By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
The Nissan Frontier is one of just two mid-size pickups on the market for 2013. With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon siblings taking a year off ahead of new model introductions, that leaves only the Toyota Tacoma as the Frontier's primary competitor. Unlike the Tacoma, the Frontier does not offer a regular-cab model, but rather the more spacious King Cab and Crew Cab setups. The Frontier makes a great alternative to a full-size truck. It is ideal for hauling everything from mulch to motorbikes, and feels solid on road or off. With a stronger V6 engine than the Tacoma and features like a navigation/infotainment system, spray-on bedliner and Nissan's Utili-track tie-down system, the 2013 Frontier remains one of the finest mid-size trucks we've seen in recent years.
If you want a tough but well-equipped truck that's smaller and more fuel-efficient than most full-size pickups, the Nissan Frontier is a solid choice. The 2013 Frontier can tow up to 6,500 pounds and tackle rugged paths while still offering good looks and a decent highway ride.
Those who need to tow really heavy loads will have to step up to a full-size truck like the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 or the Frontier's big brother, the Nissan Titan. If you want a basic compact truck with a regular cab, your sole option for 2013 is the Toyota Tacoma.
The NissanConnect navigation and information system is now available on Crew Cab versions of the Frontier. Top-line Crew Cab models receive a backup camera, rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control. Desert Runner off-road editions are available, and fuel economy has increased for most models.
Driving Impressions In everyday driving, the Frontier performs as well any mid-size SUV we've tested, though the truck's ride becomes noticeably harsher over rough pavement. Paired with the refined 4.0-liter V6 engine...that is standard on Crew Cab models and all but the two lowest trims of the King Cab, the Nissan Frontier has plenty of power for passing vehicles and pulling loads. With the exception of wind noise from the large side mirrors, we found the Frontier's cabin quiet and comfortable. Those who go off-roading – or just want to appear as if they do – will be interested in the Desert Runner or even more hardcore PRO-4X models. During our test with a PRO-4X 4-wheel-drive (4WD) model, the Nissan Frontier easily tackled tough terrain thanks to features like a locking rear differential and Bilstein performance shocks.
In addition to a much-needed navigation system, NissanConnect provides information about traffic, weather and points of interest. The system takes prompts from voice command or the touch of a finger on its 5.8-inch color screen.
UTILI-TRACK BED CHANNEL SYSTEM
If you own a truck, you're more than likely to move something in it. Nissan's Utili-track makes the job easier and more secure thanks to adjustable tie-down cleats built into the bed.
The 2013 Frontier's cabin is versatile and comfortable. King Cab models feature a pair of small, forward-facing rear seats with storage bins beneath, while Crew Cab models have a 3-row bench that's comfortable enough for adults. The King Cab has easy rear access thanks to half-size rear-hinged doors, while Crew Cabs use regular doors. All Frontiers boast storage versatility with rear seats that flip up to create open space and a front passenger seat that folds flat to become an impromptu workstation. Cloth is the standard seat material, with leather available. Lumbar support in higher trims improves driver comfort. We wish the steering wheel would telescope and not just tilt.Exterior
With its raised fender flares and blocky design, the Frontier has a familiar family resemblance to Nissan's Xterra SUV and Titan full-size truck. Unlike the mammoth Titan, the smaller Frontier has a sportier, more athletic attitude. King Cab and Crew Cab models have the same overall length of 205.5 inches. A long bed is available in Crew Cabs, giving them the same 73.3-inch size of those found on King Cab models. PRO-4X models have multiple skid plates to protect vital parts from nature's jabs. Top-line Crew Cab SL trims have tubular roof rails similar to those on the Xterra.
Most 2013 Nissan Frontier models are reasonably well equipped with the exception of base S trim King Cab models. Those least expensive of Frontier models lack air conditioning, power mirrors, power door locks and power windows, cruise control, and even a radio. Stepping up to SV trim adds features like an AM/FM/CD/USB audio system with color display. PRO-4X models have 4-wheel drive standard and a locking differential. Crew Cab SL models come very well equipped with leather seats, Rockford Fosgate premium audio and the NissanConnect system. Frontier King Cab models come with a 4- or 6-cylinder engine, while all Crew Cab models exclusively use the V6. Wheels range in size from 15 to 18 inches.
Most convenience and performance features are tied to varying trim levels of the Frontier, but some packages are available. Among them are a Preferred Package for King Cab S models that add the much-needed AM/FM/CD player and air conditioning. Higher-trim models can add features such as the Utili-track tie-down system, a rear-view monitor, a tow hitch, navigation, Bluetooth wireless streaming, and Pandora radio. Crew Cab models can substitute their roughly 5-foot-long bed for one that's just over six feet like those in King Cab models. Accessories include a bedliner, step rails and even a dome tent for the truck bed.
Two engines are offered in the 2013 Nissan Frontier: a 4-cylinder that's available in rear-wheel-drive King Cab models, or a more powerful V6 offered in all Crew Cab models and higher trims of the King Cab. Transmission choices include 5-speed and 6-speed manuals or a 5-speed automatic. Even 4-cylinder models have a respectable tow rating of 3,500 pounds, and rear-wheel-drive V6 models can tow up to 6,500 pounds. All 2013 Nissan Frontiers run on regular unleaded gasoline. The Frontier's fuel economy has improved slightly, but is still rated at only up to 23 mpg for 4-cylinder models or 22 mpg for V6 versions.
152 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23 mpg (2WD, manual), 17/23 mpg (2WD, automatic)
261 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (2WD, manual), 16/22 mpg (2WD, automatic), 16/21 mpg (4WD, manual), 15/21 mpg (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)."
2 people out of 3 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."
3 people out of 3 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 21 found this review helpful