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The Nissan Frontier Is the Mid-Size Pickup Truck with the Worst Gas Mileage

When considering your next midsize truck purchase, you probably have a checklist of important features that make the most sense for you, your lifestyle, or your family. With the hefty selection of top-rated performers in this class, it can be a tough decision that may come down to cost-efficiency details. When it comes to the 2019 Nissan Frontier, it outperforms the competition in a few categories. However, it falls short in the gas mileage department. It may even be considered the worst in its class for fuel economy overall. We took a deeper dive into the details.

What the 2019 Nissan Frontier is doing right

Not much has changed on the 2019 Nissan Frontier. As a matter of fact, some might suggest little to no upgrades to style, interior design, or powertrain at all. What the Nissan Frontier does have going for it is its overall practicality. It’s a “steady-eddie” of a truck that many consumers have come to rely on for basic performance. A truck doesn’t stick around on the market for 15 years if it’s not performing or selling. People still love their Frontiers. If they’re new to you, there’s plenty to get excited about.

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Trim levels and pricing basics

You can opt for several trim levels and packages, almost all of which are considered on the low end, and are affordable for the midsize truck category. We’ve outlined the basics and starting price for you below. Some initial ratings indicate the 4-cylinder might make the most sense for daily driving, but not much else. If considering the V6 engine, you can expect better responsiveness and power, but still, come up at the back of the pack in terms of towing and hauling capacity. Reviews have suggested the best configuration might be the mid-level SV trim with V-6, five-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. Reviews also recommend the King Cab offering a smaller second set of doors and smaller rear seating capacity. Regardless of the level, the starting price points are reasonable.

  • Nissan Frontier S: $20,035
  • Nissan Frontier SV: $24,905
  • Nissan Frontier Desert Runner: $27,345
  • Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: $34,475
  • Nissan Frontier SL: $35,055
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The EPA fuel economy ratings for the Frontier

Unfortunately for the 2019 Nissan Frontier, fuel economy is not a strength. With a combined MPG of only 17, for both Nissan Frontier 4WD and 4WD FFV, it makes this truck the worst on gas mileage. Even with the 2.5L, 4-cylinder engine, with a manual five-speed transmission, the combined MPG is only 21. If you’re planning on city driving, regardless of the configuration of Frontier you choose, don’t expect much more than 19 MPG for city driving and 22 MPG for highway driving. When other midsize trucks are boasting 20 MPG, and some even as high as 30 MPG, Frontier falls short. Considering not much else has changed with regard to design and performance, it’s clear to see that fuel economy on the Nissan is about fifteen years old as well.

Will it impact your buying decision?

When it comes down to it, fuel economy may not be a deal-breaker for you. You’ll want to consider how you plan to use your truck, both in everyday driving and occasional demands. A few MPGs might not be a huge dollar amount for what you plan to do with your pickup. Understanding each trim level and package offering will help you decide, too, if the 2019 Frontier is your best fit truck.

There are whispers that the 2021 Frontier is expected to showcase significant upgrades or redesign altogether. If it’s coming, rumors are we could catch our first glimpse in February of next year at the Chicago Auto Show or in June at the NAIAS in Detroit. A refresh may certainly be in order, and with that, it will more than likely come improvements to fuel economy as well.