Archive for the ‘nissan frontier’ Tag

Nissan Frontier Prototype Powered by Cummins Diesel

When Nissan dropped the Frontier Diesel Runner Concept with a 2.8-liter Cummins diesel four-cylinder under its transparent hood at the 2014 Chicago auto show, it was like a bomb had exploded at McCormick Place. A diesel engine in a compact pickup! (Or something like that, given the Windy City show’s sleepy reputation.) Where have you been all of our lives? Besides every other country, of course.

Indeed, as with driver-side sliding doors on minivans and express-open windows, a diesel-powered compact seemed (and still seems) like a why-haven’t-we-had-this-all-along kind of idea. After all, with prodigious torque and considerable fuel economy advantages over large-displacement gasoline-powered engines, diesels are natural fits for larger pickups, so why not small trucks?

So we were first in line to sample a modestly equipped, Cummins-powered Frontier Crew Cab prototype that Nissan provided for evaluation. And while the powertrain itself was rough and in need of a heavy dose of refinement, what we experienced made us that much more convinced that the diesel compact truck has a future here.

The diesel engine itself is a new, 2.8-liter mill that produces approximately 200 horsepower and a hearty 350 lb-ft of torque, according to Nissan. Being careful not to overstate its claims about the diesel’s capability, Nissan instead is emphasizing the mill’s fuel efficiency, which it says should increase by about 35 percent compared with the gas-powered V-6 in the 2014 Frontier. It will do so while also roughly matching the six-holer’s towing and payload capacities (which can reach up to 6500 and 1480 pounds, respectively). So you don’t have to look it up, the Frontier Crew Cab V-6 achieves an EPA estimated 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway, so we figure that a diesel-powered version would jump into the 22-mpg city/30-mpg highway neighborhood. But compare the power figures to the 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft produced by the V-6 and the 152 horses and 171 lb-ft of the inline-four in the current Frontier, and one can see how anybody who regularly tows a trailer or fills the bed might be attracted to such a machine.

How’s it drive? Well, without balance shafts, optimized engine mounts, and other refinements, the Cummins engine’s current state means it isn’t close to ready for production, even mated as it is to ZF’s versatile 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine vibrates considerably, and is none too discreet with its industrial-sounding, spoon-in-a-blender diesel clatter. And there is “intentional” turbo lag, according to Cummins marketing communications manager Steve Sanders, who rode along with us for the test drive. “You’ll see why.”

Alas, we did, upon our first full-throttle start. The engine roared and we traveled a sluggish initial 30 to 40 feet, then the rear wheels began to spin wildly, prompting us to back off the throttle to regain our grip. Of course, we repeated this procedure at every subsequent opportunity—delayed-reaction burnouts are fun, don’t ya know. Yet, the diesel is eminently drivable when operated with some judiciousness. It’s hardly quick off the line, but the copious reserves of grunt are truly satisfying. We would have loved to load up the bed with a half-ton of stuff and see how it performed, but that will have to wait for another time.

So it works. We had no doubts that it would. Moving forward, we will be interested to see how refined this powertrain becomes as it nudges toward something salable. Truck diesels don’t need to be as whisper-quiet and smooth as those found in modern luxury sedans, but the shaking and valvetrain noise will nonetheless have to be tamed, and the turbo lag will need to be smoothed out before anyone would choose it over a gas V-6. Anything is possible, said Sanders, but to what extent that will happen “depends on how much Nissan wants to spend.” ZF, at least, is a willing partner, although the eight-speed’s electronic shifter design will likely change from the prototype’s current T-shaped handle lifted from the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

So, what are its chances for production? Quite good, at least for the next-generation Frontier, which is still two or three years away. By then, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups will be on the streets with their own 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel. This Frontier would give Nissan a compression-ignition answer to those trucks, one brandishing the Cummins name, no less. Hey, it worked wonders for Dodge and Ram trucks.

It’s too early to nail down a price for the Cummins-powered Frontier, but expect to pay a decent premium over a comparably equipped gas V-6 version. Based on the $25K currently charged for a Frontier S 2WD short-wheelbase Crew Cab V-6 automatic, the Cummins diesel version would likely push $30,000.

Certainly, if enthusiasm among the Nissan and Cummins people dictated the decision, a production Frontier diesel would be here tomorrow. “I hope Nissan goes for it,” said Sanders. “At this point, it would almost be cruel if it didn’t.” We agree.

As read on: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/nissan-frontier-cummins-diesel-prototype-drive-review

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Top 9 Most Fuel-Efficient Trucks for 2014

2014 truck of the year2 copy

For the past several years, the best-selling vehicle in the nation has been a pickup. It’s not difficult to understand why Americans love trucks. Pickups offer the kind of unassailable utility that makes them a natural fit for anyone who frequently hauls outsize cargo.

Certain trucks offer another benefit: outstanding fuel efficiency. The nine models shown offer the best gas mileage in the segment. Our list is shorter than the usual 10 due to a shrinking talent pool. GM’s hybrid trucks made appearances on last year’s list, but for 2014, GM has dropped these hybrids from its lineup.

Our list this year includes fuel-efficient gas-only models like the Nissan Frontier, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tacoma. Note that each model is allowed just one appearance on our list, for its most fuel-efficient powertrain.

Each vehicle’s ranking is determined by its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) combined fuel economy rating. The EPA’s combined fuel economy rating is based on miles-per-gallon ratings for city and highway travel, using the following formula: 55 percent of city mpg rating plus 45 percent of highway mpg rating.

