By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
The midsize pickup field has been whittled down to just two players for 2014: the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma. The very capable 2014 Frontier offers a more powerful V6 and its entry-level model comes with a more spacious King Cab as standard fare. As an alternative to a full-size pickup, the Frontier offers impressive power and tow ratings. However, as some newer full-size trucks now beat the Frontier's fuel economy and towing, the Frontier's smaller footprint becomes its most appealing selling point. A look at some of the Frontier's features give a clue that this truck is designed more for recreation than as a heavy hauling work truck. From its spray-in bedliner to its advanced navigation and infotainment options, the Frontier is designed to be rugged, comfortable and affordable.
If you're looking for a tough and affordable truck with serious off-road credentials, but you don't have the space for a full-size pickup, the 2014 Nissan Frontier is the perfect solution. Tow-rated up to 6,500 pounds, the Frontier can pull more than most crossover SUVs.
Big jobs still require a big truck. The Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 have more power and get better gas mileage than the Frontier, although they also cost a fair bit more. Those seeking a simple regular-cab truck will have to look to the Toyota Tacoma.
New standard features for the S trim with automatic transmission include Bluetooth, cruise control and air conditioning, while heated cloth seats are made standard on PRO-4X and available on the SV. Three new wheel options, upgraded audio and navigation, and a sliding rear window on all Crew Cabs except the S trim round out the changes for 2014.
Driving Impressions As a daily driver, the 2014 Nissan Frontier holds its own against the Toyota Tacoma and drives as well as most truck-based SUVs. However, the Frontier's ride does become noticeably...... harsh when it encounters rough pavement and unpaved roads. When equipped with the 4.0-liter V6 the Frontier feels strong and confident, offering up plenty of power for passing or pulling, even at high speeds. The V6's fuel economy, on the other hand, didn't impress us, especially in around-town driving where we averaged about 15 mpg. Inside, we found the Frontier's cabin quite comfortable, with a well laid out dash and firm seating. Unfortunately, the large exterior mirrors produced more wind noise than we'd have liked. For those looking to take their truck off-road, the Desert Runner package offers 4-wheel drive and Bilstein performance shocks, while the PRO-4X brings additional skidplating and a locking center differential.
This helpful feature comes with the navigation system and provides up-to-date information regarding traffic, weather and even points of interest. The new Apps feature allows integration with an iPhone or Android smartphone, further expanding the system's capabilities.
UTILI-TRACK BED-CHANNEL SYSTEM
Keeping objects from falling out of the truck bed is always a good idea, which is why we love the available built-in Utili-track system. With adjustable tie-down cleats built into the bed, the system can be configured to hold all manner of cargo or equipment.
The 2014 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 skidplates to protect vital parts from nature's jabs. Top-line Crew Cab SL trims have tubular roof rails similar to those on the Xterra.
Except for base S King Cab models with a manual transmission, most 2014 Nissan Frontiers are reasonably well equipped. The base S with an automatic includes air conditioning, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD stereo and Bluetooth. Stepping up to SV trim adds features like power windows and mirrors as well as a USB-equipped audio system with color display. PRO-4X models have 4-wheel drive standard and a locking differential. The Crew Cab SL brings 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.
Most convenience and performance features are tied to varying trim levels of the Frontier, but some packages are available. Among them is a Preferred Package for King Cab S models that adds 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 rearview 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 2014 Nissan Frontier: a 4-cylinder that's available in rear-wheel-drive (2WD) 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 2014 Nissan Frontiers run on regular unleaded gasoline. The Frontier's fuel economy is 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)
The 2014 Nissan Frontier has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $19,000 for an S trim King Cab with a manual transmission. At the other end of the spectrum, a 4WD Frontier Crew Cab SL starts close to $35,000. The Toyota Tacoma's base price is a few hundred less than the Frontier's and provides more standard features but less interior room. Roomier versions of the Tacoma with rear seating are comparable in price to similarly equipped Frontiers. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying for the 2014 Nissan Frontier. In the battle for resale value, the Nissan holds its own, but isn't as high as that of the Toyota in this 2-horse race.
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."
7 people out of 13 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 29 found this review helpful