The NISMO package may be particularly appealing to active types. It comes
from the minds of Nissan Motorsports, a division that has worked only
with cars in the past. Now it’s joining the off-road package movement
to compete with Z71, TRD and other such models. NISMO—which is available
on 2- and 4-wheel-drive models as well as King Cab and Crew Cab—gives
you BFG Rugged Trail tires, skid plates and Bilstein shocks. Our only
disappointment was the fun-to-drive 6-speed manual will be available only
on the King Cab 4x4 and none of the Crew Cab models or the 2WD King Cab.
But the NISMO does get an electric-locking rear differential and 4-wheel
limited slip (ABLS) as standard equipment.
Nissan will bring more high-tech features to the Frontier that will assist
off-roaders in extreme conditions. Hill Descent Control (HDC) allows for
travel downhill without constantly hitting the brake pedal. This feature
is engaged by the driver and is available only in 4WD mode. Hill Start
Assist (HAS) allows the driver to stop on an up-slope, release the brake
pedal and not roll back for up to two seconds as the driver shifts his
foot to the gas pedal. This action provides for smoother, controlled acceleration
up a steep hill and is always active in any 4x4 model.
noteworthy off-road features are not very noticeable, and that’s
the way Nissan want it. The frame is designed so that key underbody hardware
and components are up into the frame for maximum ground clearance all
around. The move also gives the truck a very clean appearance from the
I had a limited opportunity to drive the new Frontier during its press
introduction in Texas. Unfortunately, the area was hit with tremendous
rain storms most of the day, so travel was slow and deliberate just to
see past the wipers. I did manage to form a few initial impressions, however.
The interior is roomy and versatile. The front passenger seat folds flat
to double as a work area and there is rear underseat storage. The highway
ride was quiet with little or no interference to occupant conversation.
Interior materials on my LE model were upscale quality but not out of
character with a rugged vehicle. Overall design was structured but still
had a relaxing quality. In other words, it wasn’t so industrial
that you had to play Devo CDs all day. The gauge layout on the instrument
panel is easy to read, and the audio/climate controls are accessed hanidly.
This is a truck interior that is functional yet warm enough to be inviting.
all the new compact/midsize trucks within three months of the Frontier
introduction, I can honestly say I didn’t find a major difference
in the highway ride quality. All the trucks are getting stiffer frames,
beefier body structures and well-placed insulation. It would take a careful
side-by-side study to determine if there were significant differences
in ride quality. All have improved dramatically to challenge full-size
trucks for roominess and comfort. With the exception of some feature availability
concerns, the new Frontier has not yet disappointed. Otherwise I really
didn’t make further judgments on the Frontier as navigating through
flooded roads and trying to find the right turnoff kept my attention during
the morning drive. We will be getting additional models for full tests
in the near future and will have more in-depth reports. Also, the new
and Mitsubishi trucks
will be introduced soon, giving the segment even more new blood and heating
the up the competition. So how long will the spotlight stay focused on
Nissan? Stay tuned.