoes you wear when you go shopping? Not buying gas and low maintenance will make EVs your comfortable shoes. Virtual signalling? Naw, they're slip-ons.