"have owned Nissan pickups since 1984. I purchased an XE model (the 4-cylinder version) in August of 2005, with a bedliner and the Popular package including the sliding rear window, tinted windows, AC, and upgraded stereo. The release of the 2005 model year is a milestone for this series of vehicles. Here's why...
Let's start with the frame. This is the toughest frame made for a truck in this size. It is a "junior" version of the same frame used by the Frontiers cousin,the full-size Titan, and it is a huge improvement over the very antiquated frame used by Nissan trucks from 1986.5 through 2004. While that old frame was certainly more car-like, this frame means business. It helps provide increased payload and towing capability over previous models, especially when coupled with the 6 cylinder engine.
You get your choice of two different engines within the Frontier line. The 4 cylinder is a tried and true 2.5 liter 155 Horsepower engine that has been used for years in Nissan Altima and Sentra vehicles. It is coupled with a 5 speed manual or a 5 speed automatic. If you require lots of raw power, the 4 cylinder is not the choice for you. It could certainly be described as "gutless" in hard accelerating and has little power to spare for towing or working with heavy loads. On the other hand, you will get good mileage with the 4-banger. In 16,000 miles, gas mileage is solidly in the 22 mpg range with mostly freeway driving in Southern California. I have had only a few fills that gave me less than 22 mpg, and also only a few fills that gave me better than 23 mpg. The 21.1 gallon fuel tank means great range of 400+ miles from each tank. This really met my expectations well.
If you need power however, then you really need to step up to the SE or LE line and get the 6 cylinder. The 4.0 liter 6 cylinder powerhouse produces 265 horsepower and compares nicely--to the competitions base 8 cylinder engines. The 6 cylinder from Nissan is paired with a 6 speed manual or a 5 speed automatic transmission. This engine along with a towing package will increase max towing capability to 6,500 pounds. Note--the 4 wheel drive and crew cab versions of this truck only come with the 6 cylinder, as the 4 cylinder would just not have enough ponies.
The King cab version of this truck has swing-out rear doors to aid access to the area behind the seat. While there are fold down jump-seats in the rear, it takes a very small person in back, and a very cramped person in front with the front bucket seat slid forward most of the way. As a 6'2" driver, the jump seat behind my seat is never used. The bucket front seats have a very durable cloth covering, and have good firm support for a comfortable ride. These seats will give you all-day comfort.
The rest of the interior is average in my XE model. I would love to say better things, but there is a dominating presence of plastic everywhere that may turn off some who want a more refined look and finish. The center console gives you a large storage area along with 2 cup holders. There are two more swing-out cup holders at the rear base of the center console for use by jump seat passengers. Instrumentation is solid and functional with a tach and an assortment of warning lights in an efficient arrangement. There is even a warning light for tire pressure! The CD/Radio with 4 speakers is OK, but don't expect thrilling true-sounding audio from this setup. The dash also features 2 different "glove box" storage compartments. One door swings down, holding the owners manuals. The other storage compartment door actually swings up. I didn't even know it was there for several months, as it simply looks like a covering for the airbag support system. That airbag system is connected to a seat sensor that turns off the passenger airbag if it does not detect an "adult" level of weight in the passenger seat. This is a great safety feature for younger riders. Nissan's commitment to safety is also present in standard 4-wheel anti-lock brakes.
There are many accessories for the bed of this great truck. Nissan really pushes the Utilitrack system allowing easily adjustable anchor points for hauling items. I really do not carry cargo often, so I opted for the standard bedliner. You can also get a sprayed-on bedliner coating that is color-matched.
All in all, this truck has grown up from it's little cousin predecessors."
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