Not too long ago, we acquired a new test truck from Nissan Motor Corp. We ordered a new Frontier to see what changes were made over its predecessor and to drive it for a year while testing as many aftermarket parts as possible. We've put a few thousand miles on the Nissan so far and tested a new air intake from Stillen. So meet Sport Truck's newest test vehicle, and be sure to check out the rendering of how the Frontier could look lifted or lowered.
The 2WD Frontier King Cab LE ($22,900) arrived from Nissan with its class-leading 4.0L DOHC V-6 that puts out 265 peak horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 284 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm and is backed by a five-speed automatic transmission. Standard features of our test subject consist of air conditioning; AM/FM/CD audio; a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel; power mirrors, windows, and door locks; an eight-way-adjustable driver seat; a trip computer; a driver-side seatback map pocket; and a first-aid kit. Other amenities on the Frontier include remote keyless entry, a dual glovebox, three 12V power points, a fullsize spare, front towhooks, rear floor storage, and for the ladies, illuminated vanity mirrors.
The exterior is decked out with chrome door handles, mirrors, bumpers, a grille, an exhaust tip, a sliding rear window, and foglamps. The truck weighs in at 4,339 pounds and has a GVWR of 5,600 pounds. The foundation of the Frontier is based on Nissan's F-Alpha platform (shared with the Titan), which gives it a GCWR of 11,133 pounds, a max payload of 1,261 pounds, and max towing of 6,300 pounds.
The Frontier's cargo bed is 73.3 inches long, 18 inches deep, and 61.4 inches wide between the tops of the bedrails. A spray-on bedliner and Nissan's Utili-track cargo security system came factory-installed on our King Cab LE model. The Utili-track system is made up of C-section rails: two in the bed floor, one along each top inner edge of the bedside rails, and one in the top of the bed header panel. Sliding cleats can be locked into position within the rails to secure a variety of cargo. It's a great system and Nissan offers accessories that lock into it such as the lightweight sliding bed extender, which allows more cargo-carrying options.
Factory optional equipment on our Frontier includes the two-wheel limited-slip (ABLS) ($350) and floor mats ($90). Nissan also threw in the bed extender, which is a $300 option. That brings the total sticker price for our truck to $24,045, which puts our Frontier right in the middle of the midsize market.
Behind The Wheel
Spend a few minutes exploring the spacious interior and you'll be amazed by some of the innovations packed into the four-door cab. A large clamshell-like dual glovebox was built into the dash and has plenty of room for maps, chargers, and a few hundred parking tickets. The driver sits behind a large and complete gauge array, and the controls for heating and ventilation have large knobs that are easy to find and use. The radio is also within arm's reach and is up high on the dash for easy visibility. There are three 12V power points for all of your charging needs, and the center console has the room to fit a lot of stuff. The shallow tray ahead of the shifter is handy for holding a cell phone or CDs. The door panels have large storage pockets with integrated water-bottle holders.
Drivers and front passengers will find good head and legroom. The seats are comfortable but could use more side bolstering to hold front passengers in place through turns. Interior grab handles on the inside of the A-pillar and the top of the door opening make climbing in and out a breeze. Another feature unique to the Frontier is a fold-flat front seat, which buttons down in seconds. Things are a little more crowded in the back seat. The King Cab's rear seats are more suited for packages than people. Room is tight with seats even halfway back, and headroom is lacking for anyone over 6 feet. Stowing gear in the cabin is easy thanks to dual jump seats that lift up to reveal a cleverly placed storage tray covered with a snap-down safety net.
On The Road
The first thing we noticed about the Frontier is how much fun it is to drive. This is an amazingly nimble package for a pickup. The big, beefy frame and torquey motor are also good for hauling heavy loads, and the Frontier is rated to drag 6,300 pounds when equipped with the towing package yet easily slices through traffic. It's strong from a stop and around town, especially in the lighter King Cab. The responsive engine revs happily and puts the power down in every gear. Once the highway opens up, the Nissan easily cruises at 80 mph and is one of the quietest vehicles in our fleet. The ride is taut but not harsh over less-than-smooth surfaces. Frontier's V-6 has class-leading horsepower, but fuel economy is a little less impressive. Our 4x2 King Cab LE with automatic transmission averaged a thirsty 17.2 mpg in mixed driving. Body lean is evident in corners but within our comfort zone, and it never feels top-heavy.
What It Could Look Like
We contacted R.J. at Eye Kandy Designs and asked him to do a lifted and a lowered version of the '07 Nissan Frontier. Both versions are kind of plain with no graphics, but we just wanted to show a basic lift and lowering-we'll leave the rest up to you. With a little bit of research, we have found numerous lift kits available for the Frontier from 2.5 inches up to 6 inches. We decided to go with a 6-inch lift and 35-inch tires on 17-inch wheels. For the lowered version of the Frontier, we chose a 4/6-inch static drop over 20-inch chrome wheels wrapped in 40-series rubber. Whether the truck gets lifted or lowered it doesn't matter-it looks good either way.