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This Chicago Courier Defied the Odds and Drove His Nissan Frontier 1 Million Miles

Chicago is not a gentle place. Sure, the Windy City has a certain Midwestern kindness deep down that’s perhaps lacking in large coastal cities, but its harsh, snowy winters exact a toll on infrastructure and automobiles like few places on earth.

That didn’t stop Chicago courier Brian Murphy from ticking over 1 million miles over the course of about a dozen years in a 2007 Nissan Frontier pickup he bought new from the curiously named M’Lady Nissan in the distant western Chicago suburb Crystal Lake. Nissan brought the high-mile Frontier to the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, where it was displayed alongside the curiously updated 2020 Frontier.

Murphy’s truck is an extended-cab, midlevel SE version with the 6.5-foot bed, and it’s powered by a 2.5-liter inline four teamed with a 5-speed manual gearbox. That combination’s good for fuel economy — and apparently longevity — though it’s hard to imagine a million miles’ worth of shifting in one of the most congested metro areas in the country.

The truck shows few hints of wear outside of some rust bubbling at its rear fenders, and Nissan says that the truck’s engine and gearbox haven’t been opened up much, either. Major services included a clutch replacement at an astounding 801,000 miles, a new timing chain installed as a precautionary measure at around 700,000 miles, and that’s about it — though a new driver’s seat was fitted about halfway to the million-mile mark.

Nissan handed Murphy the keys to a new Frontier, and the automaker documented the digital odometer, which maxed out at 999,999.9 miles.

High-mile Frontiers are reasonably common on Autotrader, with a couple of dozen showing more than 200,000 miles. A Nissan dealer in Tallahassee, Florida, has this remarkably clean 2008 Frontier crew cab, which shows about 306,000 miles. Perhaps it’s time for the vaunted Toyota Hilux to step aside.

Nissan Frontier engine

The 2020 Frontier

Nissan surprised us with its announcement at the 2020 Chicago show that the current Frontier, which is nearly identical to the 2005 model, which went on sale in mid-2004, will soldier on for another year, albeit with a new 3.8-liter V6 engine hooked up to the 9-speed automatic transmission that Nissan uses in the larger Titan pickup.

The outgoing 4.0-liter V6 and the 2.5-liter inline four used in Murphy’s truck have been dropped, as has the manual transmission option.

What’s strangest about the move is that Nissan will only build the 2020 Frontier with the new engine for about half a year. A redesigned Frontier has been confirmed for the 2021 model year, and it’s set to debut before the end of this year.

The new V6 is unrelated, unfortunately, to the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 that Nissan uses in its GT-R monster, though the automaker says that it’s an entirely new design not based on existing engine architecture.

Nissan dealers in the U.S. will have 2020 Frontiers with the 3.8-liter V6 by late spring. Find a Nissan Frontier for sale

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Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz is an author specializing in helping in-market consumers get the most bang for their buck -- and the best car, while they're at it. When not virtually shopping for new and used cars, Andrew can probably be found under the hood of a vintage classic that's rapidly losing fluids.

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