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Diesel Nissan pickup explores new Frontier

Nissan took another step into the world of diesel pickups at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show with the unveiling of the Frontier Diesel Runner project truck.

Based on a midsize Frontier crew cab fitted with the Desert Runner off-road package and a set of PRO-4X wheels and tires, the concept is powered by a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel supplied by Cummins that sends power to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Several versions of the Frontier are currently sold in other markets with Nissan's own diesel engines, but none are offered in the United States.

Although the truck is a very early prototype, Nissan says the engine produces around 200 hp and over 350 lb-ft of torque. A transparent hood offers a glimpse at the motor, which is dressed up in Cummins livery.

Nissan is already planning to add a Cummins diesel V8 to its full-size Titan lineup next year and says it is seriously considering putting the Frontier diesel into production if the concept generates enough interest among potential customers.

General Motors has already made that decision, with diesel-powered versions of its upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon on the way in the 2016 model year.

If Nissan follows suit, it likely won’t happen until the next generation of the Frontier arrives.

Exactly when that will happen has not yet been revealed.

Read: GM's diesel off-roaders ready to wander