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2020 Nissan Frontier

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Expert Rating
1.9 (Poor)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2020 S 4x2 King Cab 6 ft. box 125.9 in. WB
most popular
Price:   -  From $26,790
2020 SV 4x2 King Cab 6 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $27,670
2020 S 4x2 Crew Cab 5 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $27,900
2020 SV 4x2 Crew Cab 5 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $28,800
2020 S 4x4 King Cab 6 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $29,680
2020 SV 4x4 King Cab 6 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $30,560
2020 S 4x4 Crew Cab 5 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $31,290
2020 SV 4x2 Crew Cab 6 ft. box 139.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $31,410
2020 SV 4x4 Crew Cab 5 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $31,990
2020 SV 4x4 Crew Cab 6 ft. box 139.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $32,410
2020 PRO-4X 4x4 Crew Cab 5 ft. box 125.9 in. WB Price:   -  From $37,490

Overview

What's New

Only one part of the 2020 Nissan Frontier is new: the powertrain. In an unusual move, Nissan has swapped in a new V6 engine and nine-speed transmission a year before the model gets a full redesign.

The rest of the Frontier is very, very old. The model has remained essentially unchanged since 2005, making it one of the oldest platforms on the market. Expect a new generation of the Frontier in 2021.

Choosing Your Nissan Frontier

Unlike many American truck makers, Nissan keeps things simple. The Frontier comes in only four trim levels: S, SV, Midnight Edition, and PRO-4X. Prices start at $27,885 including destination for the base S and climb to $38,585 for the PRO-4X.

Engine Choices

The Frontier is down to a single engine for 2020, and it’s brand new. The 3.8-liter V6 makes 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. That’s more power than either of last year’s options.

Also new is the nine-speed automatic transmission sending power to the wheels. A manual is no longer an option. Rear-wheel drive is the default on all but the PRO-4X, but four-wheel drive is available. Cost varies by trim and body, but the upgrade is usually around $3,000.

The new V6 is marginally more efficient than the last version, but don’t get too excited. The Frontier only returns an EPA-estimated 18 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 combined, or 17/23/19 mpg (city/highway/combined) with 4WD.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

The Frontier comes with two options each for cab and bed.

The cheapest models are extended cab, or “King Cab” in Nissan speak. Although King Cab trucks technically have a rear seat, it’s best reserved for children or storage. The King Cab is standard on the S and SV.

Crew Cab models have four full-size doors and are more spacious, although rear leg room remains unexceptional for the class. The Midnight Edition and PRO-4X are available exclusively with the Crew Cab, and it's optional on S and SV models

All King Cab models come with a long 73.3-inch bed. Crew Cabs start with a 59.5-inch box, but the longer version is available on the SV trim.

Nissan Frontier

Safety Features

As you might expect of a platform this old, safety isn't a strength of the Frontier. The truck was once tested by the IIHS and NHTSA, but it happened so long ago that the results are now outdated. Even then, the Frontier’s crash scores were middling.

Don’t look for active safety tech, either. There’s no automatic emergency braking or blind-spot monitoring, let alone adaptive cruise control. The Frontier includes a federally-mandated rearview camera, the Midnight Edition and PRO-4X get rear parking sensors, and that's about it.

Connectivity

Although Nissan has tried to paper over the Frontier’s age with a 7-inch infotainment (non-touch)screen, they can’t hide it entirely. The system is compatible with neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto, and a wi-fi hot spot is nowhere in sight.

The PRO-4X gets a 5.8-inch touchscreen with navigation, satellite radio, voice recognition, and a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system.

Nissan Frontier

S - From $27,885

In most respects, the Frontier S keeps things simple. Upholstery is cloth, and seat adjustment is manual (no height adjustment, either). The tires sit on 16-inch steel rims. The only nods to luxury are keyless entry, push button start, and wheel-mounted audio controls.

