Nissan Frontier, Stalwart Mid-Size Pickup

2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X

2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X

The Nissan Frontier enters 2019 with few changes to the rugged and proven Mid-sized success. Despite the lack of significant updates since the introduction of the Crew Cab in 2000 and a few changes to power and trim the Frontier plows on, retaining a loyal following and adding new adventurous owners. There is little incentive for Nissan to change a truck that hit sales goals as a rugged and dependable, inexpensive work truck, or as a no-frills adventure toy.

The Frontier’s entry-level price of just $20,035 makes it an appealing choice for many small businesses and budget-conscious individuals. The four-cylinder, standard shift model comes well equipped with Bluetooth hands-free, Siri Eyes Free, backup camera, cruise control, and air conditioning.

You can move up to a four-wheel drive, V6 Crew Cab model and still be under 30 grand. The Pro-4X edition that brings real-world off-road ability starts at only $33,530 in a King Cab and $34,190 for a Crew Cab. The Pro-4X adds skid plates under the fuel tank, transmission and engine and Bilstein shocks on all four corners. The two-speed transfer case and electronically locking differential help the small truck go almost anywhere.

Our test truck was the 2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4x optioned with the Premium Package that included Pro-4X logoed leather seats, power heated seats, power mirrors, and a functional roof rack. Base features were pretty comprehensive with Nissan Connect navigation, Apple Car Play, and Rockford Fosgate premium audio with 10 speakers and a sub-woofer. Inexplicably the higher level trim Pro-4X comes with a 5.8-inch touch screen while the lower trims have a 7 inch.

The performance was good from the 261-horsepower engine but could be improved with a better ratioed, 8-speed transmission to replace the 5-speed. Handling through turns is decent with a little body roll but good stability and steering response. There is a bit of road noise, partially due to the off-road thread tires used on this model.

Nissan Frontier functional bed, limited towing

The bed tie-down system of rails and cleats works very well whether you haul building material or dirt bikes. The load capacity of only 900 pounds and towing for the 4-wheel drive model of 3800 limits the mid-size truck some, but not enough to hurt sales to practical-minded buyers.

Fuel economy is not a strong point of the Frontier. We averaged only 16.5 for our week-long drive and in today’s market that is not good. The 4-cylinder powered King Cab claims an overall average of 21.

I found a few things on the negative side of the evaluation. Rear seat entry is difficult due to the small door frame opening, making it hard to bring your feet into the cab. The electronics, particularly the infotainment are clunky, dated and less than intuitive. The old body design, old but proven power and dated interior could easily last a few more years with some updates to the infotainment.

The Nissan Frontier comes in 5 trim levels; the S, SV, Pro-4X 4-wheel drive, the Desert Runner 2-wheel drive, and the top of the line SL. There is also a Midnight Edition available on the SV trim level.

Rocky Ridge Upfit

For anyone wanting to improve the appearance or off-road ability of the Frontier, there is the Rocky Ridge Trucks upfit version that adds a 2.5-inch lift, 17-inch wheels and 32-inch tires, modified shock towers, powder coated running boards and more appearance enhancements. The great feature of the Rocky Ridge Trucks upfit is that it comes from a Nissan approved vendor, can be financed with the new truck and carries a 36-month warranty without affecting the Nissan warranty.

In a highly competitive and expanding mid-size truck market the 2019 Nissan Frontier continues to hold its own by finding a sweet spot of functional performance that appeals to the market.

Check here for all the specs and pricing on your new Frontier

You can read last year’s review of the Frontier here

On air review

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