2001 Nissan Frontier

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$11,749

starting MSRP

2001 Nissan Frontier

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

12 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2001 Nissan Frontier trim comparison will help you decide.

2001 Nissan Frontier review: Our expert's take

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The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

According to the official corporate mythology, the inspiration for Nissan’s new Frontier pickup styling was high-end power tools. It is itself, after all (so the argument goes), a power tool, with the same emphasis on a melding of beauty and functionality. Be that as it may, it’s a brilliant conception that sets the Frontier aside from anything else out there, and produces the same slack-jawed response among young males as those female-pop-star soda commercials.

Nissan’s studies have suggested that about 80 percent of Frontier buyers will be male, the rest being a species that is known to appreciate the kind of bodybuilder lines with which the machine is imbued. (One is Diane Allen, Nissan chief designer at the La Jolla, Calif. studio which came up with the radically new look. She said a secondary consideration was to echo some of the design clues embodied in the Xterra SUV, Nissan’s youth-oriented, entry-level machine.)

Nissan lists permutations of Frontier, considering cab design, trim level and powertrain. It starts down at an astonishingly low base price of $11,699 for a 4×2 regular cab with 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. At that price, I could be persuaded to keep one around strictly for hauling garden supplies.

On the march to the lavishly-endowed series they put in the press fleet, there are 2x4s and 4x4s, with regular cabs, king cabs and crew cabs, 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines, Spartan XE trim and plusher SE fittings, manual transmissions and automatics, and ultimately, a supercharged 6-cylinder variant. That’s what I played with for a week, with Crew Cab, 4-wheel drive and a 5-speed manual transmission. Base price on that one is $24,049, double the entry-level offering. An automatic transmission, which I’d be inclined to go for, would add $1,050.

It soon becomes apparent that the Frontier is not just a pretty face. The inside has been massaged, too, with new gauges and steering wheel, new audio options and a luxurious (optional) leather seating package. The supercharged versions have distinctive red-on-charcoal stitching for a sporty flair.

A King Cab means an extended passenger compartment with only two doors. Best thing you can do with that arrangement is consider the rear seating area a trunk. The non-spry need not apply. A Crew Cab, the four-door machine, also provides the passenger-hauling capability, in a more usable form, and, like the King Cab, it allows the driver and navigator to tilt their seats back from the near-vertical angle of the regular cab. Trucks without that ability are hard to live with.

King Cab and Crew Cab series sit on a 116-inch wheelbase and are 200 inches long, with rear bumper. The regular cab versions have a 104-inch wheelbase and are 185 inches overall. In the King and Crew, space utilization is biased toward people, with a bed volume of 33 cubic feet, about what you’d get in two mid-size cars. Des pite its abbreviated overall length, the regular cab truck affords 44 cubic feet for manure and such. On the stretches, the bed is 4 inches shy of 5 feet long, but this can be extended by dropping the tailgate. Width is nearly 5 feet, sure to please those who deal in plywood sheets (long-load flag optional and extra).

I found the second-class compartment on the Crew Cab adequate for two amateur Sumos such as I, three skinny chicks or kids or one serious dog. It would help in most cases to have a giving person up front. It’s worth bearing in mind that in addition to livery duties, the back of a four-door pickup provides greatly enhanced security for gear with easy accessibility.

In its sparest form, a Frontier weighs 3,817; at the high end, 4,208. Nissan says a properly equipped Frontier can tow up to 5,000 pounds (automatic transmission, 3,500 with 5-speed manual). Even unladen, that’s a hefty load for the four-banger, which produces 143 hp (@5,200 rpm) and 154 f unds of torque (@4,000). Better to move up to the 3.3-liter single-overhead-cam V-6, which provides 170 hp (@4,800) and 200 foot-pounds of torque @2,800). If you’re really into towing or hauling, and especially if you want the 4×4 drivetrain with automatic, you’d be well advised to go for the supercharged version of the V-6. It makes 210 hp (@4,800) and 246 foot-pounds (w. automatic) or 231 (5-speed) at 2,800 rpm.

Unlike a turbo, which gets it on when the engine starts spinning fast, a supercharger, belt driven off the crankshaft, provides truck-friendly low-end grunt as well as a kick in the pants at elevated speeds.

In the test machine, it felt more like a small pushrod V-8, with good launch feel and the flexibility to be effective at a wide range of speeds. It does want premium fuel, unlike its more delicate brethren. The EPA rates the supercharged 4×4 Crew Cab at 15 mpg city, 18 highway. I logged 16.1, with a mix of freeway flying, around-town pottering and some 4×4 testing.

With a wheelbase equal to what you’d find on a large car, and not unduly aggressive shocks and springs, the Frontier has a surprisingly good ride, with decent nastiness filtering and little jiggle unladen, although it did smooth a bit with a few hundred pounds’ worth of cargo. It was surprisingly quiet, too, and was a fooler on the highway, running considerably faster than seat-of-the-pants intuition suggested.

