By KBB.com Editors
Where full-size pickup trucks tend to be employed as workhorses, their mid-sized counterparts usually enjoy a more recreational life. Take the 2011 Nissan Frontier, for example, which offers a number of configurations ideal for camping, towing, or hauling bikes and outdoor gear; it can even be outfitted to venture far off the beaten path. With its fully boxed frame, available Utili-track Bed Channel System and a spray-in bed liner, the Frontier is primarily designed with a good time in mind. But, the Frontier can still do the work expected of a pickup when asked. The Frontier's powerful V6 engine is one of the strongest in the segment, providing superior power for towing and passing. About the only drawback to the Frontier line is the absence of a regular cab model. However, with the entry-level King Cab starting around $18,000, we don't think many buyers will mind moving up to a bigger cab.}
If you're looking for a reasonably priced midsize pickup that is as comfortable off-road as it is on a long stretch of highway, check out the 2011 Nissan Frontier. With its powerful V6 and fully boxed frame, the Frontier can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
If you require the power of a V8 engine or the comfy confines of a standard regular cab, the 2011 Nissan Frontier offers neither.
Changes to the 2011 Nissan Frontier include new designations and some revised option packages. The Frontier XE, SE and LE are replaced by the Frontier S, SV and SL, while the S and PRO 4X are now offered in Crew Cab form. A Vehicle Immobilizer and bed rail caps are now standard on Frontier SV, PRO-4X and SL models.
Driving Impressions Knowing that the V6 engine beneath the 2011 Nissan Frontier's hood is a variant of the acclaimed engine found in the 370Z had us hoping for blistering performance: we didn't...get it. But, with 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, the Frontier's 4.0-liter dynamo still performed admirably. More importantly is how smooth and quiet the engine operates, as well as its fairly respectable fuel economy in highway driving. Other than the wind noise generated by the oversized side mirrors, the Frontier's cabin is quiet and comfortable, especially for a pickup with such noteworthy capabilities. In day-to-day driving, the Frontier handles and rides as well as any sedan, although the vehicle becomes decidedly more truck-like when equipped with the PRO-4X's larger BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires. Part of our test drive included some serious rock-crawling, 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 2011 Nissan Frontier's cabin is both flexible and accommodating, with features such as 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, as is a power glass moonroof. Crew Cab models feature traditional rear doors and a conventional back seat, while the standard King Cab model is fitted with smaller rear-hinged rear doors that provide access to flip-up rear seats. Both models offer removable storage boxes beneath the rear seats, plus an available fold-flat front passenger seat for increased interior cargo flexibility.Exterior
Although the 2011 Nissan Frontier's bulging fender flares and "angled strut" grille bear more than a passing resemblance to the full-size Nissan Titan, the Frontier's smaller dimensions translate into a much sportier appearance. Available in King or Crew Cab, and with a short or long bed, there is a Frontier to fit almost every need. Features such as a factory spray-in bed liner help keep scuffs and dents to minimum, while available skid plates protect the Frontier's undercarriage. Cargo of all shapes and sizes can be securely anchored, thanks to the Frontier's available Utili-track tie-down system that offers a five-rail in-bed system with movable cargo hooks.
In base S trim, the 2011 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 bed liner, 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. The PRO-4X Luxury Package adds power driver and passengers seats, heated leather front seating surfaces, a roof rack with crossbars and a power glass moonroof.
The economical four-cylinder engine is offered only on the two-wheel-drive S and SV 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), 15/20 (4WD, manual), 14/19 (4WD, automatic)
By Mike M on Saturday, October 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,748overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun and easy to drive."
