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New Nissan Frontier concept shows off diesel power

The Chicago Auto Show is in full swing, but Nissan may have already stole the spotlight for good. Nissan debuted an all-new concept at the event, showing off a diesel-powered vehicle that came across as a result of a partnership between the automaker and Cummins. Together, the companies created the concept for the Frontier Diesel Runner, which could be just the product needed to get Nissan back in the off-roading game in a big way. 

About the Nissan-Cummins partnership
At the heart of the new concept is a 2.8-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. This alternative power source could upgrade the capabilities of the Frontier and make it better suited for off-road driving, not to mention giving it an environmentally friendly advantage. 

"We've been building pickup trucks in the U.S. for more than 30 years and selling them here for even longer than that, even offering four-cylinder diesel in our U.S. pickup truck in the 1980s," said Pierre Loing, a vice president of product planning at Nissan. "With this Frontier Diesel Runner project truck, we can reflect on our extensive heritage while also looking to the future and the changing demands of midsize pickup buyers.  

The concept doesn't feature many truck modifications, and the ones included have been carefully selected to show off the engine. For example, the hood has a transparent insert, and the rest of the exterior is painted with glossy red and matte silver to match the motor. Even the interior features the same color scheme, tying the whole appearance together nicely. 

Advancing the midsize segment
While other trucks have used Cummins and diesel engines in the past, Nissan is one of the first brands to incorporate the capability in the midsize segment. This concept was intended to test the waters of the market and see if there is enough interest in midsize pickups to warrant an alternative diesel option. 

"Nissan has always valued the midsize pickup segment, and with the technical study project, we are looking to explore what is possible for the next-generation Frontier. We are always looking for ways to engage our customers, innovate and take the segment in an evolutionary direction," said Fred Diaz, a senior vice president at Nissan North America. 

Any mass production of the vehicle is still several years away, but with the Frontier due for a makeover anyway, any alterations made to accommodate the new engine would be welcome, AutoBlog reported.