Cabin comfort is also lacking compared with the other trucks’ larger interiors. The Nissan Frontier is compact in size and the cabin is narrower than others, which offer legitimately mid-size interiors in crew-cab Canyons, Colorados or Tacomas; the Ridgeline is only a four-door, and roomier, too. At a slender 6 feet tall, I wasn’t comfortable in the Frontier’s backseat because of its flat cushioning and elevated knee position. My knees were touching the front seatback where I had positioned it to drive.
Towing and Cargo
The Nissan Frontier crew cab with rear-wheel drive, SL trim level and V-6 engine can tow a maximum of 6,710 pounds. A Colorado with a V-6 is rated to tow 7,000 pounds in any cab or drive configuration, and 7,700 pounds with an optional diesel four-cylinder, while the Tacoma V-6 rear-wheel-drive extended cab is rated at a maximum 6,800 pounds and the Ridgeline is a maximum 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive.
The Nissan Frontier has the lowest crashworthiness ratings of mid-size pickups tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. At the top of the 2018 list is the Honda Ridgeline, followed by the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado (crew cab only) with equal ratings. In federal crash tests, the Frontier lags other trucks in its front crashworthiness, though it earns similar overall ratings. Not offered is a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking like the Ridgeline, which is the only truck in the class to offer the feature.
In the Market
Though the Nissan Frontier’s starting price is $1,500 less than a 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ($19,365 versus $20,940 with destination charges), in higher select trims there’s less pricing disparity. My test truck, a Pro-4X with optional equipment, totaled $37,000. A similar off-road package on the Colorado, the Z71 with a V-6 and four-wheel drive, starts at $36,775 for a significantly more refined and well-rounded truck, though perhaps with fewer off-road chops from the factory; a good pair of tires could help it play catchup, or there’s the ultimate off-road mid-sizer, the $41,000 ZR2.
Both the Pro-4X and Z71 give you crew cabs and short boxes, two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential, off-road shocks, hill descent control, heated front seats and a backup camera. Where the Nissan Frontier’s value comes back swinging is that it also includes a moonroof (which isn’t an option on any Colorado), dual climate control instead of single, leather interior versus cloth and a roof rack. Does that make the Frontier worth the money? Well, that depends how often you’ll be driving off-road versus on.
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