A Nissan Frontier pickup with four--count 'em--traditional swing-open doors for ease of rear-seat entry and exit without fooling with tiny swing back rear-access doors. The only traditional four-door compact pickup in the industry. Only about 3,000 will be built at Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn., plant, the same one that builds Frontier and the Xterra sport-utility off the same platform. Only 3,000 because Nissan can't make Xterras (Cartalk, May 2) fast enough. The original target of 50,000 Xterra sales annually is up to 70,000 and Nissan is talking with the folks at Smyrna about overtime to boost production some more. What impressed us most about the crew cab other than its peppy 3.3-liter, 170-h.p. V-6 and rear doors was the optional ($200) aftermarket "bed extender." The extender simply is a series of aluminum tubes tied together to form a huge letter "C" that resembles a bench laid on its side in the cargo bed. Rest the "C" legs against the tailgate and it holds groceries or golf clubs so they don't slip around. Lower the tailgate flat and flip the "C" over backwards and it's a cargo bed extension that allows you to carry longer items such as lumber, without it slipping off the tailgate. Or, after hauling the lumber or after shooting a round of golf, slip the "C" out, place it on the ground and use it as a picnic bench. The crew cab starts at $17,290 for a 4x2 with 5-speed manual to $20,940 for a 4x4 with automatic.
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