Larger than its predecessor both inside and out, Nissan’s redesigned compact pickup truck will come in King Cab (extended-cab) and Crew Cab forms. Introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, the third-generation Frontier goes on sale late in 2004. Nissan claims the 2005 model is “bigger, bolder, better.”
Targeting entry-level buyers, Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said, “The Frontier has all the innovation and strength of the [full-size] Titan, yet in a more affordable, more manageable package.” In fact, the Frontier’s available Utili-track system and spray-in bedliner were first used on the Titan.
Built on Nissan’s new “F-Alpha” platform, the Frontier uses a new 4.0-liter V-6 engine that generates more than 250 horsepower — that’s 70 hp more than the 2004 model’s naturally aspirated V-6 engine. Nissan hasn’t commented on the availability of a supercharged engine, which was offered for 2004 Frontiers.
The Frontier’s towing capacity can top 5,500 pounds. Rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models will be offered.
Like the prior-generation pickup, the 2005 model will be manufactured in Smyrna, Tenn. Nissan also has redesigned its Pathfinder sport utility vehicle, which uses the same platform as the 2005 Frontier.
Longer, wider and taller than the previous Frontier, the 2005 model is 205.5 inches long overall and uses a 125.9-inch wheelbase. King Cab models are 69.7 inches high, while Crew Cab trucks stand 70.1 inches tall. Both are 72.8 inches wide. Frontier Crew Cabs have four, conventional, front-hinged doors, whereas King Cab trucks have rear-hinged back doors.
Styling features include a grille with chromed, angled inserts and chromed bumpers. Nissan advises that the Frontier has short front and rear overhangs and large geometric fender flares, which follow the lead of the prior-generation truck. A tube-style roof rack may be installed, and wheels as large as 17 inches are mounted on the Frontier.
A spray-in bedliner will be optional. Frontiers may also be equipped with a Utili-track system that features movable heavy-duty tie-down cleats. Utili-track accessories include sliding trays, bike racks, sliding dividers and modular storage systems.
Frontiers use a double-wishbone front suspension, overslung rear leaf springs and rack-and-pinion steering. High-performance gas shock absorbers will be available.
Because of its increased exterior dimensions, the Frontier also has grown on the inside. King Cab models get flip-up rear seats. Leather-appointed power seats and heated seats and mirrors are available.
Under the Hood
Nissan’s new 4.0-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine delivers more than 250 hp and 270-plus pounds-feet of torque. The six-speed-manual gearbox is based on the transmission used in Nissan’s 350Z sports car, while the available five-speed automatic is related to the Titan’s transmission. A base King Cab model is available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Nissan’s part-time four-wheel-drive system includes a Low range.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain-type airbags with rollover protection for both rows of seats are optional.