The Tenacity of the 2019 Nissan Frontier

What’s the scoop on the new 2019 Nissan Frontier?  Not a lot of new news.….. the Nissan Frontier is mostly unchanged and that’s ok. It is functional, tenacious and still able to rival the competition, the Honda Ridgeline, the Chevrolet Colorado, or the GMC Canyon. Sales figures say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The versatile 2019 Nissan Frontier has two engine options: choose between the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque or a 4.0-liter six-cylinder with 261 horsepower with 281 pound feet of torque.

And speaking of choices, the Nissan Frontier comes is five trim levels: the base model, S, the SV with an upgraded interior (much needed in my opinion), the Desert Runner with off-road attributes, the Pro-4X and the top of the line SL.

The interior lacks luster, but do you need luster in a truck?  No, not so much, just know that the interior is pretty simple. Technology on the Frontier has not been updated either, but that being said, the S and SV trims both add a larger touchscreen display (7-inch). Another option is the ‘Work Truck’ package, which adds a spray-in bed liner, bed rail caps, rubber floor mats and splash guards. If you want the ‘Midnight Edition’ package, choose the SV crew cab and add blacked out 18-inch wheels, side steps and body-colored bumpers.

If off-roading is your jam, the four-wheel-drive only Pro-4X is the Frontier for you, featuring knobby off-road tires, a locking rear differential, specially tuned shocks and skid plates. In addition, a trailer hitch and bed extender are optional on the Pro-4X. I test drove the Pro-4X with the ‘Premium Package,’ which included:  leather seats with Pro-4X Logo, 8-way power heated driver seat, 4-way power heated front passenger seat, dual power heated outside mirrors, power sliding glass moonroof, roof rack with cross bars and rear fold down center armrest. Might as well have a little luxury in your off-road jam eh?

The Nissan Frontier comes equipped a standard 6-foot bed and extended cab but you can still have the four door crew cab with a shorter (5-foot) bed as an option.

How did the Frontier drive? A bit noisy, but about what you’d expect from a no frills truck. Engine torque and response are predictable without a lot of effort to the pedal. It is pretty quick for a midsize pickup. Braking around town was easy, but on the highway, plan to slow down and avoid a panic-stop. There’s also quite a bit of free play in the steering wheel, which is actually fun in wide open spaces, not so much on country back roads; but the truck is easy to manipulate nonetheless. The Frontier is definitely a truck that feels more at home in the dirt.

The interior, as mentioned, needs an update and rumor has it that one is coming sooner than later. You won’t find any touchscreen menus in the Frontier, but you will find that it is easy to navigate your way around with a simple knob allowing you to select 4WD modes; controls are user friendly. Interior doors open wide, making entering and exiting easy peasy; also a plus for loading and unloading cargo. Handles are well-placed and easy to grab along with side steps for hopping in and out of the cabin. Storage bins are dispersed throughout the cabin. Plenty of visibility and comfort in the 2019 Nissan Frontier.

Fuel economy in the Nissan Frontier is average for a midsize pickup. In the model that I test drove, I received 15 mpg in the city and 21 highway, for a combined 17 mpg.

Safety needs to be revisited in the Nissan Frontier. There is nothing fancy offered, no blindspot monitor, no active lane control, no automatic emergency braking, none of which are needed on trails or in open fields. If this is your daily driver, make note, you are left with airbags, traction control, stability control and a rearview camera. Pretty basic.

How basic is the price? Currently the Frontier has a relatively modest sticker price (with no frills added). If a redesign comes to fruition, that may change, but to maintain being a valuable midsize pickup, the Frontier will face some stiff competition in 2020. 

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