Frontier Review: I spent the past two
weeks driving a couple of massive Japanese trucks, the Toyota Tundra and
the Nissan Titan. And while I know some people need the capability of a
Goliath truck, most of us would be perfectly happy driving David.
Anything bigger is just a waste.
The Tundra, for
example, came with a storage bin under the center armrest that was big
enough to hold two jugs of milk. Who needs that much space? Are the
folks who buy these trucks going to use it to mix a batch of concrete in
between the seats?
Yes, full-size trucks
are just too big and unwieldy for my taste, not to mention too expensive
and thirsty. The Tundra and Titan test trucks each cost around $41,000
with options, putting them out of reach for many blue-collar buyers.
To fix this problem,
the car manufacturers used to sell compact trucks, but now the only one
left is the Ford Ranger. And let's face it; it's the automotive
equivalent of a baby blue polyester sport jacket. It's the kind of truck
you'd buy at a church rummage sale not because you actually want it, but
because it's too cheap to pass up.
Now a whole new
generation of mid-size trucks has replaced the Ranger-like compacts,
offering performance and capability that nearly match the big 'uns.
There's the Chevy Colorado, Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, and the subject
of this week's review, the Nissan Frontier.
The Frontier really
does aim to be a right-size truck. It's quite a bit smaller than its big
brother, the Titan, but still feels hefty and relatively roomy inside.
It feels like piloting a real, full-size working man's truck, despite
its slightly smaller size.
Nissan gave the
Frontier a new face for 2009, making it look more aggressive like the
Titan. It's definitely a good-looking, masculine truck with sharp
creases and an industrial feel.
Even better, it has a
more refined, cushy ride than you'll find in most of its competitors.
It's a good truck for driving on the highway, without too much wind and
It's also efficient, at
least compared to its full-size relatives. It gets up to 23 mpg on the
highway and 19 in town with rear-wheel drive.
You can choose between
a 152-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a 261 horsepower V6. I highly
recommend the 4.0-liter V6 because of how smooth, refined and tested it
is. It's a variation on the same engine used in the Nissan 350Z, Altima,
Maxima, Murano and Quest, which has won awards as one of the world's
best engines. It really is a sweet powerplant.
You can also pick
between a five-speed automatic, and either six-speed or five-speed
manual transmissions. And like most full-size trucks, you can choose
between King Cab and Crew Cab body styles, four-wheel and two-wheel
drive, and two different bed lengths. The prices range from around
$22,000 for a basic model to nearly $30,000 for the fanciest truck.
full-size trucks top out over $50,000, the mid-size Frontier looks like
a bargain. It can do all the work most truck drivers will ever need, but
it's in a much more reasonable package that's cheaper, more fuel
efficient and easier to park than its juiced-up siblings.
tested? The 2009 Nissan Frontier 4x2 Crew Cab
SE with a base price if $24,060. Options on the test vehicle: SE value
truck package at $1,000. The total MSRP Price as tested including the
$745 destination charge: $25,805.
Why avoid it?
The four-cylinder version is a tad anemic, and fluctuating fuel prices
make it hard to guess how good, bad or indifferent the resale value
might be in a couple of years.
Why buy it?
It can be configured almost like a full-size truck, yet it's cheaper,
easier to drive and more fuel efficient. It offers a great V6 engine.
LINE: The Nissan Frontier is a mid-size pickup
that offers better efficiency and a lower price than a full-size truck,
but it still looks and feels like a tough, hard-working pickup. The
Frontier is roomy in front and even relatively comfortable for adults in
the back seat when you choose the biggest cabin.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Nissan Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Nissan Home Page
Column Name: Mid-size
pickup is more efficient than its big brother
Topic: The 2009 Nissan
Word Count: 775
Photo Caption: The
2009 Nissan Frontier SE
Photo Credits: Nissan
Frontier Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 33
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2009 Nissan Frontier
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2009 Nissan Frontier