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2016 Nissan Frontier Review

The 2016 Nissan Frontier has outstanding safety ratings, good off-road abilities, and a user-friendly infotainment system. However, it is held back by poor fuel economy and a cheap interior.

Pros & Cons

  • Potent available V6 engine
  • Intuitive available infotainment system
  • Low-rent materials
  • Poor ride quality over rough surfaces
  • Confining rear seats
  • Poor fuel economy




Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 6.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.7
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2016 Nissan Frontier Overview

Is the 2016 Nissan Frontier a Good Used Truck?

While the Nissan Frontier is a good truck and meets the basic needs of most compact pickup shoppers, you can do better. Others in the class offer better performance, more spacious interiors, and more standard features. However, if you want the compact pickup truck with the highest safety scores, this is the pick.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 79 professional evaluations for this 2016 Nissan Frontier review to help you make an informed buying decision.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To ensure our impartiality, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from carmakers or dealers, and an outside team handles our site’s advertising

How Much Is the 2016 Nissan Frontier?

You can expect to pay between $16,000 and $28,600 for a used 2016 Nissan Frontier, based on almost 1,500 listings for this vehicle on our site. The average list price is $22,400. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Nissan Frontier Cost to Own?

Your expenses don’t end once you purchase a vehicle. Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Frontier are about $26,300. That’s more than you can expect to pay for other trucks in the class. Five-year costs for the 2016 Canyon, for example, are about $25,100, while the 2016 Tacoma’s are around $25,600.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Frontier?

It’s difficult to make a direct comparison between a new 2018 Frontier and a used 2016 model because of the various trims and configurations. However, the base price of a 2018 Nissan Frontier S is $18,990, which is much more than the 2016’s minimum listing price of $16,000. That additional money doesn't add a whole lot: just a rearview camera and Bluetooth. Since these models are so similar, it makes sense to save money with the 2016 Frontier instead.

Read about the new Nissan Frontier »

If you’d prefer a new truck, but the 2018 Frontier isn’t in your budget, there are a couple of 2018 compact pickups you may want to consider. However, they lack four-wheel drive in their base models. The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado has a base price of $20,200, while the 2018 GMC Canyon has a starting price of $21,100. If you don’t need four-wheel drive, the Canyon or the Colorado will be a better choice for you. They have smooth rides and more upscale cabins.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Nissan Frontier?

The 2016 Nissan Frontier has an almost perfect reliability rating of 4.5 out of five. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma has a similar score.

Read more about Frontier reliability »

2016 Nissan Frontier Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Nissan Frontier has one recall. It is for the starter motor wire harness, which may short out. Make sure the dealer takes care of this issue before you buy a used Frontier.

See more information on Nissan Frontier safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Nissan Frontier Is Best?

The 2016 Frontier is part of the truck’s second generation, which began with the 2005 model year and includes the 2018 Frontier. You’ll save some money by getting a 2015 Frontier, which has similar features to the 2016 model. You can pay even less by shopping for an earlier model, but you’ll miss out on the updated infotainment system that was introduced for 2015.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Frontier »

Which Used Nissan Frontier Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Nissan Frontier comes in five trims: S, SV, Desert Runner, PRO-4X, and SL. Two cabin configurations are available: King Cab or Crew Cab. A 6-foot bed comes with either cabin, and a 5-foot bed is available in Crew Cab models. For the best value, the SV delivers basic features like power door locks and windows, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Go for the Crew Cab if you plan to have passengers in the back, as the rear seats in King Cab models are cramped. Alternatively, the PRO-4X makes a great off-roader, with its capable four-wheel-drive system, Bilstein off-road shocks, and electronic locking rear differential.

See 2016 Nissan Frontier trims and specs »

What Does Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like rental car reimbursement, a three-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a Security+Plus Extended protection plan, towing, and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

According to our research, Nissan’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer. Mazda, Honda, and Chevrolet all have more robust programs.

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How Safe Is the Frontier?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Frontier a score of Good (the highest possible) in the side impact, roof strength, and moderate overlap front crash tests. However, the Frontier earned an Acceptable rating in the rear crash test. Frontier King Cab four-wheel-drive models received four out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s rollover crash test, while rear-wheel-drive models earned three stars. The Crew Cab received three stars as well.

The Frontier, which has rear-hinged cabin doors, offers no advanced safety features aside from a rearview camera with rear parking sensors. This setup comes standard in the PRO-4X and SL trims.

