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Nissan Frontier

Big-truck performance in a medium-truck package.

Although the Frontier is smaller than the full-size pickups that dominate the truck market, it is plenty of truck for most buyers. A fully boxed chassis, steel construction, and a leaf-spring rear suspension mean the medium-size Frontier has almost as much capability as a bigger vehicle. Ample tow ratings, a large bed, and a big interior make the Nissan a real work-horse. It’s available with a King Cab and hinged rear half-doors or with a four-door crew cab. There is a 152-hp four-cylinder engine for the base King Cab model, but all other trim levels get a 4.0-liter V-6 with 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. For serious work, four-wheel-drive models come standard with a low-range mode and can be equipped with a locking rear differential, tough Bilstein shock absorbers, and skid plates, making the Frontier useful off the beaten track. Hill-descent control and hill-start assist are standard on 4WD models with the automatic transmission. The Frontier’s interior has such practical touches as dual locking glove boxes, an optional fold-flat passenger seat, and lots of cupholders. The plain design and the durable plastics look a bit dated. However, the Nissan Frontier is nearly as capable as some full-size trucks, and its tidier dimensions and lower price make it an attractive choice for buyers who need to do light towing, hauling, or off-roading.

COMPETITORS

Chevrolet Colorado

GMC Canyon

Suzuki Equator

Toyota Tacoma

new for 2013

Nissan has not announced any changes yet for the 2013 Frontier.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability and traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Hill-start assist and hill-descent control are standard on four-wheel-drive models with the automatic transmission.

MPG

CITY 14–19

HWY 19–23

PRO

Macho looks

All the truck most people need

Good payload and towing capacities

CON

Somewhat dated interior

V-6 drinks fuel like the big boys do

Base Price Range: $19,010–$32,980

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL

BODY STYLE: Pickup, 4- or 5-passenger

ENGINES: 2.5L I-4, 152 hp, 171 lb-ft

4.0L V-6, 261 hp, 281 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 5- or 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: (King Cab/crew cab) 87.7/101.1 cu ft

CAPACITIES: Towing 3500–6500 lb; payload 932–1486 lb

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