Nissan introduces the Frontier pickup at the New York auto show on March 26, 1997.
The Frontier replaced Nissan's D21 truck, widely referred to as the Hardbody because of its double-walled bed.
Nissan pioneered the compact pickup market starting in 1959 with the Datsun 1000. The truck, popular with California farmers, helped establish Datsun in the U.S.
The first-generation Nissan Frontier was produced from 1998 until 2004 in Smyrna, Tenn., and was initially offered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and later an optional V-6. For the 2000 model year, the Nissan Frontier crew cab was launched. It was the first midsize pickup with four full-size doors, increasing interior room but at the expense of a shorter bed. In 2001, along with a face-lift, a supercharged version of the V-6 Frontier called the Desert Runner SC was launched. It cranked out an extra 40 hp.
The Frontier also a spawned the Xterra, a four-wheel-drive, midsize body-on-frame SUV that Nissan sold in the United States from 1998 through the 2015 model year.
The next generation of the aging Frontier -- it received a major engineering update in 2005 -- may be based on a truck largely engineered by Mitsubishi under Nissan's alliance with the Japanese automaker and France's Renault.