It Looks Like the Nissan Hardbody Is Coming Back as a Retro Frontier

We only have to wait a week until Nissan announces what might be the Hardbody comeback we’ve been asking for.

byCaleb Jacobs|
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Nissan has apparently been listening to our cries for a Hardbody revival. The automaker announced Thursday afternoon that the humble pickup's "next chapter" begins on Sept. 14, which is reason enough for any truck lover to get excited. The details are thin for now but there's plenty to speculate on, so let's get to it.

It's likely that the new Hardbody will be some variant of the mid-size Frontier. While it'd be neat to see Nissan take on the Ford Maverick with a tinier pickup than it currently makes, that type of news usually squeaks out before we get to the reveal stage. Either way, the Frontier itself is an exceptional platform that's more than capable of carrying on the Hardbody's hardworking spirit.

Nissan's Frontier is arguably the simplest, most straightforward truck in its class. It comes with one engine option—a 3.8-liter V6 making 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque—and a nine-speed automatic transmission. No newfangled turbochargers here. You can get it with two- or four-wheel drive in extended- or crew-cab configurations.

It's my guess that the new Nissan Hardbody will be a retro-inspired trim, maybe with fun bedside graphics and a rollbar in the bed. That might sound like wishful thinking, but Nissan showed off such a truck at last year's Chicago Auto Show. It was even called Project Hardbody, which leads me to believe that's what we'll see again soon.

We have a week to dream about what Nissan is cooking up here. It's my earnest hope that whatever it is will stay true to the Hardbody's rugged ethos, and if it's barebones and no frills just like the old one, even better. Either way, it'll be the first time the Hardbody name has shown up in the United States since 1997; the first-gen Frontier debuted in '98. This is a chance for the Japanese manufacturer to do something really right in the truck space, and at this point in time, I'm cautiously optimistic. Or, it might be just another concept.

Nissan, please don't let me down.

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