The mid-size truck class has undergone many changes in recent years. General Motors comes with GMC Canyon and redesigned Chevrolet Colorado, there is also a new version of Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma. The least behind is the 2018 Nissan Frontier, which has remained largely unchanged since the debut of current generation more than a decade ago.
But that may change next year when the new Frontier arrives. But right now, the 2018 Nissan Frontier is out of date at almost every point. The interior though is durable, has a feel and look cheap and lots of noise. Frontier engines are also fuel-hungry and technology and advanced safety features are few.
On the positive side, the Frontier offers a very comfortable ride, beds with all sorts of handy cleats and tie-downs, and high off-road capabilities in Pro-4X trim. It’s also relatively affordable compared to its rivals. Thus, 2018 Nissan Frontier could be an alternative choice for truck buyers looking for simple utilities.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Nissan Frontier is a midsize truck offered in two body styles King extended cab or four-door crew cab. There are five trim levels available: the base S, SV, Desert Runner, Pro-4X and SL.
The base S trim standard features include 15-inch steel wheels, a rearview camera, rear privacy glass, cruise control, air-conditioning, cloth front bucket seats, a 5-inch central display, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free voice command, steering wheel audio controls, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and USB input.
The optional Work Truck package adds splash guards, bed rail caps, a spray-in bedliner and rubber floor mats.
The 2018 Nissan Frontier SV adds 16-inch alloy wheels, sliding rear window, power accessories and satellite radio. Options for the crew cab is a sunroof and a Value Truck package, which adds rear parking sensors, foglights, a rearview camera, a spray-in bedliner, a sliding bed extender, a Class IV trailer hitch, adjustable cargo tie-downs, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats and two extra speakers on extended cabs.
Also available for the SV crew cab is the Midnight Edition package, which adds blacked-out body-colored bumpers, 18-inch wheels, side mirror housings and side steps.
The 2018 Nissan Frontier Desert Runner is built on the base SV equipment list plus off-road tires, high-performance shock absorbers, foglights and special styling details. The SV Value package isn’t available with this trim.
The 2018 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X gets automatic headlights, specially tuned shocks, knobby off-road tires, skid plates, a locking rear differential, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a first-aid kit, a 5.8-inch NissanConnect touchscreen with navigation, voice controls and satellite radio. It also includes the SV Value Truck package equipment except for the bed extender and trailer hitch, which are optional. Crew cabs models also get a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system.
Only available on the crew cabs automatic is the Pro-4X Premium package, which adds a roof rack with crossbars, a sunroof, heated mirrors, power-adjustable front seats, a rear-seat center armrest and leather upholstery.
The 2018 Nissan Frontier SL is only available as a crew cab and loses the Pro-4X off-road-oriented equipment but keep most of the items in the Pro-4X Premium package, including a sunroof for long-bed models. Other standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels and side steps. The trailer hitch and bed extender optional on the SL and sunroof is a stand-alone option for short-bed SL.
The 2018 Nissan Frontier is offered with two different engines. Extended cab S and SV models come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, and a five-speed automatic available as an option. EPA fuel economy with the manual transmission earns 21 mpg combined (19 city/23 highway), and 19 mpg combined (17/23) with the automatic.
Optional for the SV and standard for the rest of the extended cab and crew cab models is a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. The S, SV and Pro-4X can be equipped with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, while the Desert Runner and SL are automatic only. In performance testing, the 2018 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X crew cab with automatic accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds.
The V6 Frontier gives you a choice of rear or four-wheel drive except for the Desert Runner and Pro-4X models. The Frontier uses a part-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case. Four-wheel-drive models with automatic transmission also have hill descent control and hill start assist, while the Pro-4X has a locking rear differential.
EPA fuel economy at 19 mpg combined (17/22) for manual-transmission rear-wheel-drive, while the four-wheel drive at 18 mpg combined (16/21). Automatic with rear-wheel rated at 18 combined (16/22) drive and 17 combined (15/21) with four-wheel drive. These numbers are lower than the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado.
Properly equipped, the 2018 Nissan Frontier four-cylinder can tow up to 3,500 pounds, while V6 versions can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Nissan Frontier is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the Toyota Tacoma, GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado.
Official pricing ranges will start from $23,385 (include destination fee) for the Frontier S 4×2 King Cab and range up to $37,125 for the well-equipped SL 4×4 Crew Cab.