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Best Bets get above-average mpg, class-average or better reliability, class-average or better crash-test ratings, and our recommendation.
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Expert Reviews 1 of 3
By Mike Levine
July 28, 2009
Vehicle Overview Nissan has the longest history in the U.S. among import automakers selling compact and midsize pickup trucks. 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of Nissan's arrival in the U.S. with its Datsun 1000 garden truck in 1959.
Towing and payload are comparable to the Toyota Tacoma, the segment's best-seller.
New for 2010 The Frontier receives only minor changes for 2010, centered around safety improvements and greater availability of driveline features.
Exterior A new dark gray body color is available; it's called Night Armor. The Frontier is only available in King Cab (extended cab) and crew cab body styles with either a 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain.
Tough PRO-4X appearance package
Off-road worthy approach/departure angles
Muscular but not intimidating wheel flares
Factory spray-on bedliner on V-6 models
Adjustable tie-down system on V-6 models
Interior The interior is carried over without change from 2009. Interior upgrades include white-faced gauges and red-stitched leather on the steering wheel and manual gearshift knob. The PRO-4X model has a unique interior with custom seating. The center stack gets a new look on V-6 models, and LE models receive new seat fabric. Leather seating and a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system are available on crew cab models. All models have supportive, comfortable front bucket seats. Adults have adequate legroom in the rear of the crew cab.
Removable underseat storage in King Cab
Two glove boxes, two 12-volt outlets
Under the Hood
Base engine is a 152-horsepower, 2.5-liter, dual-overhead-camshaft inline-four-cylinder that makes 171 pounds-feet of torque, mated to a five-speed manual transmission
261-hp, 4.0-liter, dual-overhead-camshaft V-6 that makes 281 pounds-feet of torque
Available five-speed automatic transmission (standard on crew cab) is now available on entry-level Frontier XE models
Available six-speed manual transmission on King Cab
Electronically controlled, shift-on-the-fly, part-time transfer case
Safety Two notable safety improvements for 2010 include side curtain airbags as standard equipment on all four- and six-cylinder models, and a standard electronic stability system on all V-6 models. The electronic stability system helps prevent loss of vehicle control during extreme handling maneuvers and inclement weather by automatically applying brakes and cutting throttle when it senses unsafe vehicle movement.
Active Brake Limited Slip, in which the truck's antilock braking system is used as a virtual limited-slip differential, is available for all SE and LE V-6 models.
Hill start assist and hill descent control are now standard on all SE and LE four-wheel-drive models equipped with automatic transmissions. Hill descent control allows slow hill descent without constant pressure on the brake pedal. Hill start assist allows the driver to stop on an incline, release the brake and not roll back for two seconds as the driver's foot moves to the accelerator.