The 2023 Nissan Frontier S Base Model Is Basic

Potential buyers interested in a midsize truck will likely come across the 2023 Nissan Frontier. In the Nissan lineup, it’s the smaller of the two pickups and is more competitive than ever with the midsize truck segment. The third-generation Frontier received few changes for the 2023 model year after undergoing a complete redesign for the 2022 model. Fortunately, the Frontier S base model is affordable. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty basic.

How much is a 2023 Nissan Frontier S base model?

2023 Nissan Frontier S base model is basic.
The redesigned 2022 Nissan Frontier | Nissan Media

According to Edmunds, the 2023 Nissan Frontier S base model starts at $31,785. It’s slightly more costly than many other base-model midsize trucks. For example, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR is $29,415, and the 2023 Ford Ranger XL is $30,080. Fortunately, the price isn’t too different. However, we’d still expect the Frontier to be well-equipped since it costs a bit more than its rivals. Unfortunately, the 2023 Nissan Frontier S base model is basic.

Frontier S base model standard equipment

A person unloading a payload from the bed of a 2023 Nissan Frontier midsize truck
2023 Nissan Frontier | Nissan USA

First, every 2023 Nissan Frontier uses the same 3.8-liter V6 engine under the hood. It’s capable of producing 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. This is one of its biggest advantages over other trucks in its class. As of the current model year, many other models use a base four-cylinder or a less potent engine than the Nissan offering. In addition, rear-wheel drive is standard, but four-wheel drive with low-range gearing is available for all trim levels.

Exclusive to the S base model is only a few items. For example, the S uses 16-inch wheels that grow in size with higher trims. Next, the Frontier S comes with push-button start, cloth upholstery, a tilt-only steering wheel, six speakers, an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and forward collision mitigation.

For more equipment, buyers must purchase at least the SV trim and a few other packages. Although competitors like the Ford Ranger are similarly equipped, they’re also cheaper, with optional packages available for the base model. For example, the Ranger 101A package adds cruise control, power mirrors, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a larger screen, and more.

Unfortunately, S buyers can’t access options other than the safety-focused Technology package. The SV Convenience and SV Premium packages are unlocked with the Frontier SV.

The midsize truck segment is competitive

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Although the 2023 Nissan Frontier S is affordable and comes with enough equipment for some buyers, it isn’t quite enough to beat the competition. The midsize truck segment is highly competitive and going against titans like the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Honda Ridgeline isn’t easy. Similar equipment is available for a lower starting price with these other models. The Frontier’s main advantage is its powerful V6 engine, which beats rival offerings, like the Ranger’s turbo 2.3-liter four-cylinder, making just 270 horsepower.

Unfortunately, it isn’t enough for the Frontier to do “truck things.” For example, True Car says the Frontier maxes out its towing capacity at 6,720 pounds. However, the Ranger can pull up to 7,500 pounds, while the even better Chevrolet Colorado can tow 7,700. As a result, even with a beefier standard engine than some rivals, the Frontier falls short.

A basic base model 2023 Nissan Frontier

In conclusion, the 2023 Nissan Frontier S base model is basic. However, it’s just over $30,000, which makes it more expensive than many other midsize trucks. Additionally, its most significant advantage is horsepower with its standard engine. Unfortunately, that gives it inferior fuel economy and isn’t enough to help it tow more than rivals. Lastly, the Frontier S comes under-equipped. Even models from Ford and Toyota are very similarly-equipped to the most basic Frontier, but they don’t cost as much.