A year ago, we told you Nissan was preparing an all-new version of its Frontier mid-size pickup for the 2018 model year. Well, we were wrong: Nissan instead carried the Frontier over for this year. (Meanwhile, it looks like an all-new model will arrive in calendar-year 2018, as a 2019 model. We'll let you know this time next year if that works out to be true.)
This is an old truck, having received its last notable redesign in the mid-2000s, but a few things do change for 2018. For one, all models now get a backup camera as standard thanks to a new Canadian new vehicle safety regulation. All Frontiers also get a 5.0-inch colour display audio system, cruise control, Bluetooth and Siri Eyes Free.
There's also a Midnight Edition package that brings a blacked-out grille, wheels, step rails, black mirrors, door handles and badges and -- oddly enough -- body-colour bumpers.
That Nissan has left the Frontier to languish is a strange thing: this decade-plus-old design goes up against recent, well-executed trucks from GM and Toyota that have revitalized the market for mid-sized pickups. By the time Nissan rolls out a new Frontier, it will face additional competition from an all-new Ford Ranger, too. Nissan could have gotten a jump on things had it done a new Frontier a few years sooner.
The Frontier is available in extended King Cab and four-door Crew Cab body styles; the latter is available with a short or long bed. There is no regular cab model. Trim levels include S, SV, Pro-4X and SL.
The King Cab's 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. 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).
Two engines are available. S trim includes a 2.5-litre four-cylinder that produces 152 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque and comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission as standard. Rear-wheel drive is standard; four-wheel drive is not available.
All other trims share a 4.0L V6 good for 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed auto is standard kit in most versions, but the off-road ready Pro-4X starts out with a six-speed manual that can be optioned to the automatic. Four-wheel drive is standard with the V6 save for in the SV, which is a rear-driver to start.
Fuel consumption estimates range from 12.2/10.4 L/100 km for a four-cylinder model, to 15.8/11.5 in a 4x4 model with the automatic transmission.