"have owned Nissan pickups since 1984. I purchased an XE model (the 4-cylinder version) in August of 2005, with a bedliner and the Popular package including the sliding rear window, tinted windows, AC, and upgraded stereo. The release of the 2005 model year is a milestone for this series of vehicles. Here's why...
Let's start with the frame. This is the toughest frame made for a truck in this size. It is a "junior" version of the same frame used by the Frontiers cousin,the full-size Titan, and it is a huge improvement over the very antiquated frame used by Nissan trucks from 1986.5 through 2004. While that old frame was certainly more car-like, this frame means business. It helps provide increased payload and towing capability over previous models, especially when coupled with the 6 cylinder engine.
You get your choice of two different engines within the Frontier line. The 4 cylinder is a tried and true 2.5 liter 155 Horsepower engine that has been used for years in Nissan Altima and Sentra vehicles. It is coupled with a 5 speed manual or a 5 speed automatic. If you require lots of raw power, the 4 cylinder is not the choice for you. It could certainly be described as "gutless" in hard accelerating and has little power to spare for towing or working with heavy loads. On the other hand, you will get good mileage with the 4-banger. In 16,000 miles, gas mileage is solidly in the 22 mpg range with mostly freeway driving in Southern California. I have had only a few fills that gave me less than 22 mpg, and also only a few fills that gave me better than 23 mpg. The 21.1 gallon fuel tank means great range of 400+ miles from each tank. This really met my expectations well.
If you need power however, then you really need to step up to the SE or LE line and get the 6 cylinder. The 4.0 liter 6 cylinder powerhouse produces 265 horsepower and compares nicely--to the competitions base 8 cylinder engines. The 6 cylinder from Nissan is paired with a 6 speed manual or a 5 speed automatic transmission. This engine along with a towing package will increase max towing capability to 6,500 pounds. Note--the 4 wheel drive and crew cab versions of this truck only come with the 6 cylinder, as the 4 cylinder would just not have enough ponies.
The King cab version of this truck has swing-out rear doors to aid access to the area behind the seat. While there are fold down jump-seats in the rear, it takes a very small person in back, and a very cramped person in front with the front bucket seat slid forward most of the way. As a 6'2" driver, the jump seat behind my seat is never used. The bucket front seats have a very durable cloth covering, and have good firm support for a comfortable ride. These seats will give you all-day comfort.
The rest of the interior is average in my XE model. I would love to say better things, but there is a dominating presence of plastic everywhere that may turn off some who want a more refined look and finish. The center console gives you a large storage area along with 2 cup holders. There are two more swing-out cup holders at the rear base of the center console for use by jump seat passengers. Instrumentation is solid and functional with a tach and an assortment of warning lights in an efficient arrangement. There is even a warning light for tire pressure! The CD/Radio with 4 speakers is OK, but don't expect thrilling true-sounding audio from this setup. The dash also features 2 different "glove box" storage compartments. One door swings down, holding the owners manuals. The other storage compartment door actually swings up. I didn't even know it was there for several months, as it simply looks like a covering for the airbag support system. That airbag system is connected to a seat sensor that turns off the passenger airbag if it does not detect an "adult" level of weight in the passenger seat. This is a great safety feature for younger riders. Nissan's commitment to safety is also present in standard 4-wheel anti-lock brakes.
There are many accessories for the bed of this great truck. Nissan really pushes the Utilitrack system allowing easily adjustable anchor points for hauling items. I really do not carry cargo often, so I opted for the standard bedliner. You can also get a sprayed-on bedliner coating that is color-matched.
All in all, this truck has grown up from it's little cousin predecessors."
"Bought the PRO4-X package and have really liked the truck so far. However, my rear wheel seals and pinion seal have all failed in the past week. My wife has an 09 Xterra off road and has also had both of her rear wheel seals fail. Hers went at about 55,000 miles. Both vehicles were taken care of under warranty, but this tells me there are serious problems with the design of the rear axle. These seals should not be failing this early. The dealership has no explanation why it's happening either."
"We were quite surprised how well this vehicle handles and performs on the road. Nissan put a really nice package together called the value package for the SV model. It comes with many of the accessories that were not part of any package in the past. It includes trailer towing package, SIRIUS XM, Sonar System and Back-Up Camera, Spray-in Bed-liner, and much more. I do miss the power seats and lumbar but it’s not that big of a deal. When I compared all the specifications to the Toyota Tacoma I think you are getting a lot more truck for the money. The chassis is a complete box channel frame compared to the Tacoma’s C channel frame. The Frontier also comes with front and rear disc brakes as a standard feature. I drove both and I think the Frontier is much better than the Tacoma. My truck is equipped with the V-6, Automatic Transmission and this truck is very fast and powerful. If you are looking for a all around good truck I would strongly recommend this truck."
"2012 Frontier SV 2.5L 4 cylinder - More than enough power for the daily commute (80 miles) and lets me drive 490+ miles per tank at 65 mph. Hauls 1,000 pounds in the bed without a problem. 154 horses isn't much but the 170+ foot pounds of torque more than make up for it. The V6 is much faster and quieter but just does not achieve the fuel mileage in town or on the highway as does the L4. Ride and handling are great. Not a fan of 4 cylinder motors but this one will do just fine for light to medium truck duty."
"bought mine brand new in 2005 and absolutly love this vehicle...have done nothing but change the oil and finally at 62K miles had to replace the stock tires...I woudl highly recommend this vehicle..."
Pros: "Runs strong and smooth, looks great, great deal."
Cons: "Wish better MPG, bigger king cab seating in back."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was so satisfied with my 97 Nissan truck, that I didn't even look at any other trucks when it came time to up-grade to a new (at the time) 6 cylinder 2007 model. I already knew what I wanted, and was very happy with the looks at first sight. The comfortable seating, higher suspension, and larger tires felt like I was in a full size truck. The six speed and 4 doors was an unexpected plus. The low maintenance, reliability, strong power and smooth ride every time I drive and haul things gives me confidence to just enjoy the quiet ride. I know I will enjoy it for years to come and will get many miles out of it just like my last Nissan truck (230K miles) and still running strong. Though I do wish I had gotten more options, better gas milage, and had more room for passenger seating in the back. (Maybe a crew cab)."
"Inexpensive, reliable and a good value. Nothing fancy about these trucks but they just plain work. And for the money, they're hard to beat. I drove my first one back in the late 80's/early 90's until it was pretty much all used up.
Still on the second one. No problems in 5 years. No repair bills."
"2005 Le w/ ext cab rides suprisingly well and could not have made a better choice for the money. I love to park it next to my inlaws colorado for the same money and show the huge diff in vehicles. I added sunroof, and soft tonneua is a little cheaply made. Great for towing and carrying lawnmower or motocyle. Tailgate is a little heavy, but since redesigned in newer models. I only wish that the truck had better head clearance for someone over 6ft and that arm rest was longer. I would recommend to anyone who never owned a truck. This is our 5th nissan we have owned. Great design, excellent ponies, average fuel economy for 4.0 liter w/tons of torgue and towing capacity."