Cons: "Driver seat could go back further for tall drivers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Nice sporty looking truck. Handles very well and runs great. Doesn't use a drop of oil. Tinted windows on truck and matching high rise canopy. Whole vehicle alarm system including canopy. Locking tailgate for added security. Great after market 4 speaker stereo. Cruise. Bug deflector. K & N air filter. Almost entirely highway miles. Corbeau racing seat on driver's side gives ample room and comfort for tallest drivers. Factory bed liner. Deer whistles."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By ThatGuy2012 on Wednesday, October 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,765overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, comfortable, smooth ride"
Cons: "It has an obtuse turn radius on it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love this truck, its super simple yet has a nice appeal to it. Had never had any problems with it. I drive back and forth between Texas and Georgia 2-3 times a year and never had a problem. The only thing I don't care so much for is how basic it is. There is no usb input or bluetooth. Also, can't forget the part about no cruise control, that's what I despise the most about it. Other than that I have no problems with it."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Mark on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Currently 102000 miles, not one problem. Truck has original brakes! Nissan quality. Only dislike is the use of hard, cheap plastics inside. But for $26000, I will take it. I have owned 2 frontiers and would not hesitate to buy a third."
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By JM on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power,MPG,Towing,Rack&Pinion,4W Disk,Roomy,"
Cons: "So Far None"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"@ 3500 Mile's it is way too early to give a Value, Reliability, or Quality Review, but so far so good. Previously owned a '93 Nissan KK, AT, 2WD, 4cyl. Bought it New,, Kept for 20 year's, & 176K Mile's. It was a really good Truck, and nothing major wrong with Truck, when I sold it. Engine was still Smooth, Quiet, and AT,, was still good with no problem's. Paid 11K $'s,, and sold it for 4K $'s. So don't let anybody tell you that a Nissan doesn't hold it's Value, as long as you take good care of it,, with Floor Mat's, Seat Cover's, & Engine Maintenance. They Pay Good Money for a Truck that is Taken Good Care of. Nobody Want's a Ragged Out Raw Hided Truck with hole's in the Seat. Which is mostly why, I went with a New Nissan Truck Again in 2013. Although Money Talk's,, and Nissan Beat's the Heck out of Toyota and the Othern's on Price and Value. Nissan V6's come standard with a Transmission Cooler,, but a Toyota V6 doesn't. That's a Big $ item too. So far my 2013 SVV6 AT 2WD KC Frontier is doing well,, with no problem's. Engine is quiet,, but a new engine should be, anyway. MPG - I'm getting right @ 21 MPG with mixed driveing,, which is about what I was getting with the '93 AT 2WD 4Cyl KC. Same Driveing over same route, same Station/same Pump, And that's Amazing to me. :) So far so good, but I'll know more in about 10 year's."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Cliff B on Friday, July 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,325overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gets 19 miles to gallon"
Cons: "Cramped driving, no leg room, thin paint on body"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought a new Nissan Frontier ,in Riviera Beach Fl. about one year ago, have 22K miles, at 4000 miles went to rotate tires did passenger side first then drivers side second rear lug spun, Service said you touched we're not responsible, Nissan Motor Corp. said they don't have factory defects, they wouldn't fix either. at 6000, miles stereo speakers went out, service said nothing wrong with speakers would not replace, 15000 miles drivers side rear half inch bolt reduced to 3/8 inch thread holding leaf spring to shackle broke, I had a Samsung refrigerator in truck bed, leaf spring failed then passenger side failed, resulting in my paying $660. to reshape leaf springs and add helper spring to correctly fix sprung leaf springs, Service rep said I must have over loaded truck, A Refrigerator? Really. Then last week 6/28/014 battery was dead and had to replace, of course Dealer still wouldn't stand behind factory warranty, It Had a Warranty?"
17 people out of 32 found this review helpful
By M1Agawam on Thursday, May 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Standard is fun to drive, v6 has power!"
Cons: "Nissan's attitude towards their customers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"This was an emergency purchase in 2010 (son's car died and I gave him my old one). I'd been looking around for about a year and, despite being an unhappy Nissan auto owner in the distant past, I identified the Nissan Frontier as my next purchase. It had 20k miles on it so I purchased the extended warranty. I'm glad I did because the warranty paid for itself within the first year! Rear axle seal (passenger side) kept blowing out and ruining the e-brake pads (which they refuse to replace under warranty). This happened twice while I was on the factory warranty. I also had to have tie rods replaced and the fuel pump and sensors replaced. I drive this truck about 800 miles a month and most of that is on the highway, I don't off-road or anything. Every Nissan I've ever owned has had some sort of major flaw which has really killed the brand for me."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful