Nissan Frontier
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Overall

Frontier is one of two smaller-than-full-size pickups on the market . . . at least until General Motors returns to the party; minor changes for 2014.

Drivetrain

Carryover four-cylinder and V6 engines, the latter being mandatory if you select the optional four-wheel-drive.

Although General Motors will return to the mid-sized truck market for the 2015 model year with all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, currently the class remains the exclusive domain of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. The Nissan remains a strong option for those not needing the bloat and mass of full-size offerings. Being about 1,200 pounds lighter than the Titan (base weight to base weight) and having a smaller engine(s) translates into a 16-mpg city and 20-mpg highway rating (V6) versus 13/18 for the V8-powered Titan. Frontier can also be ordered with a base 152-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder. The optional 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 is better suited to towing and off-roading since it’s the only way to get the optional 4×4 system. The 4.0-liter engine is closely related to the award-winning V6 that appears in many other Nissan vehicles. The Frontier continues to be offered in both extended-length King Cab and four-door Crew Cab body styles and in several trim levels, including the four-cylinder S and SV, and the V6-equipped SV, SL and off-road-inspired Pro-4X (in either King or Crew Cab body styles). The PRO-4X can be had in two- or four-wheel-drive and includes off-road tuned Bilstein-brand performance shocks, skid plates to protect the underbelly, unique 16-inch wheels and electronic locking rear differential. For bigger loads, try the Long Bed four-door Crew Cab model that tacks an extra 13 inches onto the Crew Cab’s standard 65.8-inch box for a total of about six feet, four inches. Most models now get redesigned 16- and 18-inch wheels while Bluetooth short-range networking, air conditioning, cruise control and an upgraded audio system are now standard on the base S models.

Base price (incl. destination): $18,900 (2013)
Type: Two- /four-door pickup
Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 (152)
Optional engine (hp): 4.0-liter DOHC V6 (261)
Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; five-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 17/21 (2.5, MT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,680