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MSRP: $19,090 - 36,950

2019 Nissan Frontier Review

The 2019 Nissan Frontier lands at the bottom of our compact pickup truck rankings because of its dated, cramped interior and underpowered base engine.

Pros & Cons

  • Low starting price
  • Smooth, refined transmission
  • Aging interior
  • Lower towing and hauling capacity than rivals
  • Cramped rear seat

Is the Nissan Frontier a Good Truck?

The 2019 Nissan Frontier is an OK compact pickup truck, though it hasn't been fully redesigned since 2005, and it's showing its age, especially compared to rivals with higher-quality interiors and more modern features. As consumers continue to buy pickup trucks in droves to use as everyday vehicles, the Frontier's limited rear-seat space becomes an even bigger setback.

A standard four-cylinder engine is good for daily driving but not much else; and though it feels powerful and responsive, the optional V6 engine delivers subpar towing and hauling capacities compared to the rest of the class.

Should I Buy the Nissan Frontier?

One of the few reasons to consider the Frontier is its relatively low price. The 2019 Frontier starts at just under $19,000, the lowest MSRP for a new pickup on the market today. For that price, you get a decent number of standard amenities, including a touch screen, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera, though the base model lacks power locks and windows.

If you’re looking for a small truck with a nice interior, a supple ride, and loads of features, your money is better spent on a rival like the Honda Ridgeline, though it’s not the most capable truck in the class. For a well-rounded truck that's ready for off-road adventures, consider the Toyota Tacoma.

Compare the Frontier, Ridgeline, and Tacoma »

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Frontier?

The Frontier's current generation dates to 2005 – an eternity in automotive product life cycles. However, it's seen some notable changes over the last couple years that make buying a more recent model more appealing. For 2019, a 7-inch touch screen replaces the standard 5-inch display from previous years, while amenities like Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and air conditioning became standard for the 2018 Frontier. There were few notable changes to the Frontier between the 2013 and 2017 model years.

You can likely save thousands of dollars by buying an older Frontier, but you'll miss out on the modern convenience features of recent models. Also, because the Frontier is the least expensive new truck you can currently buy, going with a new Nissan Frontier instead of a used one may not be the financial burden it would be with rival trucks.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 and 2018 Frontier reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Frontier »

We Did the Research for You: 81 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 81 Nissan Frontier reviews – along with hard data like interior dimensions, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 Frontier is the right new car for you. This 2019 Nissan Frontier review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2005 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Nissan Frontier Cost?

The 2019 Nissan Frontier starts at $18,990, which makes it the least expensive new pickup truck you can buy. No other new consumer truck on the market retails for less than $20,000. The Frontier's price rises if you opt for a larger cab, a V6 engine, an automatic transmission, or four-wheel drive. The Frontier's highest trim starts at a about $37,000, which is less than what high-end versions of many rivals cost.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Frontier Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Frontier or Honda Ridgeline?

The Honda Ridgeline is probably the most carlike truck in this class. It doesn't offer an off-road-focused model like the Frontier's Pro-4X trim, and its towing capacity isn't as high as the Frontier's, but the Ridgeline has a higher payload capacity. The Honda is only available as a crew cab, and it boasts an upscale and spacious interior. You can outfit it with modern technology – including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, blind spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking – that you can't get in the Nissan. The Ridgeline comes standard with a V6 engine, and it marries poised handling with a luxurious ride quality. Though the Ridgeline has a much higher base price (almost $30,000), we think it's a much better truck than the Frontier.

Which Is Better: Nissan Frontier or Toyota Tacoma?

The Toyota Tacoma ranks among the top compact pickups. It's one of the most capable off-roaders in the class, and it has respectable towing and hauling capacities. Both the Frontier and Tacoma offer a four-cylinder and V6 engine with comparable fuel economy and power delivery. The Toyota has a slight edge in handling, making it a better daily driver. A long list of driver assistance features comes standard in the Tacoma, and its infotainment system is intuitive to use. You'll likely pay more for a Tacoma, but you'll get a better overall truck with a higher predicted reliability rating.

Compare the Frontier, Ridgeline, and Tacoma »

Frontier Interior

How Many People Does the Frontier Seat?

The standard 2019 Nissan Frontier King Cab seats four people, while the extended Crew Cab holds five. Up front, the seats are wide and flat, and the upholstery and cushions are fairly comfortable. There isn't a lot of side support, which you'll notice on long drives, and the seats offer few adjustments.

The King Cab's tiny second row is best suited for children or smaller adults, and its rear-hinged half-doors hamper entry and exit. Opt for a Crew Cab if you regularly ferry passenger around, though even then, taller passengers won't have much room.

