Trucks & SUVs

Does the Nissan Frontier Have a Manual Transmission?

While many drivers appreciate the ease of driving an automatic transmission vehicle, many driving purists still seek out a ride that offers a manual transmission. It often seems that manual transmissions are a dying breed, but there is a movement to bring recognition back to manual transmission vehicles. There is even a trending hashtag touting #savethemanuals.

Read on to learn why manual transmission lovers may want to take a closer look at the Nissan Frontier.

What’s the draw of a manual transmission?

A manual transmission differs from automatic transmission by requiring the driver to push in the clutch pedal while letting off the gas in order to shift gears. This disengages the clutch within the transmission, allowing the driver to put the car into a higher or lower gear. This allows the driver to control the speed of the vehicle, by shifting into the appropriate gear,

Driving a manual transmission vehicle brings with it a number of benefits. First, a manual transmission gives the driver more control over how hard the engine works and how much power gets to the wheels thanks to direct gear selection and torque transfer regulation. Manual transmission vehicles are also known for durability and low maintenance, in part due to their simpler mechanical specifications and fewer mechanical parts.

If the purchaser is cost-sensitive, they may be attracted to the lower cost of manual transmission vehicles. The manual may also save costs through increased fuel efficiency. The torque converter and hydraulic pump in an automatic transmission rob the car of some of its fuel efficiency.

There are certainly a number of benefits to opting for a manual transmission – if you can find one.

What’s available with the 2019 Nissan Frontier?

The Nissan Frontier has been a reliable and mostly unchanged offering in Nissan’s truck lineup. Those who opt for the Frontier generally aren’t out for the bells and whistles. Instead, they appreciate the comfortable ride, a truck bed well-appointed with cleats and tie-downs, off-road capability, and affordability.

Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
Nissan Frontier Pro-4X | Nissan

Understanding the offerings

The Frontier only offers two engine options:

  • Base Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 52 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque
  • Optional Engine: 4.0-liter six-cylinder with 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque

There are five trim levels that mix and match additional options.  For those reminiscent for the days of manual transmissions, this is where you need to pay attention to the Nissan Frontier.

  • S Trim: The base S Trim package comes with the King Cab, base engine, rear-wheel drive, and a five-speed manual transmission. An automatic transmission is available but for an extra cost. The Crew Cab S comes at a higher price point and includes the V6 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Four-wheel drive comes with an additional cost.
  • SV Trim: The SV offers the same powertrain and five and six-speed manual transmission options as the S trim but includes some additional features on top of the S Trim including power accessories. There is also a King Cab model available with the V6 engine.
  • Desert Runner: This model comes standard with the V6 engine and automatic transmission.
  • Pro-4X: This model should be attractive to off-road enthusiasts. It builds off the SV model package and includes off-road tires, specially tuned shocks, a locking rear differential, and skid plates. If you are looking for manual transmission, you will need to opt for the Crew Cab which comes with the six-speed manual.
  • SL: The top-level model only comes as a Crew Cab and only with the automatic transmission. It offers a number of luxury upgrades including all the infotainment options available in the other models, an upgraded audio system, and leather seats.

If you are committed to a manual transmission, you’ll need to decide between the five and six-speed options. The six-speed will require more shifting and the gears will be a bit more nuanced. The six-speed may also allow you to operate at lower RPMs and save fuel.

If you are on the hunt for a truck with manual transmission options, the Nissan Frontier S, SV, or Pro-4X are worth a look.