2002 Nissan Frontier Long Bed

First Drive: 2002 Nissan Frontier
"Nissan Improves Frontier with Crew Cab Longbed and More"

By: Arv Voss Last Edited: 07-20-01 18:00
PickupTruck.com, Auto Impressions © 2001

Nissan is deserving of the "innovator" title for the U.S. compact truck segment. It was in 1959 that the company introduced the first compact truck to the U.S. market. Ten years later the first half-ton model debuted. The first long bed model appeared in 1975, followed two years later by the first extended cab -- the King Cab. In 1983, Nissan became the first U.S.- built import truck nameplate. The year 2000 marked the introduction of the first compact Crew Cab model, and a year later Nissan offered the first compact truck-based, factory-installed supercharger. The latest innovation is the first long bed to be offered for a compact Crew Cab pickup, which bows as a 2002 model.

The full size long bed measures 74.6 inches, adding 18.3 inches of load length when compared to their Crew Cab short bed, and 11.5 inches to the capability of the nearest competitor, the Dodge Dakota Quad Cab. The Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed tops GM's S-10 Crew Cab length by more than a foot and a half, and Toyota's Double Cab's bed length by over a foot. Wheelbase has been extended 15 inches and overall length has risen to 211 inches while maneuverability and typical "garage-ability" have been retained. The long bed will be available for all trim levels, including: XE; SE; and Supercharged S/C models. Payload capability is increased by approximately 150 pounds and the GVWR has been bumped up by 220 pounds. Towing capacity remains the same at 5,000 pounds with the automatic transmission.

The Frontier's instrument panel is redesigned for 2002 with three gauge cockpit-style instrument clusters

Other improvements featured for the 2000 Frontier lineup, which is available in a total of 19 configurations include: a redesigned instrument panel with a three gauge cockpit-style instrument cluster; a larger console; and the availability of a 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate® high-powered audio system (only for Crew Cabs) -- a specially tricked out Frontier (approximately $80,000 worth) highlighting the unique and desirable personal entertainment system will be making the show circuit rounds. A major coup is the redesign and relocation of the parking or emergency brake from a "twist and pull" release and engage shaft, located on the right side of the steering column under the dash, to a foot engaged type positioned by the left kick panel. The release is surprisingly placed where the old "knee-smasher" brake was before. A pivot lever type would seem to make more sense for hill holding capability with manual transmission equipped vehicles -- Nissan indicated that this was not readily feasible due to console configuration limitations. Come on guys, with all of the company's innovative prowess, surely there is a possibility.

Regular Cab Frontiers will go the way of the dinosaur, and will no longer be available from Nissan. Choices will now only include King Cab, 4-door Crew Cab or Crew Cab Long Bed models.

A Rockford-Fosgate 9-speaker audio system, with an in-dash 6-disc CD player, is optional

When selecting power for your Frontier truck, the Supercharged 3.3 liter SOHC V6 is at the top of the list, producing 210 horsepower and 246 pound feet of torque (automatic transmission), or 231 pound feet with the manual gearbox. Next is the naturally aspirated 3.3 liter V6 with 170 horses and 200 pound feet of torque at a low 2,800 rpm -- this engine is standard for Desert Runners, all 4x4 models and Crew Cabs with either short or long beds. King Cab XE 4x2s will come standard with power from a 2.4 liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine that generates 143 horsepower and 154 pound feet of torque.

Shifting chores are handled by a 5-speed manual transmission on XE and S/C King Cab trucks, while a 4-speed electronically controlled automatic is available for the XE and standard on SE, S/C Crew Cab and Crew Cab Long Bed models. A limited slip differential appears as standard equipment on SE and S/C Frontiers, and is optional on V6 powered XEs. Nissan will continue to offer Frontiers models for either two-wheeling or four-wheeling with standard rear Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and 4-wheel ABS for V6 powered and Crew Cab models. Frontier's guidance system is a power-assisted recirculating ball type with a good on center feel.

Five spoke rims complement the Frontier's aggressive looks

Leather-appointed interiors are available for SE and S/C models, with a sports car-style red-on-charcoal stitching on S/C haulers. The glove box has been increased by 25 percent to accommodate more personal belongings. A seat height adjuster is slated for the not-too-distant future. Safety and security issues are addressed by the implementation of dual-stage supplemental air bags (King Cab versions feature an on/off switch), seat belt pretensioners and standard tailgate locks for all models. Outside the Frontier retains last year's implemented industrial appearance, but with a new raised hoodline, as well as a new grille and fascia treatment.

We were afforded the opportunity to pilot a pre-production Frontier SE Crew Cab Long Bed over remote challenging roads south of Big Sur and along Highway 1. The truck was unladen but still managed to provide a comfortable ride quality, with surprising agility and maneuverability. Our tester was powered by the naturally aspirated 3.3 liter V6 which seemed totally adequate under virtually all circumstances and conditions. The truck obviously now has a much heavier feel about it due to the increased weight and length -- in other words, it is no Xterra.

Pricing will range from $14,839* for an XE King Cab powered by the 2.4 liter 4-cylinder in a 4x2 configuration with a 5-speed manual transmission to $26,500* for a loaded SE Crew Cab Long Bed with a supercharged 3.3 liter V6 and automatic transmission in 4x4 drive configuration. The average transaction price is predicted to run around $24,500. The choice is yours, you may now have long, longer or longest, with a long list of standard features and amenities.
*unofficial estimated prices.

The new models which will be assembled by Nissan North America Manufacturing's plants in Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee, are set to go on sale this August.

2002 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Longbed Specifications

Base Price:
$25,249. *
Price as Tested:
$26,500 *
(Destination & Handling charges included)
* Unofficial estimates

Engine Type and Size:
3.3 liter SOHC V-6 with electronically controlled
fuel injection
Supercharged models optionally available

Horsepower (bhp):
170 @ 4800 rpm
210 @ 4800 rpm - Supercharged models
Torque (ft./ lbs.):
200 @ 2800 rpm
246 @ 2800 rpm - Supercharged models

Five-speed manual or 4-speed electronically controlled automatic.

Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-wheel drive/ part-time 4WD or 2WD.

Front - Independent double-wishbone with stabilizer bar.
Rear - Solid axle with multi-leaf spring suspension.

Power-assisted front vented discs and rear drums with 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-locking Braking System

Miscellaneous suppliers - P265/70R16 (SE) mounted on four-spoke painted alloy wheels. / P265/65 R17 (S/C) mounted on alloy wheels. wheels.

131 inches

Length Overall:
211 inches

70.4 inches - excluding mirrors

Fuel Capacity:
19.4 gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:
16 mpg city /
19 mpg highway

Drag Coefficient:
Not listed

0 - 60 mph:
Not Tested


Regular Cab Frontiers will go the way of the dinosaur, and will no longer be available from Nissan.












The Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed tops GM's S-10 Crew Cab length by more than a foot and a half, and Toyota's Double Cab's bed length by over a foot.

The Frontier's optional supercharger in action