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2019 Nissan Frontier Performance Review


Performance: 7.4

The 2019 Nissan Frontier has decent engine power and a responsive optional automatic transmission. Fuel economy is midrange for the class, and the ride quality is composed. Handling is a little dull, but the truck has good maneuverability.

  • The Frontier's on-road manners aren't that impressive, but it's fun and playful, especially in the dirt. The steering is a little sloppy and the use of the brakes requires some early planning, but the truck's compact size helps make its movements predictable." -- Edmunds
  • "With a choice of two engines combined with either the 4x2 or 4x4 platform, the Nissan Frontier can be most things to most people. Larger than the old compact pickups of the 1980s and 1990s, the Frontier platform more closely resembles Nissan's full-size Titan. The Frontier's base 4-cylinder is lighter on its feet, but you can't disguise the sturdy, fully boxed ladder frame or the hefty curb weight. Opt for the V6 with 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque, and you'll have a truck that's recreational in a straight line, while staying reasonably composed when the road throws you a curve." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "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 (2018)

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 that produces 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque is optional. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed manual and five-speed automatic transmission are optional. Critics praise the responsiveness and power of the V6 engine and note that the automatic transmission delivers well-timed shifts. When properly equipped, the Frontier can tow up to 6,720 pounds.

With its standard powertrain, the 2019 Frontier gets 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The Frontier gets up to 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with its V6 engine.

  • "Engine torque and response are better than in rivals. … The Frontier's 261 horsepower is lowest in class, but the stout 281 lb-ft of torque makes up for it. The 4.0-liter V6 engine feels very responsive and fun, and it generates power with minimal pedal effort. In our testing, the Frontier posted a 0-60 mph time of 8 seconds. That is slower than the segment leaders but adequately quick for a midsize pickup. … Its five-speed transmission seems ancient, but long gear ratios suit this engine well. The quick throttle response might be too quick for some drivers, but we prefer it to the sluggish pedal feel in Toyota and Chevy competitors. Quick power delivery also helps make the truck feel light and nimble in traffic." -- Edmunds
  • "With a robust 261 horsepower … [the V6 engine] provides some scoot. … The 4-cylinder model is no slouch, offering a respectable tow rating of 3,500 pounds, and 2WD V6 models can tow up to 6,500 pounds." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "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 Nissan Frontier is easy to maneuver and offers a relatively comfortable ride. Some critics think the steering is numb and lacks feedback, while others say the truck has responsive handling. Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional.

  • The Frontier is compact and stable when going around turns. It stays fairly controlled and, despite its height, doesn't feel too top-heavy. Steering that is both mushy and numb limits how much you'll want to push this truck on the road, but we suspect there's much fun to be had in the wide-open dirt. … The Frontier's ride is surprisingly supple for a pickup. Knobby tires create some consistent bump, and the chassis has the cabin in a constant state of bobbing and weaving. But sharper potholes and other road impacts are nicely ironed out." -- Edmunds
  • In our test of a Crew Cab PRO-4X model, we found the new Frontier easy to maneuver and more agile and comfortable for the daily commute. Trucks this size are again gaining popularity, and the easier maneuverability in the city compared to a full-size truck is certainly one of the reasons why. On rough pavement, however, the Nissan's PRO-4X off-road suspension could be harsh." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "These underpinnings help the Frontier to tow a full-size-pickup-like 6,500 pounds (in RWD V6 form), although the truck's relatively modest dimensions and curb weight give it more responsive handling than the average full-sizer." -- Left Lane News (2015)
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2019 Nissan Frontier

MSRP: $19,090 - $36,950

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