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Nissan Brings Hardbody Retro Looks to 2024 Frontier, but Not Much Else

It's not the 1980s pickup you really want, but the 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition will try and convince you it is. With black bumpers, a sport bar, and retro-inspired graphics to remind you of when Nissan was 'Built for the Human Race.'

2024 Nissan Frontier(Photo/Nissan)
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Nissan is going retro with the 2024 Frontier pickup. The mid-size truck gets a new Hardbody edition that’s meant to tug on your nostalgic heartstrings and make you remember the company’s original pickup. If you’re not feeling the longing for the Reagan era, Nissan has added a luxury SL grade, too.

The Hardbody pickup goes back so far that Nissan had only just changed its name from Datsun. Hardbody referred to the truck’s strong double-walled bed as well as the rugged styling of the version sold in America — even if most of the pickups sold in the salt belt turned into soft bodies decades ago.

Hardbody Edition Soft in Execution

2024 Nissan Frontier

Nissan has already leaned hard on the little truck’s heritage. The design team behind the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder wants you to remember the original version of that SUV when you see it and that Pathfinder took Hardbody’s nose (and chassis) when it was first created.

A “nostalgic tribute” this time around means black paint. The Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition gets black painted bumpers at the front and rear, which look a little bit like what you’d find on base-spec trucks in the 1980s. The mirrors and door handles are black too, just like on the original.

The black fender flares are pretty cool. So are the black rub strips at the bottom of the cab. Nissan designer Hiren Patel said he had pictures of the original all around his office for inspiration when creating this little truck.

Love Those Retro Wheels, Though

2024 Nissan Frontier

Those retro wheels are probably the truck’s best feature. They’re absolutely 1980s and a near copy of the hoops found on the original. Except that the old Nissan would have had 15-inch wheels and these ones are 17s wearing all-terrain tires. A sport bar in the bed is a must for any retro truck and Nissan has dropped one on. It’s up to you to add the KC Hilites, though.

2024 Nissan Frontier
4×4-logo mud flaps are a neat touch; (photo/Nissan)

Big 4×4 stickers on the doors are a neat touch, too. The same goes for the tailgate, which has a black decal with a small Nissan logo cutout. If you look really closely, the mud flaps get a 4×4 logo as well. That logo was a must-have on little pickups in the 1980s and 1990s, so it’s neat to see it return.

What is the Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition missing? A regular or King Cab option, for one. The package is only going to be offered on the mid-level SV Crew Cab truck. It’s a $3,890 option on top of that truck’s $36,870 starting price — a package price that would almost have bought you a whole truck back in 1985.

2024 Nissan Frontier Adds SL Grade

2024 Nissan Frontier
Hardbody Edition interior; (photo/Nissan)

There are other changes to the Frontier for 2024, including a new SL grade. It sits on top of the lineup and replaces the SV Premium pack, but has mostly the same stuff. LED head and foglights, leather seats, and a heated leather wheel are all included. It also comes with a sunroof, a spray-in bedliner, and 120V power plugs in the bed and in the rear center console.

Nissan is also extending the free trial of its NissanConnect service from 6 months to 3 years. The service gives buyers features like remote locking and remote start from anywhere in the world using a smartphone app.

The 2024 Frontier gets the same 3.8L V6 as last year, making 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. It’s come a long way since 1985, when a 3.0L V6 made just 145 horsepower. Despite that power, the max payload on the old trucks is actually higher than the new ones — 1,400 pounds versus 1,110 pounds for an SV 4×4 short bed.

Nissan starts the 2024 Frontier lineup with the $29,770 Frontier S King Cab 4×4. The 4×4 models start from $32,970, and a Frontier SL Crew Cab 4×4 starts at $42,640. The trucks, including Nissan’s Pro-4X off-roader, arrive at dealers this fall.

Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Off-Road Test

Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Truck Review: Flaws Found, Package Appreciated

We took the Nissan Frontier off-roading in the Park City, Utah, mountains. Things got slick, but the midsize pickup took everything in stride. Read more…

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