Frontier and Car Seats

The Frontier has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat attachments, and the five-seat Crew Cab adds a tether anchor on its middle seat. Ease of use differs between the two cab configurations. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the King Cab the second-highest rating of Acceptable, only noting that the tether anchors were hard to find. The IIHS noted no problems with the lower anchors.

The IIHS gave the Crew Cab a lower rating of Marginal, saying that in addition to the tether anchors being hard to find, you might mistake other hardware for the connection points. In the Crew Cab, there's little room to move your hands around the lower anchors and attach the seat straps.

Frontier Interior Quality

The Frontier's current generation dates to 2005, and it's been showing its age for a while now. The cabin design and layout are remarkably simple, with hard and durable plastics that orient the Frontier more toward a work truck than an upscale companion. The overall build quality and fit-and-finish feel solid.

Frontier Cargo Space

All Frontier King Cab models come with a 6-foot-1-inch bed. With the Crew Cab, you have your choice of the 6-foot-1-inch bed or a shorter 5-foot bed. The optional Utili-track feature adds sliding tie-downs for easier cargo management.

The second-row seat cushions fold up, opening more space for items you don't want to put in the bed.

Frontier Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

As you might expect from a truck that hasn't been redesigned in nearly 15 years, the Nissan Frontier lags most pickup truck rivals in terms of features and technology. New for this model year is a standard 7-inch touch screen that replaces the old 5-inch display from previous model years. Upper trims have a smaller 5.8-inch screen that comes with navigation and satellite radio. Still, the base model lacks amenities like power windows, power locks, and even key-fob remote entry. Other optional features include a moonroof, a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Whether you're using the digital screen or one of the many large physical buttons and knobs that populate the center stack, the Frontier's controls are easy to use and straightforward.

Read more about interior »

Frontier Performance

Frontier Engine: Go With the V6

The Nissan Frontier comes standard with a 152-horsepower four-cylinder engine and your choice of a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. That's not a lot of power for a pickup truck, so you're probably better off going with the optional 261-horsepower V6. That power plant comes with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.

The V6 delivers strong low-end torque to get you moving. The responsive automatic transmission makes the most of the engine's power and downshifts at appropriate times, but it can hold gears too long.

Frontier Gas Mileage: Just OK

With its standard powertrain, the 2019 Frontier gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, which is about average for the class. You lose a few mpgs with the automatic transmission, the V6 engine, or optional four-wheel drive. For example, the base engine paired with an automatic returns 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. The best fuel economy the V6 engine returns is 16/23 mpg city/highway. Efficiency drops to 15/21 mpg with the V6 engine, five-speed automatic, and 4WD.

By comparison, the Honda Ridgeline gets up to 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The Toyota Tacoma is in line with the Frontier, with estimates of up to 20/23 mpg.

Frontier Off-Road Performance

If you want to venture off the beaten path, your best bet is the Frontier Pro-4X trim. It's the only model in the lineup to come standard with four-wheel drive, and it boasts additional off-road goodies like skid plates, a transfer case, a locking rear differential, Bilstein shocks, and off-road wheels.

Frontier Towing and Hauling Capacity

The Frontier isn't as capable as most other compact trucks. It has a maximum payload of 1,460 pounds. Compare that to the 1,620 pounds the Toyota Tacoma can handle and the 1,580 pounds the Honda Ridgeline can manage. When properly equipped, the Frontier can tow up to 6,720 pounds. The Ridgeline can pull up to 5,000 pounds, and the Tacoma's tow capacity is 6,800 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Frontier Reliability

Is the Nissan Frontier Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Frontier a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Nissan Frontier Warranty

Nissan covers the Frontier with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Frontier Safety

Frontier Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Nissan Frontier a four-out-of-five-star overall crash test rating. The truck received three stars in the frontal crash test. Despite giving five stars in the side crash test, the NHTSA issued an additional safety concern because the driver's door unlatched and opened during a side impact test. The rear-wheel-drive Frontier earned three stars in the rollover test, while the four-wheel-drive Frontier earned four stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Frontier the highest rating of Good in three crash tests, the second-highest rating of Acceptable in rear crash tests, and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the small overlap front driver test.

Frontier Safety Features

All 2019 Frontiers come standard with a rearview camera. Rear parking sensors are available. Even for a pickup truck, that's a very slim list of advanced safety technology.

Read more about safety »

Which Nissan Frontier Model Is Right for Me?

