There Are Huge Downsides to Buying the Nissan Frontier

Nissan is known for making some really great vehicles, but like all automakers, some models are just a little lackluster. The 2019 Nissan Frontier fits into this category. It’s a perfectly dependable truck that’s sure to get you where you want to go, but there are much better choices out there.

If you’re curious about what’s not so great about the Frontier, MotorTrend broke down the three things that leave drivers craving more.

Dated infotainment system

If you want tech, the Nissan Frontier isn’t getting a lot of love from critics.¬†According to the Car Connection, “The 2019 Nissan Frontier is almost so retro that it’s cool. Almost.”¬†

Consumer Reviews reports, “Dating back to 2005, the compact Frontier pickup truck is a dated design that lacks polish.”

Perhaps one of the harshest reviews of all comes from Car and Driver, which states, “Nissan’s Frontier has aged like a box of wine from 2005. That’s to say, not much has changed.”

That pretty much sums up the infotainment system. It’s functional, but it lacks some of the pizazz of newer infotainment systems. And given the fact that this is a brand new vehicle, why wouldn’t Nissan add in something newer?

Infotainment systems have been around for a while now, and the technology is rapidly progressing. Elon Musk is even planning on bringing Netflix to your car. While Nissan may not be up for adding Netflix to a truck, using a dated infotainment system will probably cost Nissan customers in the long run.

Poor fuel economy

The 2019 Frontier gets a mere 15 city/ 21 HWY, making it one of the least fuel-efficient trucks on the road. 

Drivers expect poor fuel economy from full-size trucks, but the Frontier is a midsize truck. As it turns out, midsize trucks don’t have incredibly great fuel economy, however.

According to Edmunds, the best fuel economy midsize trucks are the Honda Ridgeline, Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, and the GMC Canyon. The Ridgeline gets 19 city/26 highway, the Ranger 21 city/26 highway, the Colorado 20 city/26 highway, and the Canyon 20 city/26 highway.

That’s not a lot, but each one still gets better mileage than the Frontier.

While a poor fuel economy may mean nothing to some drivers, for others, it’s a big factor in deciding whether you can actually afford the vehicle or not. Between insurance costs, maintenance, repairs, and monthly payments, the price of a new vehicle can escalate very quickly. Driving a truck that only gets 15 mpg is only going to add to that cost.

Cheap interior materials

If you want a truck that’s more for work than play, then the Frontier’s cheap interior might not bother you. We recently wrote an article about the Frontier’s interior, and why some consumers may like it while others hate it.

If you like heated leather seats that can be adjusted with the touch of a button, the Frontier isn’t for you. The seats, like the infotainment system, are very basic. It’s been years since Nissan has invested much time and money into updating the Frontier, and the interior is just another casualty of this. 

All is not bad, however. Both Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds thought the seats were the most comfortable in the midsize truck lineup. For someone who spends hours in the Frontier, being comfortable may trump cheap materials. 

Motor Trend reports that there are five trim levels available on the Frontier, so if the base model isn’t for you, upgrading is always an option.

The Frontier is the cheapest midsize truck out there, so if you don’t mind its shortcomings, it might make a good truck for you. But if you want something with better fuel economy, a more luxurious interior, and an infotainment system that’s been around for years, you should probably invest a little more money into something better.