2013 Nissan Frontier Review
Reviewers say the 2013 Nissan Frontier is held back by some cheap interior materials and a cramped back seat, but its capable engines and composed ride make it a compact pickup truck worthy of consideration.
The Frontier comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, though few critics have actually tested a model with this engine. More have reviewed Nissan Frontier models equipped with the optional V6, and test drivers like this engine for its ample power and torque. A manual transmission is standard with either engine, and an automatic, which reviewers praise for its power delivery, is optional. The Frontier achieves an EPA-estimated 19/23 mpg city/highway, which is just a bit less than the fuel economy of one of its primary rivals, the Toyota Tacoma. Reviewers are pleased with the Frontier’s generally comfortable ride and easy maneuverability.
While auto writers aren’t thrilled with the cheap plastics that make up the 2013 Frontier’s cabin, they do appreciate its simple, straightforward layout of audio and climate controls. Most critics caution that the four-seat king (extended) cab model is not a good choice for anyone who frequently has rear passengers, noting that the five-seat crew cab offers better, though not abundant, rear-seat space. The Nissan Frontier comes standard with a four stereo speakers and little else in the way of standard features, which is typical of the class. Notable available features include an AM/FM/CD stereo, power windows and mirrors, air conditioning, a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo, auxiliary and USB inputs, Bluetooth, satellite radio, navigation, dual-zone climate control and a backup camera.
- "Still, the Frontier is a solid choice for those who don't need or want the bulk of a full-size pickup." -- Consumer Guide
- "The 2013 Nissan Frontier is a top pick in the midsize pickup segment thanks to its brawny nature, relatively nimble handling and innovative features." -- Edmunds
- "The Frontier makes a great alternative to a full-size truck. It is ideal for hauling everything from mulch to motorbikes, and feels solid on road or off. With a stronger V6 engine than the Tacoma and features like a navigation/infotainment system, spray-on bedliner and Nissan's Utili-track tie-down system, the 2013 Frontier remains one of the finest mid-size trucks we've seen in recent years." -- Kelley Blue Book
Other Trucks to Consider
Reviewers say the Toyota Tacoma has a spacious and comfortable back seat in its crew cab model, which they don’t say about the Frontier crew cab. Like the Frontier, the Tacoma is praised for its powerful V6 option and simple, straightforward interior.
If passenger space is a priority for you, the crew cab-only Honda Ridgeline is worth consideration. While it can’t tow quite as much as the Frontier, it earns good safety and reliability scores, and reviewers like its unique tailgate that opens either down or swings to one side, as well as its lockable in-bed trunk.
Details: 2013 Nissan Frontier
The 2013 Nissan Frontier king cab seats up to four, while the crew cab seats up to five. The Frontier is available with either two- or four-wheel drive. A four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission are standard, while a five-speed automatic transmission and V6 engine are optional. The crew cab is only available with the V6 engine. The Frontier comes in five trims: S, SV, Desert Runner, Pro-4X and crew cab-only SL. Each trim adds interior convenience and technology features, as well as upgraded seat materials or off-road-specific mechanical bits. Aside from minor updates, the Frontier has been largely unchanged since 2005, so this review uses applicable research and reviews from 2005 to 2013.