Nissan's Frontier is by far and away the oldest member of the bustling midsize truck segment. The current generation model launched 13 years ago, which also makes it the oldest Nissan product presently on sale. But age aside, this little truck has much to offer buyers including functionality and price.
Frontiers use the F-Alpha platform which was shared with the previous generation Pathfinder, the now defunct Xterra, and the previous-generation half-ton Titan pickup truck. 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 securing large items to the bed.
The Frontier is available in a surprisingly large number of configurations. While there isn't a single-cab option, buyers can choose between an extended King Cab and a four-door Crew Cab body style; the latter is available with a short or long bed.
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. The rear seats also flip up for additional storage space. 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 (3,500 lbs) and 2,948 kg (6,500 lbs).
Under the hood, you'll find one of two engines. The base 2.5-litre four-cylinder produces 152 hp, and unusual for a value-priced truck, it comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission as standard. 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 paired to a five-speed automatic; the exception to this is the PRO-4X King Cab, which gets a six-speed manual as standard. The five-speed automatic is optional. Depending on trim, V6-powered Frontiers can be had with two or four-wheel drive. While the V6 has strong acceleration, fuel economy is not its forte - Crew Cab models are rated at 15.8 L/100 km city and 11.5 highway putting it more in line with full-size half-tons than mid-sized trucks. The King Cab fares slightly better.
For 2017, changes are few. The base S trim now receives a body colour rear bumper, while a new Premium Moonroof package for the Crew Cab V6 4WD adds, as the name suggests, an optional moonroof.
An all-new Frontier is expected to arrive for 2018.
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