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Rankings & Research

The 2018 Nissan Frontier ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Compact Pickup Trucks category. Currently the Nissan Frontier has a score of 7.4 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 87 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.4

Overall

Scorecard

Overall: 7.4
Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 7.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Nissan Frontier Review

The 2018 Nissan Frontier gets overshadowed by its rivals in most categories, which is why it ranks near the bottom of the compact pickup truck class.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable front seats
  • Most rivals have higher safety scores
  • Low-rent cabin
  • Below-average fuel economy estimates

Is the 2018 Nissan Frontier a Good Used SUV?

The 2018 Nissan Frontier is not a great compact pickup truck. That's not to say it’s a bad truck, but it trails most of its rivals in just about every category, from cabin materials to power output to feature availability.

The 2018 Frontier has a couple strengths:

  • Supremely comfortable front seats
  • Lowest average list price in the class

Its shortcomings include:

  • Lower safety scores and fewer safety features than most rivals
  • Subpar fuel economy estimates among classmates
  • Less maneuverable than rivals
  • Fewer tech features than rivals
  • Low-rent cabin with lots of cheap plastics
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive Nissan Frontier review. It combines concrete data (like predicted reliability ratings, crash test results, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 87 automotive sources.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Is the 2018 Nissan Frontier?

Based on listings for the 2018 Nissan Frontier on our site, the average list price is $23,600, which is well below average for the class. Prices range from $19,900 to $28,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Nissan Frontier Cost to Own?

The 2018 Frontier’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $25,900, or $5,180 per year. That’s about average for the compact pickup truck class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Frontier?

All 2019 Frontiers now come standard with a 7-inch touch screen, which is larger than the 5.8-inch optional unit in older trucks. If the new tech is important to you, stick with a new Nissan Frontier. You might save money with an older model, but given the new Frontier’s low base price and the range of configurations this compact truck comes in, that’s not a guarantee.

Read about the new Frontier »

Nissan hasn't redesigned the Frontier since the 2005 model year, and its age shows. For 2018, Nissan made several features standard, including Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, and a 5-inch display. Otherwise, few major changes were made since the Desert Runner trim debuted for 2013. You could potentially spend less by purchasing an older model, though the new features for 2018 may appeal to some shoppers.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Frontier »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Frontier?

The 2018 Frontier has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is about average.

Read more about Frontier reliability »

2018 Nissan Frontier Recalls

At the time of this writing, one recall has been issued for the 2018 Nissan Frontier:

  • Ignition switch may turn off, causing the vehicle to stall

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Nissan Frontier safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Frontier Is Right for Me?

The Frontier is available in two cab styles and several configurations. There are the four-seat King Cab and five-seat Crew Cab models. Bed lengths and powertrains vary between these body types. The King Cab has a 6-foot-1-inch bed and can be had with a four-cylinder or V6 engine. Crew Cabs offer a 5-foot bed or the 6-foot-1-inch bed, but they only come with the V6. Four-wheel drive is available in models with the V6 engine.

The Frontier comes in five trim levels: S, SV, Desert Runner, Pro-4X, and SL. There were few options and packages available when the Frontier was new, so in most cases, you'll need to move up to a higher trim to get more features.

The base Frontier is the least expensive trim, but it lacks basic features such as power windows and door locks. Shoppers seeking more tech features, such as an infotainment system, navigation, or a touch screen, will need to jump up to the Pro-4X trim, which is the off-road-oriented model.

  • Nissan Frontier S: The entry-level Nissan Frontier S comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, a 5-inch screen, a four-speaker stereo, Siri Eyes Free, a USB port, Bluetooth, cruise control, and a rearview camera. Crew Cab models have a V6 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is available with both engines.
  • Nissan Frontier SV: The Frontier SV adds satellite radio, power door locks and windows, alloy wheels, and remote keyless entry. SV models with the V6 engine may have rear parking sensors, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, or dual-zone automatic climate control. Some Crew Cab models may come with a moonroof.
  • Nissan Frontier Desert Runner: The Desert Runner comes standard with the V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, as well as Bilstein shocks. Crew Cabs add a six-speaker stereo.
  • Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: The Pro-4X is the only trim to come with standard four-wheel drive. It’s the off-road model in the lineup, featuring a locking rear differential, a two-speed transfer case, skid plates, and hill descent control. It also features some tech upgrades, such as a 5.8-inch touch screen, the NissanConnect infotainment system, voice recognition, a navigation system, and all the options from the SV trim.
  • Nissan Frontier SL: The Frontier SL can only be had as a Crew Cab. It comes standard with the same tech, safety, and convenience equipment in the Pro-4X, as well as leather seats, power-adjustable front seats, the Utili-Track system, larger alloy wheels, and a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo.

