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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the Frontier Crew Cab
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.
NISSANCONNECT 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.
2014 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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.
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.
Cons: "You won't get over $125,000 without spending $$$$"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"A known issue with these trucks is that the radiator fluid leaks INTO the transmission and vice versa. I have spent about $5,000 now trying to get the damage fixed and am still having troubles. I will never buy another Nissan again. They told me it wasn't covered because I had surpassed the mileage of my warranty, yet they knew about this problem and nobody told me when I could have gotten it fixed long ago, when it was still covered.
The turning radius is worse than any truck I've ever owned, even far larger ones. It turns like a boat.
The interior is pretty basic compared to most vehicles of the same year and price range."
"This truck has served our family well in providing a 4-door vehicle that has great carrying capacity. We have an aluminum cover over the bed so we have lockable storage, which makes it even more versatile. I haven't had any mechanical problems and we have moved from Utah to Texas in the truck. It rode great and handled well totally loaded."