While the U.S. has not yet reached its peak in COVID-19 cases amid the ongoing pandemic and nationwide efforts to flatten the curve via stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, this is Cars.com’s first nearly coronavirus-free countdown of our most popular news articles of the week since the outbreak began. Maybe all this has some car shoppers wary about what’s to come looking for vehicles that will carry them through a dystopian future, or maybe folks ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ but a good time, as the song says, but two off-road-fabulous trucks ranked high: the Nissan Frontier Pro-4X and Toyota 4Runner.
Climbing to the No. 3 spot this week is Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman’s take on the 2020 Nissan Frontier, a pickup truck on a somewhat confounding road to redesign — as the automaker took the engine of the all-new-for-2021 model and put it in the body of the the previous generation for 2020. The new 3.8-liter V-6, making 310 horsepower and 281 pounds-feet of torque channeled through a new nine-speed automatic transmission transplanted from its Titan sibling, boasts a sizable boost in power over the outgoing model. Bragman didn’t get into the off-the-asphalt abilities of the Pro-4X model he tested, but he did note that if you’re a certain kind of truck shopper, the Frontier may be the last frontier for you.
“For fans of old-school Japanese trucks, it will be the last of its kind, older as it is than even the popular but dated Toyota Tacoma,” Bragman writes. “To be able to get that old-school Japanese truck design with a fully updated powertrain and slightly better fuel economy presents a very intriguing package indeed.”
Meanwhile, our rapid-fire rundown of the pros and cons of the 2020 version of another off-road-inclined favorite, the Toyota 4Runner, took the No. 4 position. Some of the things we like about this icon of rugged outdoorsiness, truck-based, body-on-frame SUV: its off-road prowess (natch), all-weather readiness, standard safety equipment, modern tech features and roomy interior. In the minus column: a clunky driving experience, poor fuel economy, loud exhaust and steep step-in height.
You can decide how you’d get on with these off-roaders by following the links below. Rounding out the top five, meanwhile, are our primer on how long you should expect the spark plugs in your car to last at No. 1, a federal safety recall of nearly 12,000 model-year 2020 Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles and Sonata sedans for a problem with the Remote Smart Parking system at No. 2 and news on when compact SUV shoppers can expect to see the redesigned-for-2021 Nissan Rogue arriving at dealerships at No. 5.
Beyond that, we’ve got news and reviews on the Toyota Tacoma, Cadillac Escalade, Hyundai Palisade and Ford F-150 (along with this week’s lone piece of coronavirus coverage), so keep reading. Here are the top 10 news stories Cars.com readers couldn’t get enough of in the past week:
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