Before choosing a trim for the 2019 Nissan Frontier, you'll have to determine what cab, bed, and powertrain you want. Unlike some other trucks, all Frontiers have a four-door configuration, with either the four-seat King Cab or five-seat Crew Cab. King Cab models have either a four-cylinder or a V6 engine, and all feature a 6-foot-1-inch bed. Crew Cab models come standard with the V6 engine, and you can choose from a 5-foot or a 6-foot-1-inch bed. The Frontier offers rear- and four-wheel drive and your choice of a five- or six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic.

We've highlighted the features of some popular trims and the prices that correspond to certain cab and powertrain combinations. The base model is appealing because of its low starting price and features like a touch screen, but you may want to consider stepping up to at least the SV trim for conveniences like power windows and locks.

Nissan Frontier S

The 2019 Nissan Frontier S starts at $18,990 for a King Cab model with a four-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive. Upgrading to a five-speed automatic raises the price to $23,060. Standard features include cloth upholstery, four-way manually adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and a four-speaker stereo.

The Crew Cab S comes with a V6 engine and starts at $24,950 for rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. This model adds a six-speaker stereo as well. Upgrading to a five-speed automatic increases your price to $26,000, and adding four-wheel drive on top of that raises the price to $29,390.

Nissan Frontier SV

The Frontier SV King Cab starts at $23,860 and adds power windows and locks, along with remote keyless entry. That price is for the standard four-cylinder with the manual transmission. Prices start $24,910 for an automatic. The King Cab SV with a V6 starts at $25,620. It allows you to purchase the $1,890 Value Truck package, which includes dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a six-speaker stereo, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Crew Cab SV models range in price from $26,750 for rear-wheel drive and an automatic transmission to $32,780 for four-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual.

Nissan Frontier Desert Runner

The Frontier Desert Runner comes standard with the V6 engine, rear-wheel drive, and an automatic transmission. It also adds Bilstein shocks and eight-way manually adjustable front seats. The King Cab version starts at $26,300, while the Crew Cab retails for $27,730.

Nissan Frontier Pro-4X

The Nissan Frontier Pro-4X features standard four-wheel drive and a 5.8-inch touch screen with a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and navigation. The King Cab only comes with an automatic transmission and starts at $33,430. The Crew Cab with a six-speed manual starts at $33,140, and a Crew Cab automatic will run you $34,190. With the automatic Crew Cab, you can add the $2,100 Premium package, which comes with leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and a moonroof.

Nissan Frontier SL

The range-topping Nissan Frontier SL is only available with the Crew Cab. It starts at $34,010 for rear-wheel drive and $36,850 for four-wheel drive. Additional standard features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo, and a moonroof.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

See 2019 Nissan Frontier specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Nissan Frontier offers few advantages over rival compact pickups that have more modern interiors, higher towing capacities, or more cargo space. The Frontier's low base price is eye-catching, but you'd be smart to shop around for another truck.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "If ever a company subscribed to the product theory that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it,' it's Nissan and its 2019 Frontier. This truck hasn't changed in three presidential administrations, not even in the face of renewed competition from rivals such as the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Honda Ridgeline. The Frontier lopes along with mechanicals that are more than a decade old. Inside, it's about as utilitarian as you can get, and modern tech is nowhere to be found." -- Edmunds
  • "… despite its aging platform, there is still a lot to be said for Nissan's smallest pickup. Sure, it lacks the modern engine options and latest driver safety assists found on the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma, but when it comes down to the basics of what pickup buyers need in a small truck, the Frontier has it in spades. Smaller and more agile than its larger rivals, the Frontier demonstrates impressive abilities in the areas of towing, hauling and off-roading. With its available V6 engine and numerous configurations, the Frontier has aged well over the years." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • Starting under $20,000, the Nissan Frontier isn't the newest entry in the midsize-truck segment, but it's the most affordable and it continues to hold up well. … The new Frontier faces stiff competition from its rivals the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma, all of which offer better fuel economy, fresher styling and more amenities. However, Nissan's midsize pickup boasts plenty of grunt when equipped with its large 4.0-liter V6 engine, which makes 261 horsepower, offering a good mix of comfort and capability, and even some features that aren't ubiquitous in this segment, including power-adjustable front seats, rear disc brakes and push-button start." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: May 31, 2019

Slow Sales: The Nissan Frontier has endured over a decade without a redesign, and sales figures may suggest that shoppers are more interested in the compact pickup truck segment’s newer competitors. Dealerships have moved 12.3% fewer Frontier models so far this year compared to the same sales period in 2018. The dominant Toyota Tacoma is outselling the Frontier more than 3 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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