SV - From $28,765

For a relatively modest price increase, the Frontier SV adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a body-color front bumper, bed-rail caps, and a sliding rear window. More importantly, this trim opens up a wider range of options.

The main attraction is the Value Truck Package ($1,990), which brings the Frontier SV a few welcome creature comforts. Included are heated front seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, fog lights, and a spray-on bedliner, among other things.

Midnight Edition - From $31,885

Though marketed as a limited edition, the Midnight Edition is essentially a Crew Cab SV with the Value Truck Package and black accents. The exterior earns its name with a black grille, black step rails, and exclusive badging. As an added bonus, the Midnight Edition rides on 18-inch black wheels.

Because the Value Truck Package is included, the Midnight Edition doesn’t have many options to choose from, but this means it comes standard with heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and fog lights, among other features.

PRO-4X - From $38,585

The PRO-4X is Nissan’s take on an off-road truck, although it also adds some luxury features. The wheels shrink back down to 16 inches, but they’re connected to Bilstein off-road shock absorbers. The PRO-4X gets leather upholstery with white contrast stitching, the touchscreen, navigation, Rockford Fosgate sound, an eight-way power driver seat, a four-way power passenger seat, and a sliding moonroof.

In terms of off-roading goodies, the PRO-4X also gets a two-speed transfer case, an electronic locking rear differential, hill start assist, hill descent control, a skid plate, a front tow hook, and splash guards.

Compare Frontier Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

Because of its age, the 2020 Nissan Frontier makes the most sense as a budget buy. We’d stick to the SV trim, where the approachable price makes for decent value.

author image
Automotive Editor
Read Less

Expert Review

Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Off-road skills
  • New V6 engine
Cons
  • 15-year-old truck
  • Harsh ride
  • Dated tech and safety features
Expert Rating
1.9 (Poor)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Automotive Editor

Outdated design. The 2020 Nissan Frontier is an ancient pickup truck with bones that date back to the 2005 model year. Not a lot has changed for the Frontier in those 15 years.

This means the exterior and interior look nearly identical to the Frontier from 2005. Compared to new competitors like the Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Colorado, it’s not a good look.

Things are slightly more modern on the inside, but not by much. You now get a 7-inch touchscreen, but it doesn’t come with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The Frontier’s lack of modern tech features is one of its major drawbacks from its old age.

New engine. Interestingly, while the body, chassis, and technology all stay the same for the 2020 model year, the Frontier benefits from a new engine.

Both last year's four-cylinder and V6 engines have been dropped and replaced with a 3.8-liter V6. While smaller in displacement than the previous V6, the new engine is more powerful, rated at 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Towing capacity doesn’t change for the Frontier, as it’s still rated at up to 6,720 pounds. That puts it toward the bottom of the pack, just ahead of the Honda Ridgeline.

Fuel economy is up, as the Frontier can now get 20 miles per gallon combined. Last year's V6 returned 19 mpg combined.

The new engine is a welcome addition to the Frontier. The V6 has a generous amount of power, while the nine-speed automatic shifts smoothly. The new 3.8-liter V6 is more polished than the outgoing 4.0-liter V6 engine and always delivers its power smoothly. It’s also one of the more powerful engines in the class.

Poor safety scores. Compact pickup trucks aren’t exactly known for their safety, but the Frontier has some of the lowest scores in the class.

The NHTSA gave it a four-star overall safety rating. In the IIHS’ crash tests, the truck earned "Marginal" ratings in both of the small overlap front tests and an "Acceptable" rating for its head restraints and seats. The pickup’s headlights earned the lowest rating possible of "Poor."

The Frontier’s bad safety scores are further exacerbated because of the lack of advanced safety features. The only ones that are available are a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Even for the segment, that’s terrible and falls behind nearly every other competitor.


Nissan Frontier

Relatively strong value. One of the Frontier’s strongest qualities is just how much of a value option it is. Pricing for the 2020 model starts at $27,885 including destination.