See Frontier safety scores »

2016 Nissan Frontier Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Nissan Frontier or 2016 Toyota Tacoma?

Both the Frontier and the 2016 Toyota Tacoma have above-average reliability ratings, excellent off-road capabilities, and user-friendly infotainment systems. But unless you’re looking for the most basic truck, the Tacoma is the better buy. Its 2016 redesign ushered in a fresher cabin design with some features you won’t find in the Frontier, like wireless device charging. The Tacoma touts a higher maximum towing capacity of 6,800 pounds, and its TRD Off-Road trim offers several features that make inexperienced off-roaders look like pros on the trails.

Which Is Better: 2016 Nissan Frontier or 2016 Chevrolet Colorado?

The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado was our 2016 Best Compact Truck for the Money because of its combination of value and quality. Unlike the Frontier, it has a spacious cabin, with a good amount of space for rear-seat passengers in Crew Cab models. Ride quality is good in the Colorado – and it remains that way over craggy surfaces, unlike in the Frontier. When equipped with the available turbodiesel engine, the Colorado delivers better fuel economy (22/30 mpg city/highway) than the Frontier. The Colorado has a higher maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds when properly equipped. Also, it has a deeper cargo bed than many of its rivals, making it a handier hauler.

Compare the Frontier, Tacoma, and Colorado »

2016 Frontier Performance

How Does the 2016 Nissan Frontier Drive?

Though the Frontier has composed handling, its ride gets rough at times. The steering is heavy and unresponsive. However, when properly equipped, the Frontier is better at off-roading than its rivals.

The 2016 Frontier comes standard with a 152-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A 261-horsepower V6 is available. A five-speed manual is standard with the four-cylinder engine; a six-speed manual is standard with the V6; and a five-speed automatic transmission is available with either engine. The Desert Runner and SL trims are only available with the automatic. The automatic transmission is responsive and willingly downshifts. Rear-wheel drive is standard in the 2016 Frontier, and four-wheel drive is available.

Does the 2016 Nissan Frontier Get Good Gas Mileage?

The four-cylinder Frontier with rear-wheel drive gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission and 17/22 mpg city/highway with the automatic. These estimates are below average for the class. The six-cylinder Frontier has fuel economy ratings of 17/22 mpg with the manual transmission and 16/22 mpg with the automatic. The four-wheel-drive model, only available with the six-cylinder engine, has an EPA rating of 15/21 mpg with the automatic transmission and 16/21 mpg with the manual.

2016 Nissan Frontier Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Nissan Frontier has a maximum payload of 1,471 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 6,500 pounds, which are the lowest ratings in the class.

Read more about Frontier performance »

2016 Frontier Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Frontier Seat?

The 2016 Frontier seats four in King Cab models and five in Crew Cab models. Cloth upholstery is standard. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, and power-adjustable front seats are available. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear seats of King Cab models are almost unsuitable for passengers. The rear seats in Crew Cab models are larger but still tight.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Nissan Frontier?

The 2016 Frontier Crew Cab has two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the outboard rear seats, as well as a middle-seat tether anchor. King Cab models have one set of connectors in the rear passenger-side seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Crew Cab’s LATCH system as Marginal, the second-lowest score. The IIHS noted that the tether anchors are in hard-to-find locations, other hardware may be confused with the anchors, and the angle of the anchors makes them hard to reach with the LATCH clip.

2016 Nissan Frontier Features

The 2016 Frontier comes standard with a four-speaker audio system. Available features include power windows and locks, air conditioning, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, and the NissanConnect infotainment system with voice recognition, a 5.8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, navigation, satellite radio, and smartphone app integration.

The available smartphone integration works well, and the infotainment screen uses a smartphone-style interface. The controls are smartly arranged, but they lack the precision of rivals' systems.

See 2016 Nissan Frontier specs »

Read more about Frontier interior »

2016 Nissan Frontier Dimensions

Nissan Frontier Cargo Space

The 2016 Frontier comes standard with a 6-foot bed in all models, but a 5-foot bed is available for Crew Cab models. A bed-mounted Utili-track system with adjustable tie-downs is available as well; it provides a lot of versatility. The passenger cabin offers ample small-item storage.

2016 Frontier Length and Weight

The 2016 Frontier King Cab and the Crew Cab with the standard bed are 17.1 feet long. The Crew Cab with the long bed is 18.3 feet long. The Frontier’s curb weight ranges from 3,699 pounds (King Cab S trim with four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive) to 4,758 pounds (four-wheel-drive Crew Cab SL long-wheelbase model). The Frontier’s gross vehicle weight rating ranges from 4,700 pounds to 5,816 pounds, depending on the pickup bed, the engine size, and whether it has rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

Where Was the 2016 Nissan Frontier Built?

Nissan built the 2016 Frontier in Mississippi, along with the 2016 Altima, 2016 Murano, 2016 NV cargo van, 2016 NV passenger van, and 2016 Titan.

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