Home » The 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition Is An Expensive Nostalgia Trip That Actually Rules

The 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition Is An Expensive Nostalgia Trip That Actually Rules

2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition Ts2
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The retro special edition tightrope is a tricky one to walk. Fall off, and you could get something insincere. Stay on, and you could have a minor hit like the Ford F-150 Heritage Edition. However, it turns out that there’s another way of traversing it — Nissan figured out how to do backflips on it. The 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition throws things back to the 1980s in the best way possible as a tribute to the iconic Nissan Hardbody pickup, and I wholeheartedly adore it.

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Back in the 1980s, Nissan was looking to replace the 720 pickup truck with something a little more evocative. The name chosen in America? Hardbody, probably chosen because it was a chiseled, tough-as-nails sex machine of a small pickup truck. Back in the day, it was the most handsome small truck on the market. These days, if you park an immaculate Hardbody next to the latest Ferrari, nobody will give a glance to the prancing horse. It’s just a damn good-looking, damn hardworking truck that I cannot say enough good things about. When you have an icon like this in your back catalog, it only makes sense to revive it.

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The anchors of the 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition are undoubtedly the amazing set of three-spoke alloy wheels, period-correct in style yet upsized to fit modern all-terrain rubber. This truck could’ve been a bust if Nissan didn’t commit to the wheel bit, but the follow-through here is impeccable. Adding to the ’80s flare is a tough set of flares and a skid plate, while the tubular design of the old-school sport bar in the bed is mirrored perfectly in the rock rails bolted to either side of the truck. Topping it all off is a blacked-out front end and a wicked set of graphics, because graphics were the absolute shit back in the 1980s. It all adds up to a truck with off-road looks that eschews tactical machismo for a bit of lighthearted fun. If there’s one thing the world could use more of in 2023, it’s lighthearted fun.

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Of course, it also helps that the new Nissan Frontier is surprisingly good. Between the historically decent VQ family engine, minimal stuff to break, and solid construction, I feel like this is one truck that will last and last. A lack of turbochargers, hybrid assistance, and most other newfangled contraptions should satiate buyers looking for a stress-free long-term automotive relationship. Of course, the jury’s still out on the new nine-speed automatic transmission, but psychological security makes dropping serious coin on a new truck easier.

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However, there’s sure to be contention over just how much coin Nissan is charging for the Frontier Hardbody. The automaker may have started with the relatively affordable SV trim, but this package adds $3,890 to a one-step-up-from-base 4×4 crew cab Frontier. Total price? $42,095 including a $1,335 freight charge. Yep, the Hardbody Edition is the second-most-expensive Frontier for the 2024 model year despite its utilitarian styling.

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Yes, unique wheels are expensive to design, engineer, and make to OEM standards, but all the vinyl graphics can’t have cost an arm and a leg. In addition, the sport bar and mud flaps are already available from Nissan dealerships for every Frontier, and margins on accessories are often cushy. Nissan will need to find a very specific sort of buyer for this truck, but that might not be an issue.

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Goddamn, if this isn’t a good-looking truck, I don’t know what is. It just hits all the right nostalgic spots including that anxiety-caused tightness in your neck you didn’t even realize you had. Suddenly, I have a craving for Frutopia and Dunkaroos, miss G4 more than usual, and want to throw on some Sum 41. I’m not old enough to have ‘80s nostalgia, but Nissan Hardbody trucks were everywhere in the 2000s and they absolutely ruled. Sure, putting on the rose-tinted glasses of cherry-picked memories is a cheap drug, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work sometimes. The 2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition is awesome, and I hope Nissan sells so many that it become a permanent trim.

(Photo credits: Nissan)

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Plesiomorphus primitivus
Plesiomorphus primitivus
9 months ago

Meh. The 720 was a better-looking truck.

Bearddevil
Bearddevil
9 months ago

But why can’t you get the package on the King Cab?! Gahhh.

pizzaman09
pizzaman09
9 months ago

As the owner of a 1990 vintage pickup with full length stripe graphics, they definitely missed an opportunity on the graphics. The wheels are wonderful. It doesn’t quite look like a throwback though with the crew cap short bed. I bought my truck because a single cab 6 ft be is actually useful.

Frown Victoria
Frown Victoria
9 months ago

I would do unspeakable things for a set of these wheels

Spotimusprime
Spotimusprime
9 months ago
Reply to  Frown Victoria

i’ve been on the hunt for them for my 06

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago

Now watch everyone who buys one take the awesome retro wheels off and slap on a set of unnecessarily wide black bedazzled brodozer rimz… On the bright side, should be easy enough to procure a set of them for other vehicles.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
9 months ago

This is a great marketing exercise built around one of the nicest wheel designs ever put on the road. Totally agree about the lack of “nostrils” on the hood/front fascia, but the black appliqué on the tailgate feels like an homage to the first-gen Pathfinder.