The Frontier's new V6 is a lot more powerful than the four-cylinder engines found in more affordable competitors. The base trim is no longer a bare-bones vehicle, either, as it comes with remote keyless entry, push button start, power door locks, and power windows.

While it may not be as affordable as last year’s model, the Frontier is still a strong value option for consumers that want to get more for their money, as long as you stay away from higher trim levels.

Final thoughts. The 2020 Nissan Frontier is an odd proposition. An all-new Frontier, which is direly needed, is right around the corner. This year's Frontier is more of a taste of what’s to come, offering consumers the old body, platform, and tech with the all-new engine.

For consumers that want an old-school truck with a modern engine, the Frontier continues to offer that.

Compared to the competition, the Frontier falls behind in quite a few main areas. It doesn’t have the same crash test scores, advanced safety features, modern infotainment system, or fuel economy as newer options. There’s a lot that stops the Frontier from being a leader in the class.

Whether you choose the Ridgeline, Ranger, Gladiator, Colorado, GMC Canyon, or Toyota Tacoma, you’re getting a better truck. The Frontier is one of the oldest vehicles on sale and is desperate need of a full update.

If you’re looking for a pickup with a comfortable ride, the latest safety features, and an upscale interior, the Ridgeline is the best pick. For the best towing capacity, an available diesel engine, and a modern infotainment system, the Colorado is a good choice.

Check prices for the 2020 Nissan Frontier »

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Specs & Features

Highlights
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Available
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.8L V-6 / 310 HP / 281 ft.lbs.
Transmission
9-spd auto w/OD
Drive Type
Rear-wheel
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
18 / 24 / 21 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
4
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.8L V-6 / 310 HP / 281 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Rear-wheel
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
18 / 24 / 21 Mpg
Brakes
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension
Rigid Axle Leaf
Spare Tire And Wheel
Full-size Steel
Fuel Tank
21.1 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
$81
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
Passenger Volume
92 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
205.5 "
Exterior Width
72.8 "
Exterior Height
70.1 "
Front Headroom
39.7 "
Rear Headroom
36.6 "
Front Legroom
42.4 "
Rear Legroom
25.4 "
Front Shoulder Room
58.3 "
Rear Shoulder Room
54.9 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
4,180 Lbs.
Wheel Base
126 "
Turning Radius
21.7 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
Wheels
16.0 " Silver Styled Steel
Paint
Clearcoat Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Manual
Bumpers
Front Black
Grille Moldings
Chrome
Rear Spoiler
Exhaust
Stainless Steel
Interior Features
Seating
Passenger Capacity
4
Seat Trim
Cloth
Front Seat Type
Bucket
Heated Front Seats
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
4-way
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
4-way
Front Armrests
4-way
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
50-50 Jump
Radio & Infotainment
Radio
Am/fm Stereo, Clock, Seek-scan
Speakers
4
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Tilt
Climate Control
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Driver
Tinted Windows
Deep
Vanity Mirrors
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (front Doors)
Power Outlets
2
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Front
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Warranty
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Major Components Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
60 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles

Used 2020 Nissan Frontier for Sale

6 vehicles found within 50 miles of your area
Nissan
SV
Color: White
Price

$19,949

Mileage

60,488 mi

Map location icon

SC Motors II (30 mi)

Phone: (714) 524-8400
Nissan
SV
Color: White
Price

$22,449

Mileage

46,890 mi

Map location icon

SC Motors II (30 mi)

Phone: (714) 524-8400
Nissan
S 4x2 Crew Cab 5 ft. box 125.9 in. WB
Color: White
Price

$22,888

Mileage

58,947 mi

Map location icon

Auto Republic Fullerton (26 mi)

Phone: (714) 215-9142
Nissan
SV
Color: Gun Metallic
Price

$23,959

Mileage

52,953 mi

Map location icon

Cerritos Nissan (18 mi)

See All Used Car Listings

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