Some people love to stick with the tried and true. The Nissan Frontier has been around since 1998 and hasn’t been redesigned since 2005. Plenty of people still buy the Frontier though, even without a redesign. It had its top-selling years in 2016 and 2018, according to Car and Driver.
However, it can be tough to know which model years to consider when buying a used one. Checking out reliability ratings from a site like Consumer Reports can help buyers narrow things down. Here’s a look at two years of the Nissan Frontier that rated most highly.
How reliability is measured on Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports surveys members of the magazine and website each year. Members give information about the problems they’ve had with their vehicles over the previous 12 months across 17 categories.
The survey results help determine the reliability ratings. The 2020 survey collected responses on 329,000 vehicles from model years 2000 through 2020.
Reliability ratings for the Nissan Frontier over the years
Consumer Reports lists ratings for the Nissan Frontier going back to 2000. Two of the primary ratings are for reliability and owner satisfaction. While the truck received a one or two out of five nearly every year for owner satisfaction, there are some years that stand out for high-reliability ratings.
Although it wasn’t rated for reliability every year, the Frontier received four out of five for reliability in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. The truck received the top five out of five reliability rating in 2013 and 2014.
Since 2016, the Frontier has gotten three out of five each year, except in 2018, when it dropped down to a two.
The Nissan Frontier from 2013 and 2014
The Frontier was last redesigned for 2005, so all the model years with the best reliability ratings (as well as the current one) are part of the same generation. Consumer Reports is tough on the Frontier for not being redesigned in such a long time. It says it has “a dated design that lacks polish.”
The Frontier from all years since 2005 comes with either a crew-cab or an extended-cab. Both have snug rear seats. It has two bed-length options: a five-foot and a six-foot option.
Critics says the tailgate is very heavy with the longer bed. Its low-beam halogen headlights are good but not strong enough to allow for quick stopping after seeing objects in the road.
The truck has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a 261-hp, 4.0-liter V6 engine, which Consumer Reports found feels powerful almost like a V8. There is either a five- or six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic transmission. The automatic has a button that controls the overdrive function. It also has part-time four-wheel drive. The ride is stiff but also “quick and nimble.”
The interior is finished in textured plastics and chrome accents. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear ones are snug. The rear ones do fold down or flip-up for increased storage and have a 60/40 split.
The 2013 and 2014 Frontier don’t have a touchscreen, and even the 2020 Frontier still doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Car and Driver pointed out that the 2020 Frontier’s “bare-bones infotainment system is as obsolete as the rest of the truck.”
Side-airbags and curtain-airbags are both standard in the 2013 and 2014. Stability control is standard as well. The 2013 Frontier is usually priced between $9,375 and $17,375, while the 2014 Frontier is between $11,000 and $19,050 according to Consumer Reports.
The Nissan Frontier has been around for ages and hasn’t been redesigned in many years. Buyers looking for the most reliable model years should take a look at the 2013 and 2014 model years. It might not be a flashy truck, but these two years especially stand out as being dependable.
Buyers looking for something more modern should wait a little longer since the Nissan Frontier is expected to be redesigned for 2021.