Nissan Frontier

The mid-size 2008 Nissan Frontier pickup comes in two cab styles, King Cab and Crew Cab. The King Cab has smaller, rear-hinged rear doors, and the Crew Cab has full-size, front-hinged rear doors and a larger rear-seat area. The King Cab is available in a single bed length, but the Crew Cab is now available in standard bed and long bed versions; the new long bed is 13 inches longer.

The Frontier shares its basic layout, including the suspension and other components, with the larger Titan pickup. The suspension combines a double-wishbone front setup with a solid-axle and leaf springs at the rear.

The base XE and SE Frontier King Cab 2WD trucks have a 152-horsepower, 2.5L four-cylinder engine. All other Frontiers are powered by a 4.0L V6 engine, making 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. The predominantly aluminum, double-overhead-cam engine has continuously variable valve timing, variable induction, and a number of attributes for smooth operation and efficiency. Four-cylinder models have a five-speed manual transmission standard, while V6 models get six speeds. A five-speed automatic is available on both.

On V6 models, a four-wheel drive system is available, featuring electronically controlled shift-on-the-fly engagement and a low range. The 4WD models also bring a four-wheel limited-slip system. Hill Descent Control (HDC) helps maintain a steady slow speed while descending especially steep slopes, while Hill Start Assist (HSA) allows a smooth, controlled start on a steep incline without roll-back; both features are optional.

There's also an off-road Nismo edition, available in King Cab or Crew Cab versions with either 2WD or 4WD, which brings Bilstein performance shocks and an electronic-locking rear differential. Ground clearance is increased, with vital hardware tucked within the frame rails. The Nismo also includes skid plates and 16-inch off-road tires.

The Frontier has several innovative storage options, including storage boxes under the rear seats, a large center console, a dual-compartment glove box, and several power points. The Utili-track system, which brings removable utility tie-down cleats and secure attaching channels, is available and especially useful for securing heavy cargo that doesn't take up the entire bed.

Front-seat side air bags are optional, as are side-curtain air bags that cover front and rear occupants.

Editors' Review

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Model year 2017 changes: 

  • A new S Work Truck Package is available with a spray-in bedline, bed rail caps, splash guards and rubber floor mats.
  • S grade ditches the chrome rear bumper for a body-colored bumper.

Editors' note, August 23, 2017: This review was written based on an evaluation of the 2016 Nissan Frontier. See the changes for the 2017 model year above.

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The Good The Pro-4x trim offers traditional off-road controls for those who don't want the computer to do the thinking for them.

The Bad The Frontier is long overdue for an update, both inside and out.

The Bottom Line While it's a good truck, it's tough to justify spending upward of $30,000 on a Pro-4x when the competition offers more features and a modern design.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 6
  • Features 5
  • Design 6
  • Media 5

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