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2013 Nissan Frontier Overview

John Diether
Automotive Editor - April 1, 2013

One of the few remaining players in the compact pickup field (or mid-size depending on your perspective), the Frontier is a veteran workhorse of the Nissan lineup. It remains a logical choice for buyers who can do without the power and capacity of a full-size truck. Such folks are rewarded with better fuel economy and a friendlier sticker price.

King cab models run with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 152 horsepower. There's a pair of flip-down, forward-facing seats behind the front buckets, allowing four-passenger capacity in a pinch. When the seats aren't occupied, you get a fair amount of interior storage space that's easily accessible thanks to rear-hinged half-doors on each side. The front passenger seat back folds forward to provide a table-like surface, a useful touch.

The available four-door crew cab features a full-length flippable rear bench and 4.0-liter V6. Available across the board, the V6 makes 261 horsepower, which might not seem like a lot given its displacement, but it's the most power you can get in this class. The V6 Frontier moves out surprisingly well, all things considered, and can tow up to 6,500 pounds

The Frontier hasn't changed much over the years, but Nissan has managed to make it more appealing by doing something unexpected: slashing prices. The 2013 models cost $1,270 to $1,460 less than comparable 2012s. The king cab now starts at $17,990, and the crew at $22,030. At those levels, the Frontier remains a highly competitive offering, even though it's been around in current form since 2005.

Not only does it cost less to buy a Frontier this year, it also costs less to drive one. Fuel economy gets of boost from new low-friction engine components and enhanced aerodynamics. All Frontiers now wear a tailgate spoiler, revised front spoiler, and rubberized body seal between the cab and bed. Gas mileage is up one or two mpg depending on the configuration. The popular V6 and automatic transmission combo gets two extra mpg on the highway and one in the city.

The compact pickup segment might be on life support, but the Frontier still has a pulse. In addition to investing in this year's improvements, Nissan continues to support a deep model range and full catalog of accessories, so it's unlikely the Frontier will leave us anytime soon.

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