The Nissan Frontier was first introduced in 2005. The model is underpinned by the same platform as the last generation of the Nissan Titan pickup truck. The 2018 Nissan Frontier has failed to keep up with its rivals; while its rivals have become more modern with a host of new technologies, the Nissan Frontier still lags behind. In addition, the model’s drivetrain performs poorly in off-road terrains. The Frontier also has a pitiable towing and hauling capacity compared to its rivals. However, if you are looking for a cheap pickup truck and you are ok with its “bare bones” in the cabin, you can go for the truck. The Frontier is good enough for hauling passengers and small loads of cargo as well as tow relatively lighter trailers compared to its competitors.
2018 Nissan Frontier Exterior and Interior styling
The 2018 Nissan Frontier has remained a midsize pickup truck as its rivals continue increasing in size. In terms of the exterior styling, the truck is appealing. Base King Cab models ride on 15-inch steel wheels while the Crew Cab models ride on 16-inch steel wheels. Mid trims on the other hand ride on 16-inch alloy wheels while top trims use 18-inch alloy wheels. Generally, the exterior of the Frontier is ok; at least the model does not look odd when parked side by side with the likes of the Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado. However, things are not as encouraging when you slide into any of the trim’s cabin and compare it with rivals.
The Frontier comes in Crew Cab and King Cab versions. King Cab models accommodate four passengers while an extra passenger can be accommodated in the Crew Cab models. While the seats are comfortable, the automaker would do better to offer leather upholstery as well as heating on front seats on more trims as they are only offered on the very top trims only. Crew Cab versions come with a full rear seat but King Cab models feature fold-down seats. Rear passengers in Crew Cab models get to enjoy more legroom than their counterpart in the King Cab models. In addition, Crew Cab models come with two sets of LATCH seat connectors. However, both versions offer constrained rear seating space compared with rivals such as the Chevrolet Colorado.
The truck’s cabin is however riddled with low-quality materials compared to the likes of the Toyota Tacoma or the Chevrolet Colorado.; for example, power door locks and windows are offered as options. The automaker, however, offers NissanConnect infotainment system as standard; the system offers voice recognition and Smartphone integration. There is also a physical button that is used to control other vehicle functions.
The Frontier tries to offer most of the important things that a truck should have including a spray-in bed liner and Utili-track system.
In terms of cargo space, the King Cab models have a 6-foot-1-inch cargo bed only while Crew Cab models can also be had in a shorter 5-foot cargo bed.
In terms of safety, the Frontier is not the model to go for if you are looking for the latest driver assist features. The model does not come with any active safety feature as standard; to make things even worse, only parking sensors and a rearview camera are offered as options compared to the likes of Chevrolet Colorado which offer a host of advanced active safety features as standard and more as options.
Engine and performance
The Nissan Frontier is usually offered with two engines, a 2.5 L, inline-4 and a 3.6 L, V-6. The inline 4 produces 152 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. This engine is hooked up to either a 5-speed manual/automatic gearbox that conveys the power to the rear wheels. It is also offered only with King Cab models.
The V-6 mill produces 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque; it is paired with a 6-speed manual/ 5-speed automatic gearbox. The mill is offered as standard on Crew Cab models and as an available option for King Cab models. While the inline-4 engine has high fuel economy ratings i.e. 19 mpg and 23 mpg in city and highway drives, it ranks below the likes of GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado which offer around 22 mpg and 30 mpg on city and highway drives respectively.
When the current Nissan Frontier is properly equipped, it can haul 1,500 lbs or tow as much as 6,710 lbs. Although impressive, these capacities still rank below those of the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado.
The 2018 Nissan Frontier is the cheapest pickup truck in its segment with the current generation’s base model starting at $18,390. This trim is however devoid of many features that come as standard on most of the rival trucks such as power locks and windows and air conditioning. The top trim of the Frontier i.e. the SL trim has a price tag of around $32,510.
This segment is occupied by some well-trimmed pickup trucks such as the Toyota Tacoma, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline and Chevrolet Colorado. The Frontier survives because of its cheaper price and I think Nissan needs to do much more to enable the model to compete with its rivals in other areas to improve its desirability.