After a long period of dormancy, the mid-size truck segment has experienced massive change. Following GM’s one-two punch of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in 2015, Toyota’s updated Tacoma this year, and the pending arrival of the new Honda Ridgeline for model year 2017, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the Nissan Frontier.
Nissan’s Frontier has some serious staying power. The current generation launched in 2004, making this by far one of the oldest products in Nissan’s portfolio. Putting its age aside, it has plenty of advantages including usability and price.
Frontiers use the F-Alpha platform which was shared with the previous generation Pathfinder, the now defunct Xterra, and the outgoing Titan half-ton pickup. Its fully boxed frame is rigid, and its bed can be equipped with the clever Utili-track channel system that uses bed-floor and bed-side channels for lashing down large items to the bed.
Powertrain options consist of four and six-cylinder engines. The base 2.5-litre four-cylinder produces 152 hp, and unusually, it comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard; four-wheel drive is not available. All other Frontiers use a 261-hp, 280-lb-ft of torque 4.0-litre V6; all but the PRO-4X King Cab feature a standard five-speed automatic. The off-road special PRO-4X features a six-speed manual as standard. Two and four-wheel drive are available.
The King Cab (S, PRO-4X only) is the smaller of the two cab designs available; its rear-hinged doors provide access to a pair of tiny flip-up jump seats. The bigger Crew Cab (SV, PRO-4X, SL) features a proper rear bench with seating for three, plus 60/40 split folding capability with under-seat storage. The King Cab features a 73.3-inch bed; the Crew Cab is sold in standard bed (59.5-inch) and long bed (73.3 inch) forms. Payload ranges from a low of 404 kilograms on the base model to 652 kg. Towing ranges between 1,588 kg (3500 lbs) and 2948 (6500 lbs).
For 2016, the only changes are three new colours: Forged Copper, Gun Metallic, and Magnetic Black.
While the Frontier is long in the tooth, it is by far the most affordable way to buy a new pickup truck in Canada. Pricing starts at $23,298 for the King Cab S 4x2, which compares favourably to the Tacoma or the GM twins, which start at around five grand more. At the other end of the scale, the leather-clad, navigation-equipped Crew Cab SL Long Bed 4x4 sells for $38,498.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed