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#4

in Compact Pickup Trucks

MSRP: $17,990 - $35,260
Invoice: $17,252 - $33,028
MPG: 19 City / 23 Hwy
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Nissan Frontier Performance

Reviewers advise that you skip over the 2015 Nissan Frontier's base four-cylinder engine in favor of the optional V6, which they say has ample power. A few test drivers comment that the Frontier has poised handling, but others dislike its slow steering. Some reviewers find the Frontier's ride comfortable, while others say it feels stiff over rough roads.

  • "Unless squeezing every last mile from a gallon of fuel is your overriding priority, forget the Frontier's sluggish 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The fuel economy penalty for opting for the stout 4.0-liter V6 is fairly negligible, and in return you'll enjoy markedly more energetic acceleration, as well as upgraded hauling and towing ability." -- Edmunds
  • "The Nissan Frontier is a midsize pickup that offers buyers much of the capability of a full-size pickup in a smaller, more maneuverable and relatively fuel-efficient package." -- Left Lane News
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The Nissan Frontier comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. A 4.0-liter V6 engine is optional, which produces 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. Four-cylinder models come standard with a five-speed manual transmission and V6 models have a six-speed manual. A five-speed automatic transmission is available with either engine. The base 2015 Frontier gets an EPA fuel economy rating of 19/23 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class.

Auto journalists say that the V6-powered Frontier has ample power, but they report that it gets lower real-world fuel economy than many modern full-size trucks get. They note that the automatic transmission is responsive, but think another gear would be beneficial for fuel economy and cruising at highway speed.

  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We'll acknowledge that a V6-powered, crew cab Frontier with the six-speed manual transmission is a tempting (and increasingly rare) package, but most buyers are going to find the five-speed automatic transmission a better everyday companion. Still, we'd like to see Nissan add an additional overdrive gear to improve highway fuel economy and allow for quieter and more relaxed cruising at speed." -- Edmunds
  • "V6 models have plenty of low-end torque to get moving from a stop, especially in the lighter King Cabs. The automatic transmission downshifts responsively to tap into the engine's willing midrange and highway passing power." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Frontier comes standard with rear-wheel drive, while four-wheel drive is available on V6 models. Some test drivers report that the Frontier has controlled handling and a comfortable ride, though others say the ride is a bit too firm over rough roads. Several critics dislike the Frontier’s slow steering response and spongy brake pedal feel.

  • "Ride quality is better than you'd expect, even on the Pro-4X model, but when you're going around turns, the Frontier's heavy, slow steering is a hindrance, and there's no disguising the fact that this truck would rather be going straight. In addition, the brake pedal has a spongy feel that doesn't inspire confidence, even though actual stopping performance is adequate." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "Handling is nicely balanced and well controlled for a pickup truck. Body lean is noticeable through turns, but it's not excessive. The steering has a weighty feel and is fairly direct, but it's slow to react in tight parking lot maneuvers." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 12/3/14

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