New features elevate interest in Nissan Frontier pickup
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Mid-size pickup trucks like the Nissan Frontier provide ample hauling and towing capabilities, but with a smaller footprint than a full-size pickup. The 2018 Frontier is definitely rugged and durable and its structure features a fully boxed ladder frame, and the choice of two cab configurations: Extended cab (known as “King Cab”) or Crew Cab.
The Nissan Frontier gains a few new features, but it still lacks refinements and advanced safety technologies offered by others in this segment. Upgrades for 2018 include the addition of a standard rearview camera, while base S trim models now includes air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 5-inch color audio display as standard equipment.
Additionally, a new Midnight Edition is being offered. It includes a gloss-black grille, 18-inch gloss-black alloy wheels, semi-gloss black step rails, body-color front and rear bumpers, black outside rearview mirrors, door handles and badging.
Frontier King Cab models have rear-hinged rear doors that can only be opened after opening the front doors. All King Cab models are equipped with a 73.3-inch length bed. Crew Cab models have four full-sized swingout doors and can be equipped with either the standard length 59.5-inch bed or the longer 73.3-inch bed.
Both King Cab and Crew Cab models feature a detachable and locking tailgate. Extras like a spray-on bedliner or Utili-track C-channel system are available as options or as standard equipment depending on trim level.
Rear seating in King Cab models is minimal due to its two flip-down seats. Those who need more cabin space should consider a Crew Cab model. It offers adequate room for two large adults or three children.
Powering King Cab models is either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, or a 4.0-liter V6.
Crew Cab models are only offered with the V6. The four-cylinder engine in King Cab models is rated at 152-horsepower and is mated to either a 5-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic transmission.
Choosing a King Cab with the four-banger means having no option of four-wheel drive. Only V6-powered Frontier models can be equipped with four-wheel drive.
My King Cab tester was equipped with the four-cylinder engine and I found it to be weak and overtaxed. Plus, it is not all that fuel-efficient (19/23 mpg city/highway). For those reasons, I would recommend Frontier buyers to choose a V6-powered model.
The 4.0-liter V6 is rated at 261-horsepower and provides plenty of power for hauling or towing (up to 6,700-lbs.). The V6 is mated to either a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission, and provides you with the choice of either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Serious off-roaders should check out the PRO-4X trim. It includes Bilstein off-road shocks, skid plates, electronic differential locker, off-road wheels, all-terrain tires, unique exterior styling, unique interior styling and upgraded cabin content.
The top-of-the-line SL trim is only offered with the Crew Cab body style and it adds leather upholstery, navigation, a Rockford Fosgate audio system and more.
Missing from Frontier’s option list, though, are advanced safety systems like adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot detection or rear cross-traffic alert.
If you are looking for a sturdy mid-size pickup truck, Frontier models powered by the strong V6 engine can get the job done. Unfortunately, the Frontier King Cab in base S trim only comes equipped with a weak four-cylinder engine, manual crank-style windows and manually-operated door locks.