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It’s back? New Nissan HardBody teased ahead of Sept 14th reveal


The Nissan Hardbody has been teased as coming back and there’s a lot to speculate on what could be a new compact truck.

According to a Nissan press release, the Nissan Hardbody name will return on September 14. This coincides with the 2nd media and technology day at the North American International Auto Show. The show officially opens to the public on Saturday.

Nissan Hardbody What is the Nissan Hardbody?

Back in the early 1980s, the Nissan Hardbody was a compact truck with good fuel economy, low bed height and a double-walled truck bed able to withstand some punishment. This tough bed was where the truck got its name.

It was available in 2WD or 4WD with a 3.0-liter V6 engine and a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission. You could get it in a regular cab or an extended cabin configuration.

This was replaced with the larger Nissan Frontier with the changing truck market wanting more ground clearance, roomier cabins and a taller truck.

Why bring it back?

Back then, the compact truck segment seemingly vanished overnight. All pickups used to be compact while trucks were big and used for hauling or towing.

Now with the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz proving there is a market for a truly compact pickup again, the Nissan Hardbody seems like a natural fit.

Imagine a smaller truck than the Frontier with a cheaper price point and better fuel economy. This could be the Nissan Hardbody.

However, it might not be a ICE engine. Instead, it could be fully electric.

Remember the Nissan Titan was killed this year and Nissan said they were reserving space at their Canton, Mississippi plant for two electric vehicles. Could the Nissan Hardbody be a battery electric compact truck? Now that’s an interesting question.

Nissan Hardbody

Just a Frontier trim level?

While a compact truck would be great, many outlets are suggesting this is just going to be a retro inspired Nissan Frontier trim.

Yup, a Nissan Frontier trim of the midsize truck.

Basically, a nothing really to see here trim version and buzzkill of what could be really cool.

The bottom line

Speculation will be rampant on this for another week until we truly know what Nissan is up to with the Hardbody. I, for one, would love to see a Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz competitor since competition is good. However, I could also see a full EV Nissan Hardbody with the way automakers have been moving in recent years.

What do you think? Excited or blah? ICE or EV?

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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1 Comment

  1. Gene September 10, 2023

    I’m very excited over this and hope it’s a new pickup separate from the Frontier. Nissan needs a second truck.

    We’ll find out soon enough.


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