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Nissan launches nostalgic Frontier Hardbody Edition for US drivers

The popular pick-up gets the retro treatment and a trim switcheroo too

Published: 15 Sep 2023

Nissan has launched a special edition of its Frontier truck - better known as the Navara on this side of the pond - that pays tribute to the classic Eighties Hardbody pickup. If you're of a certain maturity, you're probably thinking Datsun. Apparently it doesn't matter.

Hiren Patel, project lead designer at Nissan Design America, said: “Even if you don't recognise or remember the original Hardbody, you're still going to say, 'that's a cool truck'."

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He's right. Patel’s team has imitated the original's wheels with heritage-styled 17in alloys. Similarly, new wing mirrors and overriders give the pick-up some proper 'daytime television adventure series' vibes. Thankfully, gloss painted bumpers replace the cheap plastic matte finish this time around.

With ‘4x4’ and ‘Nissan’ decals embellishing the doors and tailgate, we concede the Hardbody Edition does look pretty retro with its red/black colour combo.

In addition to the special edition, Nissan’s also been switching around its trim levels. What was once known as the SV Premium package now becomes the SL grade.

Apparently, Nissan wants the Frontier to be a consideration for both city slicking and tackling more rural terrain. It arrives with a swathe of fancy tech like heated leather front seats, daytime running lights, an electric sunroof, remote engine start and dual-zone climate control built into the SL grade as standard.

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Then there’s the connectivity with the Nissan Connect companion app, Apple CarPlay (wireless), Android Auto, Bluetooth and Wifi hotspot, all controlled through a 7in touchscreen display.

Underneath there's a 3.8-litre direct injection V6 with a nine-speed ‘box and enough driver assist technology to park a moon-going rocket in your local supermarket car park safely. Of course, it’s also got four-wheel-drive, hill descent control, Bilstein off-road shocks and an electronic locking rear diff – if opting for the PRO-4X variant.

While it hasn’t the same towing capacity as, say, the Ford Ranger (by over a hundred kilos), the newer $29,770 Frontier clearly has strong appeal. Not least because it looks like an Eighties truck.

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