Nissan Diesel Runner Concept

2.8L Cummins Powered Nissan Frontier Concept Surfaces

The 2.8L Cummins resurfaced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, shoehorned between the fenders of a Nissan Frontier midsize pickup. The 4 cylinder Cummins turbodiesel is the product of a partnership between Cummins, Nissan, and the United States Department of Energy (DOE), internally known as "ATLAS". The outcome of the ATLAS project was to produce a small diesel powerplant that would achieve approximately 22 city and 34 highway mpg fuel economy in a fullsize Nissan Titan. Now that Nissan has decided to offer a larger 5 liter Cummins diesel in the Titan, it seems they're testing consumer reaction to a smaller diesel option for their midsize pickup.

The Nissan Frontier "Diesel Runner" concept is based on the Frontier Desert Runner, 4x2 pickup. Carbon fiber accents, autometer gauges, and a clear Cummins logo hood helped the Diesel Runner stand out at the Chicago Auto Show. A ZF 8HP70 8 speed automatic transmission was mated to the 4 cylinder turbodiesel, a combination that increases the pickups fuel efficiency by 35%.

The engine meets the EPA's strict Tier 2 Bin 2 emissions regulations while producing around 200 horsepower and more than 350 lb-ft of torque. There have been no official statements regarding future plans for the Diesel Runner, but the offering could be a real game changer for Nissan in the midsize segment, which is currently dominated by the Toyota Tacoma. If Nissan decides to follow through, it will likely occur after the Frontier receives a major redesign.


2.8L Cummins vs Nissan Gas V-6


4.0L Nissan V-6 (gas)

2.8L Cummins I-4 (diesel)


4 liters, 244 cubic inches

2.8 liters, 171 cubic inches


261 peak hp

~ 200 peak hp


281 lb-ft peak torque

350+ lb-ft peak torque

City MPG:

16 mpg max*

21+ mpg max**

Highway MPG:

22 mpg max*

30+ mpg max**

*Based on certified fuel economy ratings for 2014 4x2 production Nissan Frontier.
**Estimate based on the DOE's goals for the ATLAS 2.8L Cummins and claims from Nissan/Cummins that the 2.8L Cummins is 35% more efficiency than Nissan's production V6.