Reviews

2017 Nissan Frontier Driving Impressions


The 2.5-liter four-cylinder Frontier is quick enough around town, but it strains to keep up with freeway traffic.

The truck changes its character quite dramatically with the 4.0-liter V6 that thrums at idle. Its 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque make it downright quick when the bed is empty, and up to the job when the bed is loaded, including towing up to 6500 pounds. The majority of V6 Frontiers will have the five-speed automatic. The five-speed manual works well with the engine’s power and torque curve, and while the six-speed manual offers a taller top gear for cruising at lower revs, the throws are long.

The Frontier’s ride is best in the two offroad models, the Desert Runner and PRO-4X. That can only be because of the Bilstein dampers and bigger tires, never mind that they’re all-terrain tires. If you drive a lot on gravel roads, it may pay to get the Desert Runner or PRO-4X.

As for handling and maneuverability, a lot depends on the cab and bed, the overall length of the vehicle. The direct steering makes the Frontier entertaining, and the suspension does a good job of keeping the truck under control. But it is harsh and even choppy over rough pavement, especially with an empty bed.

The Frontier’s four-wheel-drive system, unlike some all-wheel-drive vehicles, isn’t intended for dry pavement, but rather off-road. The Pro-X is king there, with its locking rear differential.

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