The ultimate mid-sized truck
By Matt E on Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Good value, great to drive on and off road"
Cons: "Poor acceleration, worse fuel economy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"(2004 XE King cab 4WD 5spd manual) For the money, this is the best mid sized truck you can buy. Good looks, surprisingly rugged performance off road and even more surprisingly nimble in the corners. Great ride quality on the road. Soft and comfortable, but very agile for a truck if you get a little frisky in the corners. Bad weather or off road? Select 4WD high range in light snow or dirt and you can still corner at a high rate of speed even in adverse conditions. Throttle response and steering angle are good enough to allow some four wheel drifting. Deep snow, mud, rocks, or heavy duty pulling? Lock 4WD low range and be amazed at what this little truck can overcome. The excellent stock ground clearance coupled with Nissan's hearty four wheel drive make it downright hard to get stuck if you have any common sense as a driver. Even on all terrain tires this truck will out perform its competitors in a pinch. It even has all the gadgets you need, but none you don't. Power everything, tilt, cruise control, and a respectable sound system are all available from the factory and the interior is nicely laid out. Nothing fancy, but good quality and easy to clean. Now on to its only two real flaws: Horrible fuel economy especially when considering that it really doesn't make much power. At best I have averaged 17 mpg and the engine only makes 170 hp. In a straight line, the it is painfully slow even for a pickup, and the fuel economy is awful for a 3.3V6 built by the Japanese. If you add an intake, headers, a cam, and exhaust, the motor really wakes up (aprox 210hp) but you will need to get around emissions regulations to get it inspected. Also, the fuel economy will suffer even more. As for reliability, this is one tough machine. Mechanically it is superbly engineered, and with proper care will last well over 250k miles with no major problems. Lifter tap is an annoying characteristic of the motor, but a small price to pay for an all but bulletproof power plant. I have the 5spd Manual gearbox, and it is crisp and well geared. However, 5th gear is a bit of a stretch due to the long throw of the shift lever. As for the chassis, it does suffer from rust rather easily, particularly in the fasteners. If you are doing body work on one of these trucks, expect to snap one in every four of the small bolts you go to loosen. PB blast and WD40 are your best friends on any job. Overall I adore my Frontier. I have owned two prior Nissan truck models (D22 Hardbody 4cyl SE and 6cyl XE) but this is by far my favorite. Having one of these as a daily driver or even just as a utility vehicle will inevitably leave you very attached to the truck. No American made mid sized truck can come close to the standard the D23 Frontier sets and in my opinion only the Toyota Tacoma comes close in the import market. It is the quintessential Nissan: Well thought out, reliable, quietly brilliant and very under-rated."
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