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There’s really no getting around it, new pickup trucks have become extremely expensive. Including models that used to be fairly cheap, like the Nissan Frontier. If you want a 2023 Frontier, you will likely be paying over $30,000 in order to get one. And because of that, buying a used mid-size truck might make more sense. But, which used Frontier should you buy if you want to do some off-roading with your pickup?

What is the best year for the Nissan Frontier?

To most, the 2019 Frontier might be the best used model. The Nissan Frontier was first released in the United States back in 1998, but models built after 2005 are where you should start your search. Known as the D40, this generation of Frontier lasted for nearly 20 years, which is a fairly rare sight in the automotive world. But, it means there are plenty of options out there if you want a used mid-size truck. 

The D40 featured two different engine options, a four-cylinder and a V6. If you want an off-road truck, you should opt for a Frontier equipped with the 4.0-liter V6 engine. It makes 261 horsepower and 281 pound-foot of torque. Plus, you can get it with four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission if you prefer. 

How long was the second-gen Frontier in production?

The second-gen Frontier first went on sale for the 2005 model year, and production lasted until 2021. With such a long lifestyle, there are plenty of used examples out there. You can even find one with low miles if you are willing to pay a premium. 

The best used Nissan Frontier pickup truck include this 2018 version
The 2018 Nissan Frontier pickup truck | Nissan

According to Vehicle History, the Nissan Frontier did get a refresh in 2009. This adding things like new color options and better technology. Generally speaking, a D40 is a reliable truck. But if you can avoid it, you should skip models built between 2005 and 2008. According to some owners, the automatic transmission from these years can be problematic.

Is the Nissan Frontier PRO-4X a good off-road truck?

The PRO-4X Frontier replaced the Nismo model in 2009. It is the off-road version of Nissan’s mid-size truck, and production continues to this day. The PRO-4X package adds a variety of features to help with capability. So, if you want a used 4×4 pickup, it might be a good idea to limit your search to this trim. 

Nissan's mid-size truck, the Frontier is shown off-roading in a remote area.
Nissan Frontier | Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Nissan Frontier PRO-4X makes 4WD standard, plus it comes with a locking rear differential. If you prefer to row your own gears, the Frontier was sold with a manual transmission until the third generation. 

Should you buy a used Frontier?

The Nissan Frontier has consistently proved itself to be a reliable truck. The D40 model was on sale long enough that most problems have been acknowledged and corrected. A quick search on AutoTempest shows that you can likely find a PRO-4X Frontier for under $20,000. If you are willing to buy an older model with higher mileage. 

Overall, the Frontier can make a solid off-road pickup. And, you can probably get it for cheaper than a rival like the Toyota Tacoma. So if you want a mid-size truck and are on a budget, don’t skip out on the Frontier.


Could This Used Nissan Frontier Be Best?