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 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."
By kanman on Saturday, November 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice looking truck, Reasonably priced"
Cons: "Poor quality and Poor MPG"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I had always wanted one of these pickups. They were the perfect size pickup for me, I liked the looks of it, and it was reasonably priced, so I purchased one used with 30,000 miles with a clean carfax. Here is what I have noticed in 2 years of just city/highway driving: Mileage is only 13-15 MPG, Very noisy cabin, lots of squeaks and rattles, Cabin vibrates excessively at idle, Factory brakes squeal, Paint chips very easily, paint is also cracking on roof, Constantly having to replace items that come loose underneath, such as exhaust parts, heat shield, etc. No Major problems, so far, but I don't have a lot of confidence in this truck, as it has left me stranded on a couple of occasions because of starting problems."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By king frontier on Friday, November 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, sporty feel, quick and powerful"
Cons: "not a full-size truck"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"this truck has served me very well over the past 10 years. i have towed and hauled large loads and trailers that you would only expect a full-size truck to handle. the inside is small for a person who is slightly larger than average. maintenance has been very affordable on this truck. i have used mobil 1 full synthetic motor oil since the day i bought the truck and changed it every 5,000 miles. good quality tires could be found for less than $150 each. i had to replace the cam sensors at 160,000 miles, and the driver's window motor (that i rolled up and down every single day, and every single time that i drove the truck) and regulator at 165,000. the only issues that i had with this truck that upset me was more with the nissan design and quality. the catalytic converters went bad at 90,000 miles. i had purchased an extended warranty on the truck when i bought it brand new and nissan would not cover this part because the manufacturer only covered it until 80,000 miles. after arguing with nissan about it i ended up paying $1,600 for the parts and replaced them myself for what the dealer was going to charge me $2,800 to do. the transmission had to be replaced at 140,000 miles for a problem nissan was aware of but would only cover under a recall if it was done with less than 100,000 miles. i ended up having to pay for a new transmission and a modification to have an external trans cooler and replace the faulty radiator that leaks coolant into the transmission side. unfortunately nissan was aware of this problem and would not issue a complete recall to replace the radiator, only extended the factory warranty coverage for it. i still drive this truck about 100 miles everyday. i plan to get rid of it for a full-size truck and will not go with nissan after the issues i had with known problems that i had to pay thousands of dollars to fix. however, i am still very satisfied with how this truck has held up and the work it has done that many people including the dealer said it cannot do because of its size. i towed a 12 foot box trailer fully loaded across the country (new york to texas) 2 days without issue and had to tow a full-size truck on a flatbed trailer for a friend."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
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."
18 people out of 30 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."
6 people out of 8 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 22 found this review helpful