When Nissan was moving from its Datsun era in the 1980s, a then-new vehicle propelled the Japanese carmaker to the forefront of American truck customers’ minds: the renowned Hardbody pickup, ancestor of the Nissan Frontier.
The Hardbody, also known by its chassis code “D21,” got its name from its usage of a double-wall pickup bed, which ensured that any damage to the inside of the truck didn’t appear on the outside. The two layers of metal were separate, not welded together like on other trucks of the time.
Of course, the squared-off, blunt-faced Hardbody appeared rough and hard. The name stuck, at least until the Frontier came along, and it has since been retired.
The black external trim pieces, which mimic the shape and layout of the original Datsun pickup, are the first thing you’ll notice. Nissan also used their prior wheel design for this 2024 special edition, and these may be the best truck wheels on the market right now.
Those 17-inch rollers are encased in all-terrain rubber, and a retro graphics package helps emphasize the image. No retro truck would be complete without a sport bar, so Nissan included one as well. Overall, it’s one of the brand’s more well-executed ventures recently and covered with a set of Hankook Dynapro all-terrain tires in 265/70R17.
The third-generation Frontier debuted in February 2021 and has stayed essentially unchanged since then. Every Frontier is powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 engine that produces 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. In both rear-drive and 4×4 models, that engine is exclusively coupled to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The truck is also available in crew cab and extended cab versions, as well as with a five-foot or six-foot truck bed. Outside of the Hardbody Edition, the 2024 model year brings minor improvements, notably the inclusion of the top-tier SL trim on crew cab versions.
The Nissan Connect Services trial period has also been extended to 36 months, up from six months in prior model years. While we wait to see how Nissan fans react to this new special edition vehicle, 2024 is shaping up to be a terrific year for the mid-size truck market.
New SL Trim
The SL trim, which is unrelated to the Hardbody option and is only available with the Crew Cab body in RWD or 4WD versions, is also new for 2024. This new option adds LED lighting, leather upholstery, a Fender 10-speaker audio system, and other upmarket touches to what Nissan calls a “highly equipped midsize truck.”
One final update for the 2024 Nissan Frontier is the addition of a three-year NissanConnect Services trial. This is a linked feature that interacts with the MyNissan app and allows users to remotely lock and unlock their doors, start or stop the engine, check a vehicle health report, call 911 and adds a “Nissan Skill” for Amazon Alexa.
Otherwise, the 2024 Nissan Frontier is the same as the previous model year and should be available at your local Nissan dealer shortly.