Nissan Already Teased The Perfect Retro Frontier. So Where Is It?
Nissan went through the trouble of designing and building these throwback Frontiers, and then… didn’t sell them.
The 2023 Nissan Frontier is a pretty solid truck that's now under threat from a barrage of other new midsize pickups. There’s a way Nissan could defend its territory, though. That’d be by emphasizing its analog, classic-truck character—maybe by bringing on those retro styling packages that it designed, but never bothered putting on sale.
Back when the Frontier was still new, Nissan showed off a bunch of concepts for custom takes on what'll soon be the only truck in its lineup. A couple of them revisited the styling of classic Nissan and Datsun pickups, notably Project 72X and Project Hardbody, paying tribute to the Datsun 720 and D21 Hardbody respectively.
Headlining the 72X were its white steelies and sport bar, replicating a look popular on 1980s trucks. The reimagined Hardbody, on the other hand, had custom-milled triangular alloy wheels, plus classic graphics and a bed-mounted spare. Both setups would make for great option packages, especially with how slim the Frontier's wheel selection is.
That's why it's a surprise Nissan has done absolutely nothing with them, as Cody Vella pointed out on Twitter. The time is ripe to capitalize on truck nostalgia as even dealers have managed to sell their own retro styling packages without issue. You don't even need to go as far as Nissan's show trucks did—Jeep's Jurassic Park sticker pack shows you can absolutely rake in the cash while phoning it in. Including those triangular wheels would just be icing on the cake, even if it's only for some limited edition at a high price.
Besides, it all fits the Frontier's ethos, and draws links between the truck and its lineage. It's still a relatively tight, analog pickup, just like Nissan's best always have been. Calling on the past is something even Toyota's doing with the 2024 Land Cruiser. But instead of being an old-school pioneer with the Frontier, Nissan is late to the gold rush... and it really didn't have to be this way.
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