The four instruments are black on off-white by day, and reverse at night. I thought they were hard to see on sunny days when I was wearing sunglasses, fine at night. Why only four? With a supercharger, a boost gauge would be amusing, and oil temperature and pressure gauges useful, as well as adding to the industrial-chic ambience.

The optional leather seating areas were very attractive, worthy of a luxury sedan, and decently supportive.

The SC variants are equipped like low-end luxury cars, with all the power goodies and niceties such as fog lamps, roof rack, locking/removable tailgate, air conditioning, keyless entry and a 6-speaker, 100-watt AM-FM-CD audio system.The stereo was of good quality, but left an opportunity for aftermarketers.

The SCs come with 17-inch alloy wheels housed in hefty 265/55 rubber. The generous tires contributed to a feeling of stability on curvy roads, and helped braking on dry roads approach the passenger-car norm. Stopping was aided by antilock, which is standard, along with frontal air bags.

The Frontier fared quite well in the government’s crash tests. On a scale of five, it won a four-star rating for protection of the driver in a frontal impact, and fives for navigator frontal impact and side protection, front and rear.

It did considerably less well in the Insurance Institute’s more demanding offset barrier crashes, garnering an overall rating of poor. Footwell intrusion produced what they estimated would be serious injuries to the driver’s feet. In a series of four barrier tests at 5 mph, the Frontier tested (a ’98 model) suffered more than $4,000 damage, not atypical of the class. Build quality at the Smyrna, Tenn. plant was very good.

The test platform had the “supercharger value package” ($1,549), consisting of leather seats, six-CD changer, steering wheel controls for cruise and radio, a security system, cruise control, pop-up sunroof and tilt wheel; special floor mats, $79; bedliner, $309, and bed extender, $229. Total, with freight, was $26,735.

Worth checking: Similar compact pickups like GMC Sonoma, Ford Ranger and Chevrolet S-10, or the somewhat larger Dakota, which offers a choice between two V-8s.

“The Gannett News Service”

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.1
  • Interior design 3.8
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.6
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.5

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

My First Car

I have had this car since I was 16. I am 31 now It was my first car I ever owned. I love it so much I refuse to get rid of it. The car is very low maintenance and easy to work on and find parts for. The seats are so comfortable. I did have to install an after market alarm system on it. That is my only negative that it didn't come with an alarm system. The car is working fine for the most part with it. Only had to fix the alarm 3 times in 12 years. It speeds up quickly when needed. Really great on gas mileage compared to a lot of other cars my fiancee had owned. I did have a cracked manifold at one time, but that was my fault for driving with the E brake on a few times. I have only had to do non normal maintenance on it 5 times in the 16 years I have had it. Have 110,000 miles on it currently. So I am not talking about changing oil or brakes etc. as abnormal maintenance. I have only had to change the battery twice. I have only had to jump my car twice and that was due to needing a new battery because it was time for a new one. The braking system is amazing because I have had to slam on my brakes q few times due to animals or crazy drivers not paying attention. Onlu one previous owner before me. I do have to use sandbags in the winter sometimes to prevent fish tailing and hydroplaning, but I would recommend this vehicle to anyone.

4.6

Solid mid sized truck

Easy to maintain by owner and very comfortable. Well designed for longevity and dependability. I bought my 01 crew cab for 1500 bucks with 235k miles on it and immediately did the timing belt and water pump in it. Never having owned a nissan before, i was kind of anxious about doing the job but once i googled it and actually looked at what need to be removed, it was very easy to work on. I didn't even have to remove the radiator! The truck feels like a full size when driving it. Mine is 2wd and is as tall as my son's jeep with a 3" lift so its a good height on the road. The wind noise is a lot less then my previous gmc sonoma and chevy s10 and the seats are way more comfortable. The engine is quiet and the transmission is solid and shifts smoothly. Having had fords, chevies, isuzus, and jeep trucks and suvs, i am very impressed with this solid well built truck. I can see it will last a long time amd parts are cheap when anything needs repair. My friend has an 01 also, which helped me feel good about buying this with the mileage. His first nissan truck had 500k miles when he bought his 01 frontier brand new. He still has the 01 and its got 385k miles and he drives back and forth to mississippi from south, south texas.

4.6

Extremely reliable spunky truck

I have owned this truck for some time and I absolutely love it! I have the se manual and It gets decent gas mileage with an overall great performance. It was a bit sluggish at first but I did a small tune-up for under $200 and it now runs like a champ. I love the unique look of the truck, it is uncommon to see others and I value that. It’s not the most comfortable on long drives, but better than most vehicles I have owned. One complaint I have is the rear bumper always seem to rust out quick, but you can find a aftermarket one for $200 that look stylish and don’t rust like the standard bumper. Overall an amazing truck that I would recommend to anyone

See all 17 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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