No, it probably doesn’t go far enough as a tribute … but it’s handsome, it’s interesting, and it’s gotten dozens of us to talk about it. For Nissan, it’s mission accomplished, and they’ll sell every one they can.

Ian Cox
Ian Cox
9 months ago

The only reason people have a hard-on for the Hardbody in the US is because it so happens that they used that marketing name for the D21 Navara for the US market and the D21 was an old school honest pickup that people pine for from the 1980’s.

It’s just a marketing name, one that never stopped being used for Nissan’s in other markets. The D22 in South Africa was called the Hardbody from 1997 to 2022.

Nothing special about it.

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Cox

Party pooper

Studdley
Studdley
9 months ago

Cool, more nostalgia baiting lazy rehashing. The 80s are over, it’s time to move on.

Johnny Anxiety
Johnny Anxiety
9 months ago
Reply to  Studdley

How about just do what you were going to do anyway and just not buy it?

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
9 months ago
Reply to  Studdley

You’re living in the past, man! You’re hung up on some clown from the 60s, man! <S

Tsorel
Tsorel
10 months ago

Since it’s just a truck, I would much rather have the original with its greater utility and better looks. Don’t need to carry three or four other people with me to the hardware store.

Theresatimetocomment
Theresatimetocomment
9 months ago
Reply to  Tsorel

Yes. But also I can’t afford to have a hardware store exclusive vehicle.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago

Well… they got the wheels right I guess.

That is all.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
10 months ago

In the 80’s it earned the nickname Hardbody because Nissan used thicker gauge steel than any other import truck.

CSRoad
CSRoad
9 months ago
Reply to  Dodsworth

For all these years I thought it was some weird Japanese advertising reference to the movie Hardbodies.

Spotimusprime
Spotimusprime
9 months ago
Reply to  CSRoad

That would be the acclaimed documentary, Hands on a Hardbody. (in all seriousness, check it out)

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago
Reply to  Spotimusprime

unintentially tragic movie

ScottyB
ScottyB
10 months ago

Too damn big. The Hardbody trucks were great because they had no BS looks, weren’t stupidly huge, and you could outfit one all the way from being a great alternative to an economy car in standard cab/2WD all the way up to being an extra cab 4WD.

Using the name on this just ruins a legacy nameplate.

Ian Cox
Ian Cox
9 months ago
Reply to  ScottyB

Not really a legacy nameplate Hardbody is just a marketing name which Nissan used in various markets at various times. It was used on the D22 Navara in South Africa until last year when they stopped making it.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

Sorry this needs a base level trim completing with the Maverick price levels with different levels to get to $45,000. Otherwise nobody buying just watching elite trim Mavericks outselling the $45,000 entry level hard body.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
10 months ago

Goddamn, if this isn’t a good-looking truck”
Except for everything at the front.
And the back.
And the “Mini SuperDuty” front window dip.
The original Hardbody had such clean styling.
Why did Nissan think it needed to go all GM/Transformer/AngryLinesEverywhere with this?
The wheels are nice tho.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
9 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

And except for the weird proportions of the 4-door/nearly useless short bed configuration. I’d rather do a King Cab (extended) and leave off the extras.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
10 months ago

As a teenager, my wife had to drive a late 80’s Nissan hardbody 4×4 after her Dynasty blew up. Her dad told her “well..you want a car to drive, I ain’t buying you one, so all you have is the truck I use to haul shit around if you want”

No power steering, no power brakes, manual windows/locks, manual transmission, manual hubs for 4WD, no a/c, and had one of those 80’s radios that you could pull out of the dash with a handle for anti-theft.

Since hardbodies didn’t really have a logo on them or identifier, she always has referred to it as “The 1986 Nissan Nothing”

…I can’t wait to tell her that Nissan is making a new “Nissan Nothing Edition Frontier”

Side-note: that vehicle makes her think that anything relatively modern is basically a rolls royce. The Hardbody also made it so she is the best manual transmission driver I have ever seen in my entire life, better than me, there…I said it.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

Side side note it explains how she settled for you! Note this is a joke. I do not know you or your wife.i am sure you are a lovely couple. But that does not make people laugh.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

hahaha nah I read your comment to my wife and she agrees and thought it was funny

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago

I thought the ladies might enjoy that one.

Jeff Jordan
Jeff Jordan
10 months ago

How does it compare/contrast to a Pro-X or Pro-4X? The Frontier really seems like the last “old school with updates” mid-sized pick-up with GM and Toyota going with either turbos and/or hybrids. Fords were already there.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
10 months ago

I am so sad to see sport bars come back. They seem to look worse these days with longer cabs and shorter beds.

TheSixSpeed
TheSixSpeed
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Stock

I adore this truck. It would be cool if they also did an SE version of this, with two tone and chrome bumpers, like so: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1993-nissan-hardbody-4×4-pickup-6/

That way you get retro goodness with no sportsbar.

Last edited 10 months ago by TheSixSpeed
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