1. Toyota Tacoma — 23 mpg combined (21 city/25 highway) (tie)

1. Ram 1500 — 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway) (tie)

2. Nissan Frontier — 21 mpg combined (19 city/23 highway)

3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 — 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) (tie)

3. GMC Sierra 1500 — 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) (tie)

4. Ford F-150 — 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway)

5. Honda Ridgeline — 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway) (tie)

5. Toyota Tundra — 17 mpg combined (16 city/20 highway) (tie)

6. Nissan Titan — 15 mpg combined (13 city/18 highway)

As read on: http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/top-10/top-9-most-fuel-efficient-trucks-for-2014.html?mktcat=nl-external_standard&kw=social_media+facebook&mktid=nl80059717

Nissan shows diesel-Frontier truck

Chicago — Nissan Motor Co. on Thursday showed off a concept diesel-powered version of its Frontier mid-size pickup at the Chicago Auto Show and said it will wait for feedback from customers before deciding whether to build it.

“It’s a technical study. We’re going to use social media — Facebook, Twitter, so forth and the blogosphere to find out what people are saying about this truck, ‘Do they like it? Do they want it? Should we build it?” and we’re going to let them decide for us, basically,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan’s U.S. unit.

Last month, Diaz said the company was considering building a hybrid version of the next generation Frontier.

The demonstration Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner gets an estimated fuel economy increase of 35 percent over the current Frontier V6.

In August, Nissan announced it would sell a 5.0-liter turbo diesel V8 in the next-generation Titan full-size pickup, which will arrive in 2015.

“Frontier continues to be a huge success story for us, with more than 60,000 units sold in 2013,” Diaz said. “Nissan has always valued the mid-size pickup segment, and with this technical study project, we are looking to explore what is possible for the next-generation Frontier.”

This week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said its new 2014 Ram 1500 diesel pickup will earn a 28 miles-per-gallon highway rating, the best of any full-size half-ton pickup.

The 2013 Ram with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine earned a 25 mpg highway rating.

The smaller pickup segment has been shrinking, although General Motors Co. announced last month it was re-entering the segment — a market that Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have both exited. GM also said it plans to sell a diesel version of its small Canyon and Colorado in the 2016 model year. The GM midsize trucks will go on sale this fall.

Sales in the segment fell 15 percent last year and are down by 75 percent over the last 15 years. Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. also both sell mid-size trucks.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140206/AUTO0104/302060118#ixzz2t7R55iUr

Ram diesel: official mileage

The 2014 Ram 1500 pickup, powered by the VM 3-liter V6 (also used in Jeep Grand Cherokee), set a best-ever full-size-pickup 28 mpg in EPA highway testing, neatly beating all current mid-size and full-size pickups. Before the diesel, the best full-size pickup highway mileage was set by Ram 1500 V6.

The half-ton pickup also set a new combined city/highway benchmark of 23 mpg, matching the best four-cylinder midsize pickup’s record. The Ram 1500 diesel  is rated at 20 city, 28 highway, and 23 combined, where the Toyota Tacoma, with a four-cylinder engine and manual transmission, is rated at 21 city, 25 highway, 23 combined. Ram 1500 easily beat the Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline midsize pickups, as well as all Ford, Toyota, GM, and Nissan full-size trucks.

Ram chief Reid Bigland said, “To put the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel in context, it gets 6 mpg better fuel economy than the best F150 EcoBoost. Overall, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has outstanding pick-up truck capability with compact car-like fuel economy.”

Ordering will begin on February 7, in all 50 states (and presumably in Canada).

The engine delivers peak torque unsurpassed among V-6 pickups (420 lb-ft). Ram 1500 remains the only pickup with eight-speed automatics, and the only half-ton pickup with an optional diesel.

Torque is higher than the base F-150 V8 and Silverado 1500 V8s , both rated at 15 city, 21 highway; and the Ram Hemi, rated at 14/20 with six-speed, and 15/22 with eight-speed.  (The base Nissan Titan V8 is rated 13/18, while the base Tundra V8 is 15/19).  The Ram 1500 diesel is rated to tow 9,200 lb.

The engine’s block and bedplate are made from lightweight Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI); it uses Fiat’s highly praised MultiJet 2 common-rail fuel-injection system, whose high-dispersion nozzles and servovalve can accommodate up to eight fuel-injection events per cylinder cycle. This mitigates noise and improves low-speed throttle response, while cutting fuel consumption and emissions. Other features include Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), high-pressure cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), variable swirl intake ports, and a variable-geometry turbocharger (pioneered by Chrysler with the 2.2 Turbo IV).

One of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2014, the EcoDiesel V-6 was a major factor in the Ram 1500’s selection as 2014 Motor Trend Truck of the Year.  Powertrain chief Bob Lee said, “We are immensely gratified by achieving these milestones. Not only do they confirm our position as an industry leader in powertrain development and truck design, they promise tremendous benefits for our customers.”

The truck also has a thermal-management system that quickly warms transmission oil to reduce pumping losses associated with cold, low-viscosity fluid, active grille shutters, electric power steering, and aluminum for components, such as hoods, “that do not compromise capability.”

The diesel engine adds $2,850 to the cost of the 2014 Ram 1500, which starts at $24,200; the diesel includes the eight-speed automatic, but even without that, the “diesel premium” is far lower than with the hefty Cummins diesel available on Ram 2500-5500. The truck has a five-year /100,000-mile powertrain warranty and three-year / 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.  It is built in Warren, Michigan (which has assembled more than 12.5 million trucks since it started operations in 1938) except for regular cabs, which are made in Saltillo, Mexico. VM engines are made in Cento, Italy, while the eight-speed automatics are made in the United States.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/02/ram-diesel-official-mileage