By KBB.com Editors
The days of the compact pickup are fast closing. Witness the Nissan Frontier, a once-compact contender that has grown in size, power and weight. Of course, it has also grown in capability and passenger comfort, placing it in the same general category as the midsize Dodge Dakota and Toyota Tacoma. The Frontier has much in common with its larger sibling, the Titan, offering a fully-boxed frame, Nissan's adjustable Utili-track Bed Channel System and a spray-in bed liner. With one of the most powerful V6 engines in its class, the Frontier offers superior towing with almost sports car-like acceleration. Although bargain shoppers may lament the absence of a standard-cab model, the four-cylinder King Cab is still an affordable truck, priced well below $18,000.You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a truck that hauls, tows and loves to get dirty, but don't want to deal with the mass of a full-size pickup, the Nissan Frontier will impress you with its ability, utility and refined ride.You May Not Like This Car If...
Even though the Frontier's V6 is impressively smooth and powerful, if your workloador playloadabsolutely demands a big V8, then you'll have to look elsewhere. Also, the Frontier does not offer a standard-cab model.What's Significant About This Car?
For 2007, the Crew Cab models offer a Long Bed option, which increases the bed length by nearly 14 inches.Driving It Driving Impressions
That we expected a more severe neck-snapping from the Frontier's new V6 says more about our imprudent expectations than it does about the engine. With 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, this 4.0-liter version of the acclaimed engine found in the company's 350Z, Maxima and Infiniti G35 might be the smoothest, strongest V6 engine ever put in a pickup. In addition, the new Frontier handles and rides better than some sedans. Big mirrors contribute to a fair amount of wind noise, but overall the cabin is quiet and comfortable, especially for a pickup with such noteworthy capabilities. Our long test drive concluded with some serious rock-crawling on a Texas ranch, which, thanks in large part to its stiff frame and powerful engine, the Frontier negotiated effortlessly.Favorite Features
Utili-track Bed Channel System
Moveable and removable cleats make it easy to transport even cumbersome cargo loads safely.
Fully Boxed Frame
The Frontier's stiff frame provides the foundation for the pickup's sedan-like ride and handling and its sturdy off-road capability.
The Frontier's purposeful interior is defined by its flexibility. King Cab models feature smaller rear-hinged rear doors that provide access to flip-up rear seats, while Crew Cab models feature traditional rear doors and a more conventional back seat. Both models offer removable storage boxes beneath the rear seats, plus an available fold-flat front passenger seat for increased interior cargo flexibility. The Frontier's cabin features dual stacked glove boxes, multiple 12-volt power points and one-liter cup holders integrated into the front doors. Leather seating is among the Frontier's more indulgent options.Exterior
With its "angled strut" grille and sharp, pronounced fender flares, the Frontier is unmistakable as a direct descendent of the company's daunting full-size Titan pickup, although more athletic looking than its larger sibling. The Frontier offers a number of pickup-truck firsts, such as the Utili-track tie-down system that features moveable cargo hooks located in a five-rail in-bed system.Notable Standard Equipment
In base XE trim, the Frontier is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, a five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control and 15-inch steel wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Features not included at base sticker price include the 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine, five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel drive, Utili-track Bed Channel System, factory-applied spray-on bedliner, single-CD sound system, six-disc in-dash sound system with MP3 playback, air conditioning, power door locks/windows/mirrors, keyless entry, front side-impact airbags and front/rear-curtain airbags. The Nismo off-road model includes skid plates, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist features, an on-demand electronic locking rear differential and Bilstein performance shocks.Under the Hood
The economical four-cylinder engine is offered only on the two-wheel-drive XE King Cab, a potential marketing blunder should gas prices surge past three dollars per gallon. The V6 is plenty powerful and does offer the choice between manual and automatic transmission, but all that power and performance comes at the expense of fuel economy.
2.5-liter in-line 4
152 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
171 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/25 (2WD manual), 19/24 (2WD automatic)
261 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
281 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 (2WD manual), 16/21 (2WD automatic), 17/21 (4WD manual), 16/20 (4WD automatic)
The Frontier King Cab XE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $16,700 for the base two wheel-drive truck, and $22,300 for the entry-level King Cab SE four-wheel drive. Crew Cab models are as low as $21,450 and can soar to as high as $35,000 when fully loaded. A look at the Fair Purchase Price page shows what consumers are typically paying for their Frontier trucks in your area, so be sure to check it out before you purchase. Over a five-year period, the Frontier is expected to retain a healthy portion of its original purchase price, a few percentage points below the Toyota Tacoma's projected residual values, a few points higher than the Dodge Dakota's and far higher than the Ford Ranger's and Chevrolet Colorado's.