By KBB.com Editors
The days of the compact pickup are fast closing. Witness the 2010 Nissan Frontier, a once-compact contender that has grown in size, power and weight. Along the way, it has also grown in capability and passenger comfort, placing it in the same general category as the mid-size 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 under $20,000.
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 2010 Nissan Frontier will impress you with its capability, utility and refined ride.
Even though the Frontier's V6 is impressively smooth and powerful, if your workload – or playload – absolutely demands a big V8, then you'll have to look elsewhere. Also, the Frontier does not offer a standard-cab model.
All 2010 Nissan Frontier models now feature front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags, while V6 models pick up VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) stability control as part of their standard equipment roster. In addition, SE and LE 4WD models are outfitted with standard Hill Decent Control and Hill Start Assist.
Driving Impressions That we expected more acceleration from the Frontier's 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 variant of the acclaimed engine found in the company's 370Z, Maxima and Infiniti G37 might be the smoothest, strongest V6 engine ever put in a pickup. In addition, the 2010 Nissan 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.
Utili-track Bed Channel System
Movable and removable cleats make it easy to transport even cumbersome cargo loads safely.
Fitted atop the dash in its own protective pop-up enclosure, the Garmin Nuvi 750 navigation system cost less than $300 and is completely updatable via the Internet. Compared with much pricier built-in DVD-based systems, the Garmin option is clearly the winning choice.
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 2010 Nissan 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. Nissan also offers a spray-in bed liner as well as a number of off-road upgrades, skid plates and wheel options.
In base XE trim, the 2010 Nissan 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), front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags, and 15-inch steel wheels. Five and six-foot bed lengths are available on the Crew Cab, while the King Cab offers only a six-foot bed.
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, Bluetooth and a dealer-installed portable pop-up Garmin navigation unit, The PRO-4X off-road model includes the Utili-track system, an on-demand electronic locking rear differential, skid plates and Bilstein performance shocks. LE trims can be outfitted with power driver's and passengers seats, leather seating surfaces and a power glass moonroof.
The economical four-cylinder engine is offered only on the two-wheel-drive XE King Cab, which might become an issue if gasoline prices start to soar again. The V6 is plenty powerful and does offer the choice between a 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: 19/23 (2WD, manual), 17/22 (2WD, automatic)
261 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
281 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20 (2WD, manual), 15/20 (2WD, automatic), 15/19 (4WD, manual), 14/19 (4WD, automatic)
By echo3389 on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "good power, good price, 4x4, handles well"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Good truck, 4x4 has done very well off road and in the snow/slush/sleet/ice untreated roads/etc. Has good power. Only true drawback is the transmission: Its shift points are a little weird and it has lag when shifting into reverse. Essentially you shift and then it thinks about it for a few seconds and then drops into gear with a significant thump. I've heard this complaint about the 2010 Frontier before, and it doesn't seem to impact reliability, it's just annoying. Also, going down the road it behaves at highway speed but can be a little slow to shift through the lower gears under acceleration. Interior is nice with plenty of space, dash and instrument cluster are well designed and functional. Overall I like the truck (aside from that silly transmission)."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Jo Trucker on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, Sporty, decent gas mileage, versatile."
