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Nissan Frontier: still haulin’ after all these years

Photo courtesy of Nissan

This pickup has handsome bodywork and is a decent performer.

The Frontier in its current form has been around since the Stone Age—well, since 2005 anyway, the last time it received a serious makeover. Yet Nissan’s midsize pickup is no dinosaur. The simple, no-nonsense lines of its bodywork are still handsome, and this pickup remains a pretty decent performer. 

Like its competition, the Frontier comes with an extended cab (King Cab in Nissan-speak) or a crew cab. Though the Frontier’s interior lacks the modern design flourishes of the other midsize pickups, it’s functional with comfortable seats, simple controls, and a full set of easy-to-read instruments. And it’s available with a choice of two engines, a 152-hp 4-cylinder or a 261-hp V6, which is plenty peppy and has a tow rating up to 6,720 pounds. 

On the downside, the Frontier’s brakes have a spongy feel and the Frontier’s ride is, well, truck-like on rougher surfaces. But its steering is responsive and its handling is predictable. 

The Frontier comes in a variety of trim levels, including the basic S model (4-cylinder engine, stick shift, AM/FM radio, air conditioning, and no power windows) and the off-roading Pro-4X (locking rear differential, skid plates). The basic Frontier S undercuts the competition, with a sticker of about $20,000. But the least expensive Frontier with the more desirable V6 costs about $27,000. Rumors are that in 2020 the Frontier will get a redesign, but given this little truck’s history, don’t hold your breath.

With the Auto Club’s free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to AAA.com/auto or call 800-709-7222. 

Model years: 2016–2019
Vehicle layout: Midsize pickup, 4.0-liter V6 (261 hp), 6-speed manual, 4WD 
MSRP:  $20,035 (base), $37,000 (well equipped)  
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 19/23/21 for S model
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 4 stars overall 
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Spare tire: Full-size tire
Final assembly: United States

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