Trucks & SUVs

Nissan Frontier: A Budget Option to Consider When Shopping for a Family Truck

While the Nissan Frontier isn’t flashy, it provides value for the price. The Frontier starts at $19,090 and gets serviceable but not extraordinary marks for safety, predictability, and style. For any family on a budget, the Frontier is a great mid-size truck to consider.

Nissan Frontier specifications

While power may not be the first thing that families consider, a family truck must be powerful enough to transport kids, pets, belongings, and more. Coming with several options, the Frontier brings the right balance of power and performance.

Drivers have two engine options: a 2.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine or a 4.0-liter, 24-valve, six-cylinder. If you opt for the four-cylinder, you will get 152 hp and torque of 171 lb-ft. The six-cylinder provides a powerful 261 hp and torque of 281 lb-ft.

As a family vehicle, you can feel safe choosing the four-cylinder. This engine will still be able to carry your family’s cargo, whether it’s a jet ski or a rack of bikes. The choices don’t end there. You can also choose between manual and automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

One feature that’s important for a family vehicle is space. The Frontier’s delivery here is not perfect; it has a cramped interior and limited bed capacity. It does come in standard King Cab and extended Crew Cab models. For interior space, the King Cab seats four, but the back row is a bit cramped and hard to access. The Crew Cab models seat five but also feels like a tight fit.

The King Cab will give you a six-foot truck bed, while the Crew Cab truck bed is five feet long. Bed capacity is on the low end for mid-size trucks at 33.5 cubic feet. Regardless of size, the high-tensile-steel ladder chassis can handle loads of up to 1,460 pounds. If this is your family truck, the lower bed capacity may not phase you.

The Nissan Frontier’s safety features

Safety is crucial for families. While the Frontier’s safety reviews were a bit mixed, it comes through as a reliably-safe family vehicle. The truck doesn’t impress, however, when it comes to advanced safety features.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Frontier a crash test rating of four out of five stars. It scored the highest rating in three Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests. Some tests, however, turned up Acceptable and Marginal ratings as well.

Nissan did not focus on advanced safety features for its Frontier. It only has a rear-view camera as a standard feature. Families don’t have the option to add many safety features, because the only optional one involves rear parking sensors.

Nissan Frontier’s family focus

The Frontier delivers on features that’ll make family drives more enjoyable, including a seven-inch touch screen and four-speaker audio system as standard features. Optional features include:

  • Six- or 10-speaker audio systems
  • Power windows and locks
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Moonroof
  • Heated front seats
  • Navigation system

While the list of optional features is a bit limited, this helps keep the price low. Importance absences include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

So what’s the verdict?

The Nissan Frontier has some notable limitations, including cramped cab space and limited safety and family features. If you want to splurge on a vehicle, these limitations should be considered dealbreakers. In the budget market, however, the Frontier still offers impressive reliability and power for a low starting price of $19,090.