Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner powered by Cummins revealed

Presented as a concept, the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner powered by Cummins bowed at the Chicago show loaded with real-world potential. Styled by Nissan Design America in San Diego, California, in conjunction with Nissan Global Design Center in Atsugi, Japan, tis show truck is based on a 2014 Frontier Desert Runner 4x2 pickup. Power for the Frontier Diesel Runner comes from a 2.8-liter/4-cylinder Cummins turbodiesel engine that makes nearly 200 horsepower but over 350 lb-ft of torque and is backed by a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. That pairing allows this fully-engineered design exercise to deliver exceptional performance and up to 35 percent better fuel economy than the current V6 4x2 Frontier. 

Also: More first looks from the 2014 Chicago Auto Show 

To ensure it won't get lost in a crowded parking lot, the decidedly high-profile exterior of the Nissan Diesel Runner is finished in Arrest Me Red and Matte Silver set off with carbon fiber and carbon-fiber-film accent elements. Highlighting its unique body bits are a deep front splitter, mesh grill insert, aerodynamic bed cover, rear spoiler and a custom hood with a semi-transparent acrylic insert that allows a glimpse of what resides underneath. Culled from a Frontier PRO-4X, the Diesel Runner's 16-inch wheels carry on the look with a two-tone treatment that pairs satin black with Matte Silver on the front rims and Arrest Me Red on the rears. 

The motif carries over to the cabin where carbon-print leather covers the seats and a carbon film-wrapped dash houses custom red-tinted main gauges. In fact, everything from the steering wheel to the custom floor mats does its color-keyed part to reinforce the distinctive appearance. 

Also: 2014 Compact SUVs at a glance

So will we really see a Cummins-powered Nissan Diesel Runner in the showroom? While remaining understandably non-committal, Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing, Parts & Service, U.S.A, Nissan North America, Inc, did concede his company is "definitely looking to explore what is possible for the next-generation Frontier." Similar sentiments were expressed by Pierre Loing, vice president, Product Planning, NNA who noted the organization is "looking to the future and the changing demands of mid-size pickup buyers." And then there's the confirmed fact that Nissan and its technical partner Cummins, which is on tap to supply a new 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8 for the next-gen Titan pickup, are already hard at work on another unnamed "development vehicle that's currently undergoing rigorous real-world testing." Stay tuned. 

More Pickup Trucks...

The 2014 Chevy Silverado & GMC Sierra pickups are NHTSA 5-star aces

The all-new, aluminum-intensive 2015 Ford F-150 goes on sale in late fall 

The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel offers a best-in-class 28-mpg EPA highway rating


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