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2015 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab

Overview
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2015 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Nissan Frontier had only the Toyota Tacoma as competition. This year, though, the Nissan Frontier has new competition from GM: The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon both promise to shake up the midsize- truck market, big time. Suddenly, the Frontier seems dated, with fuel economy, power and capability that lag its newest rivals, sometimes by wide margins. Nonetheless, the Frontier still offers midsize-truck buyers a choice of a lot of capability in a slightly smaller package than the two new GM offerings. 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...

The 2015 Nissan Frontier offers serious off-road credentials in a tough and rugged package, all at a price that's considerably less than a full-size truck. Able to tow up to 6,500 pounds, the Frontier can pull more than most crossover SUVs.

You May Not Like This Car If...

There are two knocks against the Frontier. First, it's still true that big jobs require a big truck, and for those tasks the Frontier comes up short. The other, of course, is that it is suddenly very dated compared to the new trucks from GM.

What's New for 2015

Changes this year are minor and mostly centered around increased availability of NIssanConnect in the Frontier lineup. The connectivity technology is now standard with a 5.0-inch screen on Frontier SV and Desert Runner models, and standard with navigation on PRO-4X models. Additionally, Frontier SL long-wheelbase models get a standard moonroof.

Driving the Frontier Crew Cab
Driving Impressions

In day-to-day duties, the 2015 Nissan Frontier outclasses the Toyota Tacoma, and is roughly on par with a truck-based SUV, such as the Nissan Xterra. However, on...

... rough pavement, the Frontier gets notably harsher, especially when the pavement ends. We like the power from the 4.0-liter V6 engine, but not the resulting fuel economy; we averaged about 15 mpg around town, which is easily matched by full-size trucks these days. The interior is comfortable, and the dash layout is clean and simple but notably dated. At speed, there's plenty of wind noise from the large outside mirrors, and engine and road noise intrude as well. For those looking to take their truck off-road, the Desert Runner package offers 4-wheel drive (4WD) and Bilstein performance shocks, while the PRO-4X brings additional skidplating and a locking center differential.

NISSANCONNECT
Like many modern systems, NissanConnect gives the Frontier's infotainment system a smartphone-like interface, complete with apps. Available this year with and without navigation, the Apps features allow integration with an iPhone or Android smartphone, further expanding the system’s capabilities.

UTILI-TRACK BED-CHANNEL SYSTEM
The big open bed of a pickup truck means you can haul oversize stuff, but it doesn't change the laws of physics, and stuff can still fall out. The Utili-Track system in the Frontier uses adjustable tie-down cleats built into the bed to hold all manner of cargo or equipment.

2015 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Details
Interior

While the design is definitely dated, the 2015 Nissan Frontier offers a comfortable and versatile interior. Open the rear-hinged doors of the King Cab model and you'll find a pair of cramped seats; if you plan on carrying passengers frequently, it's best to opt for the Crew Cab model with its traditional doors and adult-sized 3-passenger bench. The rear seats on all Frontier models flip up for more space, and the front-passenger seat can fold flat, creating an impromptu workstation. Leather replaces cloth on higher trim levels, but a telescoping steering wheel isn't available on the Frontier.

Exterior

The 2015 Nissan Frontier bears a strong family resemblance to the Xterra SUV, Nissan Titan and Nissan Armada SUV, not surprising since they all share a lot under the skin. However, the Frontier has a smaller, more athletic appearance than the hulking Titan. The Frontier is also versatile, with a long bed available on Crew Cab models, giving it the same bed length as the smaller-cabin King Cab. Off-road equipment like skidplates adorn the PRO-4X models, while the Top-line Crew Cab SL trims have tubular roof rails similar to those on the Xterra.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Skip the stripped-down, manual-transmission King Cab S model, and you'll find a reasonably well-equipped lineup with the Nissan Frontier. Getting an automatic on the S adds not just the transmission, but also air conditioning, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD stereo and Bluetooth. However, if you want power windows and mirrors, or a USB-equipped audio system, you'll have to move up to the SV trims, which this year also include NissanConnect. The Crew Cab SL adds leather seats, Rockford Fosgate audio and a standard V6 engine.

Optional Equipment

Nissan Frontier S models with the manual can get a Preferred Package that adds all the equipment that comes standard with the automatic transmission. Frontier SV models also offer a Value Truck package that includes an auto-dimming mirror, spray-in bedliner, Utili-Track system, dual-zone climate control, an upgraded audio system, an alarm and a rearview camera and sensors. Crew Cab PRO-4X models offer a luxury package that includes leather seats and heated outside mirrors, while SL models can be ordered with a power moonroof.

Under the Hood

Standard on the 2015 Nissan Frontier King Cab models is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 152 horsepower. It comes with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic. Available in King Cab and standard in Crew Cab models is a 4.0-liter V6, with a far more robust 261 horsepower. Here, a 6-speed manual is standard, with a 5-speed automatic available. The 4-cylinder model is no slouch, offering a respectable tow rating of 3,500 pounds, and rear-wheel-drive (2WD) V6 models can tow up to 6,500 pounds. All 2015 Nissan Frontiers run on regular unleaded gasoline. Unfortunately, fuel economy trails far behind the new GM midsize trucks, with just 23 mpg highway for 4-cylinder models or 21/22 mpg for V6 versions.

2.5-liter inline-4
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)

4.0-liter V6
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)

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