2023 Nissan Frontier Review: Tantalizing Power Isn’t Everything
2023 Nissan Frontier Review:
- 2023 Nissan Frontier: $29,190 – $38,900
- Midsize Pickup Truck of Texas – Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA)
- Pros: Stout standard power, attractive interior, plenty of storage space
- Cons: Heavy steering, massive blind spots, dated tech
- MotorBiscuit score: 7.9
The 2023 Nissan Frontier soldiers on with massive improvements that debuted with the third generation in 2022. It’s well-rounded with a smoother performance, a quieter cabin, and upgraded interior materials.
One of the best aspects is the standard V6 engine with a smooth and powerful acceleration. However, this truck feels a bit incomplete due to a few issues that stick out like a sore thumb. The steering is overly heavy at lower speeds, and the infotainment screen could feel more modern.
The Frontier is newer than the 2023 Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, and Honda Ridgeline but still has more of an old-school feel. But the entry-level work truck model is affordable, and the top-spec Frontier Pro-4X is competitive with Bilstein dampers and skid plates.
2023 Nissan Frontier: What’s new?
The 2023 Nissan Frontier is primarily a carryover model with fresh upgrades from 2022. But the new Midnight Edition appearance package adds 17-inch black wheels, black exterior mirrors, black badges, and other accents.
With the SV trim, the SV Convenience package is now standard. It includes a heated leather steering wheel, heated front seats, under-rail bed lighting, and a spray-in bed liner.
Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are standard with the Pro-X and Pro-4X trims. Also, Lava Red contrast stitching is now included with the Pro Premium package.
Which 2023 Nissan Frontier trim is best?
There are four 2023 Nissan Frontier trims available:
- Nissan Frontier S: $29,190
- Nissan Frontier SV: $33,470
- Nissan Frontier Pro-X: $35,900
- Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: $38,900
The 2023 Nissan Frontier SV is a solid option for keeping the price low while adding comfortable features such as heated seats, a trailer hitch with a wiring harness, dual-zone automatic climate control, and proximity keyless entry.
There are incentives for moving up to the Pro-4X model, such as a locking differential, extra skid plates, LED headlights, all-terrain tires, a 10-speaker premium Fender audio system, and an available 360-degree camera display.
How does the 2023 Nissan Frontier drive?
It’s hard not to smile when you hit the gas in the 2023 Nissan Frontier. The standard 3.8-liter V6 engine cranks out 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in roughly 7.5 seconds.
That’s average for the class, and the Frontier has more power than rivals like the Toyota Tacoma have to offer. The engine provides a peppy acceleration for athletic trips around town and ample power for merging into traffic.
We’re fans of the responsive and confident braking, especially compared to the Tacoma’s dated rum brakes. However, the steering has oddly heavy at lower speeds and takes some muscle and getting used to.
The handling is more confident and responsive at higher speeds. Also, it doesn’t have the best turning radius at 21.65 to 23.88 feet. The heavy steering can make maneuvering around tight parking lots and narrow trails a bit of a hassle. Tons of three-point turns come with this truck.
Can the Nissan Frontier go off-roading?
Yes, the 2023 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X is well-equipped for tackling trails but doesn’t have as much equipment or software as the Jeep Gladiator or Toyota Tacoma. For example, it only has a locking differential in the rear.
It does have a respectable ground clearance of 9.8 inches with decent hill control, hill start assist, and 4WL. The off-roading modes for snow, rock, and sand are missing, but at least it has the basics covered.
The Frontier has plenty of power for tackling inclines, mud, and ruts. However, smaller impacts send jitter through the cabin as it seems to glide over larger imperfections. More camera modes and off-roading stats would help with the lack of visibility.
We don’t see it keeping up with the Toyota Tacoma or Jeep Gladiator, but it can go further than the Honda Ridgeline. It can tackle above-average off-roading trails and obstacles to get the job done.
Is the 2023 Nissan Frontier comfortable?
Yes, the 2023 Nissan Frontier is a relatively comfortable truck. It’s definitely more comfortable than the outgoing generation, but it doesn’t dampen impacts as well as the 2023 Chevy Colorado.
It also feels a little rougher than the Colorado and Tacoma on gravel, sandy, and muddy trails. The cabin is a bit noisy at highway speeds, but the premium audio system covers wind and road noise well.
The front seats are well-padded and supportive, with plenty of bolstering to hold you in place. However, the bottom cushion is a bit flat and may start to feel stiff around the hour mark during longer trips.
