Of all the Nissan cars that the company could bring back, one of the most anticipated is the Nissan Hardbody pickup. It looks like that’s finally happening as the automaker announced on September 7 that the Hardbody’s next chapter starts on September 14. Details are pretty scarce, but there’s plenty worth speculating on.

Mid-Size Frontier Variant

More than likely, the new Nissan Hardbody will be a variant of the current Nissan Frontier. While it would definitely get attention if Nissan went the Ford Maverick route and made a real compact pickup, it doesn’t seem likely or that news probably would have already leaked. The good news is that the Frontier’s platform is in great shape to carry on the legacy of the Hardbody.

In fact, the Nissan Frontier is pretty much the simplest, most no-frills truck in its class. It only comes with one engine option, a 3.8-liter V6 that delivers 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. It pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission as the only option. There are no turbocharger options and it comes in either 2WD or 4WD and either an extended or crew-cab layout.

The Nissan Hardbody is likely to be a retro trim of the Frontier, possibly sporting bedside graphics and a rollbar in the bed. In fact, Nissan already showed off this concept truck at the previous year’s Chicago Auto Show. It was dubbed Project Hardbody, which makes it even more likely that this will be similar to the truck’s final design.

The Nissan Hardbody Legacy


The Nissan Hardbody is one of those Nissan cars that people just can’t stop talking about. It was one of the most iconic compact pickup trucks from the 1980s and 1990s. Almost everyone either owned a Hardbody or knew someone who did. It fits nicely into that category of rugged mini trucks like the Toyota pickup, the Mazda B-Series, the Mitsubishi Mighty Max, and others.

The first Hardbody came out in 1986 and was produced through 1997. But technically, the Hardbody was 1986.5 because the 720 trucks were still coming out halfway through 1986. However, the trucks looked totally different from each other.

The Hardbody moniker refers to the truck’s double-walled bed, rigid paneling, and aggressive exterior design. Officially, the truck was actually called a D21, but the Hardbody nickname took hold and pretty soon even Nissan ads used the term.

Only Days Left

There are only a few days left before Nissan reveals what they’ve done with the Nissan Hardbody. Most fans of the original truck are hoping that it will stay true to the rugged legacy of the Hardbody. Even if it’s spartan and no-frills like the original. Regardless of how it plays out, this will be the first time that the Hardbody name has appeared in the USA since 1997.

The first generation Frontier came out in 1998. But this is a great chance for Nissan to really capture the interest of enthusiasts in the compact pickup space and enthusiasts are cautiously excited about one of the most iconic Nissan cars.

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