The Nissan Frontier is Nissan’s entry in the mid-sized truck market of America, but it’s seen better days. Asides from a small update in 2008, the Frontier’s been largely the same since it was rolled out in 2004. But after 15 years, Nissan is finally updating it. Here are The Drive’s final thoughts on the Frontier before Nissan unveils the new Frontier.
Still in working shape
Although the Frontier is 15 years old, many things that it came equipped with still work well, according to The Drive. The sound system in particular still sounds as good as it can be. The Bilstein shocks, which provides an improved ride comfort and ride quality, are still doing their job well, too. Other features and amenities, like heated seats and dual-zone climate control, also came standard in the Frontier that The Drive drove.
Other similar trucks, like the Toyota Tacoma, only offer dual-zone climate control as an optional feature rather than as a standard feature. And, as The Drive mentioned, the Frontier has its legally required backup camera, so the Frontier isn’t an old beater by any means.
Asides from those creature comforts, the Frontier is still capable of doing what a truck ought to be able to do. It can still tow and haul stuff just fine. The Frontier that The Drive tested had a 4.0-liter V6 engine that generated 261-hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. It could tow over 6,000 lb and it could carry a 1,000 lb payload. Its fuel economy isn’t too bad either, as it got 15 MPG in the city, 21 MPG on the highway, and 17 MPG combined.
Not all is well
Nissan didn’t want to update the Frontier in order to keep it the cheapest pickup truck in its class, according to The Drive. But it’s not that cheap and what it does offer, is simply not enough. The trim that The Drive tested cost $34,000. Similar pickups with similar trims in its category, like the Tacoma, are also in that price range. The most affordable trim of the Frontier will cost $20,000. While that is cheap, it’s also not unheard of.
Furthermore, its interior features are just too outdated by this point. The plastic feels like a toy, The Drive said. The seats are simply uncomfortable. The infotainment system is worse than simply having a smartphone on the dashboard. Smartphone related features like Apple CarPlay are also not even possible.
And, while the fuel economy isn’t too bad, compared to trucks of its class, it’s a real step down. In this day and age where fuel economy is something that even truck owners think about, the Frontier’s fuel economy simply doesn’t hold up anymore.
The final verdict
Unsurprisingly, The Drive agrees with Nissan’s desire to redesign the Frontier. It’s still a good truck and it can still do the bare minimum, but for its price tag, it’s simply not worth it anymore. There are better mid-sized pickup trucks that can do anything the Frontier can do. It might cost a bit more, but the Frontier’s age does show in that regards.
But that’s only talking about buying a new truck. The Frontier isn’t worth its price tag, but if you already own a Frontier, then it’s still a good truck. It’s still capable of doing its job and it’s still comparable, albeit comparatively worse, to other trucks. Because of that, the Frontier does have some charm, like The Drive mentioned.
Whatever Nissan decides to do with the redesign, The Drive thinks that the Frontier, as it is now, will leave a big hole for Nissan to fill.