The front seats could use a few more adjustment controls, and the rear could use some air vents. The rear seat is about the same size as the seats in the outgoing generation. There is enough space for shorter passengers to remain comfortable during quick trips.
Also, the rear seatbacks sit at an upright angle, and there isn’t much space to stretch out. Only two shorter adults can fit back there, and maybe three smaller children.
How would we rate the 2023 Nissan Frontier interior?
The 2023 Nissan Frontier interior is plush and upscale. It’s honestly nicer than expected, especially compared to the outgoing generation’s heavy use of plastic and other cheap materials.
Plush leather seats promote a welcoming, upscale environment with attractive Lava Red contrast stitching to draw the eye. Soft touch covered surfaces and plush carpeting complete the comfortable yet confident ambiance.
The doors open wide for easy access. Entering and exiting the truck isn’t a challenge. It’s designed with a well-planned layout that puts everything you need within reach. The controls are clearly labeled and intuitive.
Our only gripe includes the lack of visibility. It can be difficult to see over the bulking hood, the side mirror is a little small, and the rear window is narrow. Thank goodness a 360-degree camera system and parking sensors are available to make up for the difference.
Does the 2023 Frontier have good tech?
The tech in the 2023 Nissan Frontier is adequate. Things like voice commands and built-in navigation could be better, but the systems work. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard, but you can upgrade to a 9.0-inch unit.
Plus, the digital guage cluster is a modern perk. But the screens don’t have the best solution, and the menus look dated. The cameras don’t have the best resolution either. But the system works quickly, and certain settings are easy to adjust.
The Fender audio system sounds great, but the subwoofer takes up some space under the rear seats. It’s a little odd that wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are limited to higher trims.
How does the Nissan Frontier do with towing and storage?
The 2023 Nissan Frontier can tow up to 6,720 lbs and carry a payload of up to 1,697 lbs. It falls a bit short in the towing department as rivals liege the Jeep Gladiator and Chevy Colorado can tow up to 7,700 lbs.
But if you’re looking to pull over 6,729 lbs, then it might be worth considering a full-size truck. Optional features like the adjustable tie-down cleats, spray-in bed liner, and 120-volt outlet come in handy.
Storage space is one of the areas where the Frontier shines, with plenty of cubbies and trays to take advantage of. There is a nice bin behind the infotainment screen, and the center console is generous.
The seat pockets are average but useful, and the door sides can hold larger bottled items. The seats are easy to fold up, but storage bins take up some of the floor space.
How safe is the Nissan Frontier?
The 2023 Nissan Frontier has an average safety rating for the class. It has the same issues as rivals regarding rear seat safety. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Frontier a Marginal score.
It received a ‘Good’ rating in almost every other category, which is the highest score possible. It has a Superior rating for the ability to avoid collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles during the day but got an Advanced rating for avoiding collisions at night.
The headlights received Acceptable and Poor scores due to having inadequate visibility around curves and on both sides of the road.
Standard safety features include:
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Lane departure warning
- Rear automatic braking
- Adaptive cruise control
- Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection
How Reliable is the 2023 Nissan Frontier?
The 2023 Nissan Frontier has an above-average reliability rating. It’s a solid workhorse, and J.D.Power gave it a score of 83 out of 90. Scores between 81 and 90 are above average, while anything between 91 to 100 is best.
You can expect the average Frontier model to last between 100,000 to 200,000 miles, but it’s not uncommon for properly maintained Frontiers to reach 250,000 miles.
If you drive an average of 15,000 miles per year, then your Frontier could provide about 13 years of service on the road.
It costs roughly $70 to maintain the Nissan Frontier annually. This means it has below-average ownership costs. The average new vehicle costs about $650 to maintain yearly.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2023 Nissan Frontier a score of 7.9 out of 10
The experts at MotorBiscuit have awarded the 2023 Nissan Frontier with a score of 7.9 out of 10. While the Nissan Frontier delivers old-school charm, stout standard power, and serves as a capable work truck, some things don’t add up.
At higher speeds, the Frontier is very athletic, but the steering is heavy at lower speeds. A lack of adjustment controls makes it difficult to find a position to get around massive blind spots.
The interior is upscale and pretty comfortable, but the seats are stiff. Also, for such a new truck, the tech is a little disappointing. A midcycle refresh can take care of these issues. We hope to see how the SV trim compares to the Pro-4X model soon.