San Francisco: Like
a smaller version of the Nissan Titan, the Frontier offers big-truck
performance and versatility in a more affordable package.
A spacious, comfortable
interior makes the Frontier pleasant to drive. It's available in King
Cab configuration with small, rear-swinging doors or the bigger Crew Cab
version with traditional, front-hinged doors for the back seat.
I know what I'm about
to write is pure blasphemy considering I was born and raised in Texas,
but I simply don't like big pickup trucks. Never have. They're hard to
park, ugly, noisy, get pathetic gas mileage, are less comfortable than a
car and are hard to climb in and out of.
As if that weren't
enough, all but the best trucks feel like they're bouncing around the
road on a suspension made of pogo sticks and pulled by an engine that
sounds like it belongs in a two-story-tall Weed Eater.
I don't see the point
of driving one unless you're towing a 10-ton yacht or carrying a load of
granite down a mountain, like they show in the commercials. I don't do
those things, so I'd rather borrow or rent a truck when I really need
one instead of suffering with driving one day in, day out.
So there, I said it.
Now that I got that blasphemy off my chest, I can tell you about the new
Nissan Frontier, a truck that, oddly enough, I don't hate.
The Frontier is one of
those just-right-size trucks that is significantly bigger than a dinky
Ranger but smaller than the F-150, Silverado and Ram. It's not so small
that it's stupid, nor is it so big that you think your driving a piece
of real estate around town.
That just-right feeling
also extends to the Frontier's performance. It's powered by a 4.0-liter
V6 that makes 265 horsepower and gets 20 miles per gallon on the
highway, enough to do some serious work without having to drink gas like
a Kennedy at happy hour. It's not quite a fuel miser, either, but
compared to the alternative of driving a full-size truck with a big V8,
it could provide some welcome relief at the pump. For better efficiency,
Nissan offers a 2.5-liter, 154-horsepower, four-cylinder engine too.
While I think the
engine noise is an improvement over the previous Frontier's V6 - now,
instead of sounding like a giant Weed Eater, it sounds like a bumblebee
that ate too many beans - it feels fantastic from the driver's seat.
It's very responsive and smooth, adjectives I rarely use to describe
Overall, the Frontier
looks and performs like a downsized Nissan Titan, and it's available
with some of the same cool features that make the Titan stand out. Some
of my favorites are a factory-applied, spray-on bedliner and a nifty
system of adjustable tie-downs called Utili-track.
Pricing, like on most
trucks, is spread over a huge range that depends on how you configure
it. A basic, rear-wheel-drive, King Cab model with a four-cylinder
engine starts under $16,000, and a NISMO off-road-equipped Crew Cab with
four-wheel drive costs more than $27,000. In between to these two are 17
other flavors of Frontier with prices to fit virtually any budget.
Best of all, for a
person who usually hates trucks, I found this one pretty darned
comfortable to drive. It still had a pogo-stick suspension, but it was
quiet and roomy enough on the inside to make up for the bounciness.
Everything about it
seemed like a perfect fit, neither too big nor too small, neither too
wimpy nor too brutish. And that's why I don't hate the Frontier.
What was tested?
The 2006 Nissan NISMO Frontier King Cab V6 4x4 with a manual
transmission and a base price of $24,100. Options: Side airbag package
($550), utility bed package ($700), traction package ($500). Price as
tested including a $605 destination charge: $26,455.
Why buy it? It's
a just-right-size truck that slots perfectly between the micro trucks
and the big boys. It offers good performance with a V6 engine and lots
of configurations to suit your needs. Why avoid it? It's still a truck.
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Nissan Home Page
content provided by Tony Leopardo ©AutoWire.Net
Column Name: A truck you can live with
Topic: The 2006 Nissan Frontier King Cab V6 4x4
Word Count: 757
Photo Caption: The 2006
Nissan Frontier King Cab
Photo Credits: Nissan Internet
Series #: 2006 - 42
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2006 Nissan Frontier
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2006 Nissan Frontier