The Nissan Frontier is an established and proven platform that is basically unchanged in the last dozen years. To some that may not be a good thing, but for those looking for a dependable and off road capable small pickup it adds confidence
The Frontier is available as basic work truck platform with the S model that comes with an extended cab and long bed with a 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed manual transmission for under 19 thousand, including air conditioning and rear view camera. The S model has limited options and is targeted as a bare bones work truck. It is available with the 5 speed automatic transmission but 4 wheel drive is not offered on the S models.
If you want more power or goodies you move up to the SV or SV 6 cylinder. These come with power windows, locks and mirrors. If you add the Value Truck Package you also get dual zone air conditioning, rear parking sensors, bed extender, heated seats, spray in bed liner, trailer hitch and the Utili-Track cargo management system in the bed. The package is less than two grand and a very good investment.
The V6 4 liter engine
kicks out a decent 261 horsepower and 281 pounds of torque. That makes the small truck capable of towing about 6500 pounds. If you need to haul much more than that you should have a bigger truck with a larger footprint.
The last few years Nissan has shifted a lot of the Frontier focus into the off road adventure market and now offers both the 2 wheel drive Desert Runner and the Pro 4X models that are off road ready from the dealers show room. The 9 inches ground clearance, all terrain tires and sharp approach angles on the off road Frontiers make quick work of challenging terrain. With the electronic locking differential, the
Pro 4X performs like a 4 wheeled Billy goat.
Because the Frontier has not had a major restyle in more than a decade some of the styling is out of date, particularly on the interior. Most of the truck, inside and out is square cut lines designed for function more than aesthetic appeal. Infotainment is dated, but still functional and improves with higher trim options. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are missing. The interior trim is neither plush nor fancy and in many ways I find that appealing.
The Nissan Frontier behaves well on the road
with quick steering, good brakes and decent acceleration. It lacks a bit on seat comfort for long hauls, especially in the rear seat with their very upright seat back. The cabin is noisier than most of the others in this class with pronounced wind and tire noise at speed. It drives like a small pickup, not like a luxury sedan with a box on the back end.
One of the best features of the Nissan Frontier is the cargo handling Utili-Track system that allows unlimited tiedown configurations and accepts an assortment of mounted accessories such as a sliding toolbox.
If you’re looking for a practical and dependable small pickup on a budget the Frontier may fill the bill. If you want to off road, ride adventure trails or get lost in the wilderness the Frontier is definitely worthy of a look.
Our test truck was the SV Crew Cab V6 Automatic with the Value Truck Package and the Midnight Edition stickered at $32,585.
For more information and full specifications on the Nissan Frontier go here
Listen to the on air review by Auto Mojo below