See 2018 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 or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, most car manufacturers have more robust CPO programs than Nissan's.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Nissan certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Frontier?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave King Cab Frontiers the highest rating of Good in three crash tests, the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the rear crash test, and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front test. This compact truck’s headlights got the lowest rating of Poor for outward visibility. Crew Cab models got the same ratings, plus a Marginal score in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Crew Cab models three stars out of five in frontal crash tests. Rear-wheel-drive models in both body types got three stars, and four-wheel-drive models earned four stars in rollover tests.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • rear parking sensors

See Frontier safety scores »

2018 Nissan Frontier Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Frontier or 2018 Toyota Tacoma?

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma stands as one of the best compact pickup trucks you can buy. It has a class-leading predicted reliability rating and higher safety scores than the Frontier. The Tacoma also has more standard features, a higher payload capacity, a more upscale cabin, a smoother ride, and more available safety features. Buying the Toyota costs around $7,900 more on average, but it’s a better value. Go with the Tacoma.

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Frontier or 2018 Chevrolet Colorado?

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado is a decent compact truck. Outside of its subpar predicted reliability rating, there’s a lot to like about it. It has some of the lowest ownership costs in the class and stronger engines than the Frontier. It’s more fuel-efficient too, especially with its turbodiesel engine option. On top of that, the Chevrolet has a high-end cabin, greater towing and hauling capacities, roomy rear seats, and more tech features, such as standard Apple CarPlay and an available Wi-Fi hot spot. The Colorado costs around $5,100 more than the Frontier on average, but it’s the superior vehicle.

Compare the Frontier, Tacoma, and Colorado »

2018 Frontier Performance

How Does the 2018 Frontier Drive?

The base engine is serviceable for driving around town, but it lacks the acceleration and power of the available V6. Most critics praised the automatic transmission for its responsive downshifts.

Serviceable also describes this truck’s ride and handling. It’s not particularly agile, and the Frontier tends to lean around turns, though it’s not as heavy and hapless as some full-size pickup trucks either. This vehicle has a mostly gentle ride, though some critics thought it felt harsh at times.

  • Base engine: 152-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available four-wheel drive.
  • Transmission: five-speed manual in four-cylinder models; six-speed manual in V6 models; five-speed automatic available in all
Does the 2018 Frontier Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2018 Frontier gets subpar fuel economy estimates for the class. Those EPA ratings differ depending on powertrain, drivetrain, and body type, but we provide the high and low ranges below.

  • 2.5-liter, five-speed manual, RWD: 19/23 mpg city/highway
  • 4.0-liter, five-speed automatic, 4WD: 15/21 mpg
2018 Nissan Frontier Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, this pickup truck can tow up to 6,710 pounds. It has a max payload capacity of 1,460 pounds

Read more about Frontier performance »

2018 Frontier Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Frontier Seat?

This pickup truck seats four people in King Cabs and five people in Crew Cabs. The front seats are set high, aiding visibility, and they’re also quite comfortable. The tiny rear jump seats in the King Cab are uncomfortable, and the Crew Cab’s rear quarters have lots of headroom but little legroom or support. Cabin material quality lags behind rival trucks, and some harsh wind and road noise permeates the cabin.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats

Available seating features:

  • leather seats
  • heated front seats
  • power-adjustable front seats
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
How Many Car Seats Fit In the 2018 Frontier?

Frontier King Cab models have two complete sets of LATCH car connectors for securing child car seats and a third tether anchor on the front passenger seat, though the tether anchors are hard to find. This truck received the second-highest rating of Acceptable for its ease of use from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Crew Cabs have the same number of LATCH connectors, though the third tether anchor moves to the rear-middle seat. The lower anchors are hard to maneuver around, and some of the tether anchors are hard to find or could be confused for other hardware. Because of that, the IIHS gave the whole setup the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its ease of use.

2018 Nissan Frontier Features

Like most entry-level pickups, the Frontier is sparsely equipped. The available NissanConnect infotainment system is easy to use. The touch screen has a smartphone-style interface, and there are lots of physical controls for some functions. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is available.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch display screen, a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and a USB port
  • Available infotainment features: a 5.8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, satellite radio, and voice controls
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, power door locks and windows, remote keyless entry, and a moonroof

See Nissan Frontier specs »

Read more about Frontier interior »

2018 Nissan Frontier Dimensions

Nissan Frontier Cargo Space

King Cab models have a 6-foot-1-inch bed. Crew Cabs offer a choice of that bed or a smaller, 5-foot bed. Nissan’s Utili-Track is available. It includes a system of channels in the bed floor and tie-down cleats that make it easier to secure cargo.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any vehicle you’re considering.

2018 Nissan Frontier Length and Weight
  • Length: 17 feet, 2 inches to 18 feet, 3 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,785 to 4,760 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,700 to 5,816 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Nissan Frontier Built?

Nissan built the Frontier in Tennessee and Mississippi, alongside the Murano and Titan.

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