In a market full of mid-size trucks loaded with contemporary features, the 2019 Nissan Frontier is something of an outlier. Basically unchanged for the past decade, the Frontier nevertheless continues to win many fans, who like its practicality and affordability. At the same time, critics of the truck grouse that it looks and feels like a throwback.
The sturdy Frontier, however, hasn’t completely fallen behind the times. Nissan has finally latched onto the trend of blacked-out appearance packages and editions for trucks by updating the Frontier with the Midnight Edition Package. It joins segment rivals the Ford Ranger and the Honda Ridgeline, in offering murdered-out treatments.
What does the Midnight Edition Package include?
Nissan actually introduced the Midnight Edition across its lineup for 2018. The package itself remains unchanged since last year.
With it, the Frontier gets black 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels that are a step up from the Frontier’s standard 16-inch ones. Other black accessories include the front grille, step rails, outside mirror caps, and door handles. The midnight badging on the grille and the tailgate of the Frontier is also part of the package.
The package is available only with a crew cab style. The blackout theme also continues with the rear privacy window of the cab.
Magnetic Pearl Black isn’t the only color available with this package. Buyers also can choose Gun Metallic or Glacier White. Front and rear bumpers match the truck’s body color.
The package is priced at $995. And buyers who want the Midnight Edition on the Frontier are limited to the mid-level SV trim. The truck and package together have an MSRP of $31,030.
What comes with the SV trim level for this edition?
A Midnight Edition Frontier SV has the optional 4.0-liter V6 engine that makes 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. It also is equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission. The 4X2 drivetrain is standard.
The truck also features the SV Value Truck Package. Inside the truck are heated seats, dual-zone climate control, a tilt steering column, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a digital compass. A 7.0-inch infotainment screen is new this year.
Other goodies in this package are remote keyless entry, fog lights, bed rail caps, a Class IV tow hitch receiver, and rear back-up sensors. The Nissan cargo channel system with four adjustable cleats, a spray-in bed liner, and sliding bed extender all add to the usefulness of the truck’s six-foot bed.
Does the package add anything new to the Frontier?
The short answer is not really, and we say that with some reluctance. Many trucks look stunning completely murdered out or even just with black accents. For example, the Honda Ridgeline Black Edition looks especially sleek, due in part to its unibody construction. In the full-size segment, the Ram 1500 Night Edition has the right balance of ominous stealth and powerful presence.
With a Magnetic Pearl Black body and the black accessories, the Nissan Frontier certainly is handsome enough. And the SV Value Truck Package provides some updated amenities. But this black-out treatment might not be enough to modernize the dated exterior styling for some buyers. And the Midnight Edition doesn’t have as much pizazz when matched with the two other colors. With the Glacier White especially, some of the accents appear noticeably plasticky.
What’s more, a black-out package is a quick and relatively inexpensive way for some manufacturers to spruce up a vehicle that may otherwise seem ho-hum or hasn’t been updated for a while. Perhaps Nissan is taking this approach.
As an alternative, at least, Nissan might try taking a page from Ford’s playbook. It could pair the black accessories with brighter-color exterior paint. One of the colors that the Ford Ranger‘s Black Appearance package is paired with is its Hot Pepper Red, which gives the truck a little razzle-dazzle. The Frontier has a new and similar color, Cayenne Red, that could make the black accents pop more than gray or white.
The 2019 Nissan Frontier remains a great truck for the money. And the Midnight Edition Package might spiff up the SV enough to satisfy those who plan to buy a mid-level trim version. But it adds no real novelty to this aging truck. If buyers want a brand-new take on the Frontier, they will want to wait until the fall of 2020 to check out the next-generation 2021 version.