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So my brother and I both have Frontiers, but when I drive his it feels so much more powerful and responsive. For starters, mine is a 2006 KC 4x4 with around 129k miles, steel engine skid, rock sliders, a steel shell, and around 100 lbs of tools. My brothers Frontier is a 2018 CC 4x2 with around 32K miles, a bunch of tools in the back, shell, ladder rack, and two ladders. I'm well aware that my Frontier is a lot heavier, but even when it was bone stock, and he still had all of his extra weight, my brothers Frontier felt better.

My question is, was there any updates to the transmission or engine between 2006 and 2018 that could cause this? His transmission also seems to be quicker to downshift, and it also likes to hold onto lower gears for much longer than mine does. My Frontier always seems to be in a rush to hit 5th gear. I'm maintained my truck very well, and change the transmission fluid with it's correct fluid every time. I've read about earlier Frontiers having a governor below 40ish mph, but that still doesn't explain the transmission's shifting differences. Any information would be greatly appreciated, I tried searching for an answer for my question bot couldn't find one.
 

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The engines are the same for all intensive purposes. The transmissions are the same, but the TCM programming is likely different between the two. The biggest difference I see is the drivetrain. Even in 2WD mode, you still may lose some power through the transfer case. There could also be a difference in gearing between the two that could make a big difference. Also, if I'm not mistaken, I believe Nissan did away with the Wide Open Throttle (WOT) restriction several years ago? Maybe you should install an XTP plenum spacer and get a performance programmer to even things up? ;)
 

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Depending on trim, different gear ratios in the axle(s) is completely possible.
Engine and transmission are the same. Never a change to anything major.
Don't dismiss a little bit of weight. It makes a noticeable difference.
 

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An exercise in 'schools of thought':
I've seen/read/experienced it before that certain ways of breaking-in a new engine can lead to more power on down the road.
 
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