Frontier vs Colorado, Battle for Least Expensive Truck in America

Mid-size pickup trucks are fun and useful. That is why the American automotive consumer buys so many of them. However, in these times of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, people are scaling back their budgets. So, the question has arisen, which is the least expensive new mid-size truck in America? Is it the Nissan Frontier or the Chevrolet Colorado?

A red 2020 Nissan Frontier pickup truck on display at a car show
2020 Nissan Frontier | Steven Pham via Roadshow

The 2020 Nissan Frontier

The current generation Nissan Frontier has been around for what seems like forever. It is not the best-equipped truck, the fanciest truck, or the most fuel-efficient truck. But, it is a pickup truck. And, up until recently, it was available at just under $20,000. That made it the least expensive mid-size truck available in America.

The Nissan Frontier recently received a few changes however, that ups the manufacturers suggested retail price quite a bit. For starters, the 2020 model year Frontier received a new engine. It’s a new V6. The old 4-cylinder has also been done away with. Additionally, power windows, power locks, tilting steering, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel have been added as standard features. Those changes mean more money out of pocket. Now, the least expensive Frontier available is $7,500 more than the previous model year.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado

The changes to the Frontier for the new model year means that the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado, extended cab, long bed pickup is now the least expensive mid-size pickup in America. For $22,495 the Colorado even includes an automatic transmission and 200 horsepower in its least expensive configuration. Additionally, it is better at the gas pump. The Colorado achieves 20/26/22 (city/highway/combined) mileage ratings. The Frontier was at 19/23/21.

The price jump for the Frontier was so dramatic, that even the basest Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma models are now priced lower in America. The Colorado, however, has now become the king of the least expensive pickup trucks. But, its crown as king is not as shiny as it could be.


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Truck Lacks luster 

The current generation of the Colorado has also been out for a good amount of time. In that time, competitors have been able to add safety features that the Colorado lacks. Systems like forward-collision warning and lane departure warning are only available on higher trim levels of the Colorado.  Other systems, like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, are found in competitors, but not the Colorado. So, being the least expensive does have its drawbacks. But, if you are looking for the least expensive truck, you are probably willing to make some concessions anyway. 

Both the Frontier and Colorado offer the mid-size truck versatility the consumers long for. If they didn’t the manufacturers would have stopped making them. So, their existence proves that a mid-size truck still has its place in the automotive landscape. It’s just that the landscape has become a lot tighter on funds due to the COVID-19 situation. So, the least expensive truck may be getting all the attention for a while. That truck would be the Chevrolet Colorado.