Cons: "Heavy, tires are expensive. But thats just me."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this truck used with 20,000 miles on it and has never stranded me anywhere. Very reliable and worth every penny of the $17,500 I paid for it. The version is a Nismo which compared to standard trucks of this make has a few extras that I like such as Bilstein shocks, rear locking differential, alloy wheels, bottom skid plates, (the metal could've been made with higher gauge steel as it's a little thin but probably wanted to make the GVW lighter which is understandable). The truck is sporty, has aluminum wheels and look good with the original OE tires BF Goodrich Rugged Trails with the white lettering out. Plenty of room for your stuff in the rear of the cab and even comes stock with a first aid kit and tie down strap storage box. The stock audio is only 4 speaker (2 6X9's in the front doors and 2 6.5" in the rear doors) it has dash speaker slots for tweeters on driver and passenger sides for a component speaker system but isn't stock. Surprisingly the stock speakers are 2 ohm and sound fair, made by Blaupunkt. I replaced mine with Alpines and a Pioneer DVD double Din. Tires are expensive when they wear out about $550 a whack at one time but thats the BF Goodrich that is OE. The worst thing that happened is I started hearing a whine from the engine and did some research online and found out this year and others has a timing chain tensioner issue where the material that the timing chain rides against gets worn down and starts to whine, they say it doesn't affect the performance of the engine it's just an annoying noise and it is. The dealer covered all the costs to replace the timing chain and tensioners but took all day. They told me the new parts have proved to stand the abuse of the timing chain and it wont happen again as they are using different material now. FYI they also told me had I had to pay for the job it would've cost me in the neighborhood of $5G's wow! Motor has plenty of power 4.0L V6 and has a good powerband at about 40 MPH it takes off. 6 years later I have 76K on the truck which i get is low for an 07 but I only drive 3 miles 1 way to work. The seats are comfortable with lumbar support on the driver seat and passenger seat has a folding back to make room for oddball shaped cargo or your German Sheperd as I do. Recently I have had several offers for it but I like it too much to 86 it just yet or maybe never. If you want a solid truck that is reliable and looks sporty but dont want to fork out the cheddar for the Toyota (Get this..as I said I paid $17,500 for the 07 Nismo in January of 09 with 20,000K on it and there was a 94 Toyota Tacoma with 68,000K on it and they were asking $18,300) WOW! no brainer for me and the gold YUK paint was oxidized, seats were torn and very worn..whatever. The Nismo looked and smelled new still. Nutshell, Great Truck!!!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Sher on Thursday, February 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 280,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"It has been a very dependable truck which has been great for hauling and camping. A smooth ride with excellent air conditioning and heat. 9 years with only regular maintaince other than replacing the brakes and clutch. The one flaw is that the paint has oxidized patches. I would recommend this truck to others."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By billsfan on Saturday, January 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I like the Nissan Frontier. I wish I had picked the crew cab and automatic trans instead of the 6-speed, king cab; too much shifting, especially in town. Rear flip up seats are too small for anyone over 3-4 years old and they have to be in car seats anyway. Also, the four wheel drive doesn't always disengage like it should. I sometimes have to stop and back up before it will disengage."
18 people out of 35 found this review helpful
By mike d. on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,700overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks good,decent fuel mpg for a truck"
Cons: "wide turn for a small width truck"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Nissan won't do recall on known problems with their vehicles,instead they give you a limited extended warranty.I would have given higher ratings for reliability and overall rating if Nissan did the right thing and had recalls for known problems/defects."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Joe on Thursday, December 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,900overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, Handleing, Hauling and Pulling Ability."
Cons: "Really, I can't think of any."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"For the Record,, I test drove them all, Silverado, Ford S150, Toyota Tacoma/Tundra, Ram 1500, and again, I Chose Nissan for the most Truck for the Buck. So far, I'm really glad that I got another Nissan Truck. This Truck take's the curve's better than the '93 I4 AT KC Nissan Truck, that I had for 20 year's, and replaced it with a New '13 SVV6 AT KC Nissan Truck. I've had the '13 now for about 1 1/2 year's. So far,, I like everything about this Truck. The V6 has a lot of Horse Power. When I first got the '13,, I was getting about 19.5 MPG, in mixed driving. Seem's like after the Ring's seated at about 2000 mile's, the MPG went up to about 20.5, in Mixed driveing. The '13 is getting about the same MPG,, as I was getting with the '93 4 cyl. in mixed driveing. I'm real pleased. I'm also pleased with the way the Truck look's as well. Nissan did a very good job on Styling. I'm retired,, and only have about 3900 mile's on the '13, so I just can't say about durability yet. But I can say,, according to KBB, the '13,, is holding it's value really good,, and is still worth more than I paid for the Truck. Good Luck with whichever Truck that you get."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful