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 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