Trucks & SUVs

Is 2020 the Year When People Stop Buying the Nissan Frontier?

For years, the Nissan Frontier has been a dependable and practical work truck, relied on by people across the country. Like many vehicles, the Frontier has seen a pretty significant drop in sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with its critical reception beginning to sour, it’s hard to pin the Frontier’s poor sales figures entirely on the virus. Here’s what the data from GoodCarBadCar has to say — and why the Frontier might be on its last legs.

A steep drop in the Nissan Frontier’s sales

The Nissan Frontier’s sales are certainly at their lowest this year, with only 19,074 sold thus far in the U.S. in 2020. Nissan’s struggles aren’t exactly new, though. In fact, estimations suggest that Nissan didn’t make a profit in 2019. U.S. sales figures for the Frontier mirror this 2019 dip — only around 72,000 sold, compared to nearly 80,000 in 2018.

For the past few years, the Frontier’s sales have been bobbing up and down, with temporary spikes followed by significant drops. All this fluctuation makes it easy to wonder what the future of the Frontier will be as its poor sales figures don’t seem to be due to the pandemic alone.

The practicality of the Frontier

The Nissan Frontier may not be doing so well, but it holds a certain appeal for people looking for a simple, practical truck with no bells and whistles. Starting at around $27,885, the Frontier’s affordability can’t be beat. In fact, Car and Driver describes it as “the cheapest pickup truck around.”

In addition to its low price tag, the Frontier is impressively durable, with good tow ratings. The 2020 model has a 3.8-liter V6 engine that makes 310 hp, and it has a max towing capacity of 6,700 pounds. Additionally, the Frontier can manage weights of up to 1,400 pounds in the truck bed.

While this pickup doesn’t have much to offer in the way of modern tech or comfort features, it’s certainly capable of doing an honest day’s work. This, in combination with its low price, makes it a decent option for tradesmen or contractors, Car and Driver reports.

Why it’s not looking too good for this pickup

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Despite its practicality, the Nissan Frontier might struggle to hold its own against competitors with more modern designs. Car and Driver notes that the Frontier hasn’t had any significant redesigns since 2005. It has no driver-assist features, save for a standard backup camera. Its infotainment system has no Wi-Fi hotspot and lacks capabilities for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and its crash-test ratings are unimpressive.

Additionally, the Frontier’s cabin is less than comfortable. It is filled with hard plastics, has cramped rear seats, and doesn’t even offer optional comfort features such as a telescoping steering wheel or wireless charging. 

Car and Driver also observes that the Frontier doesn’t handle particularly well. Reviewers describe “lazy steering feedback and excessive body motion” that really isn’t ideal for safe driving. This pickup also suffers from a loud cabin on bumpy roads, and the brake pedal isn’t as responsive as one might hope.

As Nissan continues its nosedive, the Frontier certainly seems like it might be on its way out. With so many rivals boasting modern technology, excellent safety ratings, and comfortable cabins, it’s unlikely that people will continue to choose the outdated, overly simplistic Frontier. With each passing year, this pickup has fallen further and further behind the competition.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is simply adding to a problem that Nissan already had. The Frontier is just one of many outdated vehicles, and we can only hope that its upcoming redesign will turn things around for this stalwart pickup truck.