The 2016 Nissan Frontier Pickup Review: Nissan has sold pickup trucks in the U.S. for decades. Many years ago, as Datsun, it introduced little trucks for a different purpose than the full-size models. The Frontier is a descendant of those diminutive haulers, although it’s only small in comparison to the company’s full-size and appropriately named Titan.
Like other pickups, the Frontier gives you lots of choices, starting with the trim level. Nissan offers five, from the basic S through SV, PRO-4X, Desert Runner, and SL. The S is barebones, the Pro-4X is the four-wheel-drive off road specialist, the Desert Runner is a two-wheel-drive model with the larger engine only, the SV is the midrange choice that suits most buyers, and the SL is the luxury version.
Four-wheel-drive comes as a shift-on-the-fly system with a two-speed transfer case (low and high). Just turn a knob on the dash depending on the terrain. Two-wheel drive is fine for normal use, and reduces weight and cost.
Pick from two cab styles. The King cab offers some space behind the seats, but the larger Crew Cab features four full-size, front-hinged doors. Choose bed length, too. The standard bed is 59.5 inches long, just a hair under five feet. The long bed, available on SV and SL models only, is nearly 14 inches longer, on an equally longer wheelbase to accommodate it. A Crew Cab with the long bed & wheelbase will dominate your driveway, but it’s more maneuverable than Nissan’s full-size Titan.
Choose from two engines. The stronger powerplant is a 4.0-liter V6, which puts out a hearty 261 horsepower and 281 lb.-ft. of torque. The smaller, lighter, more efficient option is the company’s 152-horsepower 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder, with 171 lb.-ft. of torque. You can get the four-cylinder in the lighter King Cab only.
Another choice is transmission. The Frontier offers five- and six-speed manuals in certain models, and a five-speed automatic. Plus there are eight colors to choose from, including the new Forged Copper shade, which graced my PRO-4X Automatic V6 tester.
The PRO-4X isn’t the most luxurious Frontier, but mine had the optional PRO-4X Luxury Package. It included, for $2,100, heated power seats in handsome leather wearing a jaunty PRO-4X logo, remote-control heated outside mirrors, a power sliding moonroof, and a cool-looking pipe-style roof rack with cross bars.
The design of the Frontier is aging, and is overtly chunky inside and out, but that makes it feel more trucklike, in a good way. The ride is firm, thanks in part to the Bilstein Off-Road High Pressure shocks. You sit up high, in fact, there is nearly nine inches of ground clearance and the approach and departure angles, thanks to short front and rear overhangs, allow lots of successful off roading opportunities.
The V6 is a strong and capable engine, but is not especially frugal. The EPA gives the 4,561-pound truck a rating of 15 City, 21 Highway, and 17 Overall. I averaged 15.8 mpg. The Green scores are 5 for Smog and just 3 for Greenhouse Gas. The S trim level King Cab, with a four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, earns a slightly better 19 City, 23 Highway. It still weighs 3,758 pounds, so that figures.
My Frontier’s pickup bed was ready for work, with a factory spray-in bed liner and the Utili-track Channel System. This system uses five “C” cross section rails, two in the bed and one on each side and on the bed header panel, to which you can insert movable utility cleats. This gives you great flexibility for tying down cargo. There’s a cargo bed lamp for evening hauling tasks.
Pricing starts at $19,190 for the S trim level King Cab with the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission. This is as basic as you can get, perfect for fleets. My PRO-4X with the luxury package came to $36,525. The top model is the SL Crew Cab with the long bed & wheelbase, starts at $36,510. All prices shown include the destination charges.
If in you’re looking a pickup truck, you should be able to find a Frontier model in the configuration that’s up to any task you need one for. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net
The 2016 Nissan Frontier Pickup Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The Bottom Line: The 2016 Nissan Frontier Pickup is a traditional pickup in every sense of the word. Strong, solid and has that familiar feeling. Like the Frontier uses a real metal key, the kind you insert into the ignition switch and just turn. Many vehicles today employ a pushbutton starter. The T-handle automatic transmission has a retro feel too. The power windows don’t have an auto-up function, even for the driver. The white-on-black instrument panel theme evoked memories from the 1990s Nissan trucks.
Pickup trucks are a popular segment of the vehicle market, and are equipped for the job at hand. The Frontier is a proven, reliable, midsize contender in a marketplace enlivened by the arrival of some new and updated players. And maybe, just for those reasons alone, you should “Drive one, Buy one, Today ©”. Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net - And remember: “You Are What You Drive ©”
Column Name: Some things remain traditional
Topic: The 2016 Nissan Frontier Pickup
Word Count: 948
Photo Caption: The 2016 Nissan Frontier Pickup
Photo Credits: Nissan Internet Media
Series #: 2016- 16
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