Nissan D21 Performance

by Rob Wagner

The Nissan D21 pickup truck's common name was "Hardbody" because of its sturdy cargo box construction. Nissan manufactured the D21 model from mid-1986 to 1997. The vehicle had a base 2.4-liter engine that provided adequate power.


The Nissan D21 was equipped with a 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine with an 8.9-to-1 compression ratio and multipoint fuel injection system. The engine block was cast iron and the head was light alloy. It generated 134 horsepower, but was capable of delivering up to 143. It had up to 154 foot-pounds of torque. An optional 145 horsepower 3-liter V-6 also was available, but Nissan dropped it by 1996 because it failed to meet U.S. emissions standards, according to Edmunds.


Nissan matched the D21 Hardbody trucks with a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic. The 1994 model with the 2.4-liter and manual transmission earned 18 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. The manual V-6 achieved 17 mpg in urban driving and 22 on the highway, compared to 16 and 22 mpg, respectively, for the automatic V-6.


The payload of the Nissan Hardbody D21 was 2,000 lbs., which included a full load in the cargo box and up to three adults in the cab. Equipped with the inline four-cylinder engine, it could tow up to 3,500 lbs., while the V-6 could tow up to 5,000 lbs.

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