The Nissan Frontier is now in its third generation after a redesign last year, where it took on a more modern design – inside and out – that is little changed for the 2023 model year.
The Frontier is available in seven different trims, starting at King Cab S with a base price of just over $43,000. Our tester is the Crew Cab Pro-4X, the model’s top trim, with an as-tested price of $53,793. That includes a $300 charge for the Boulder Grey Pearl paint (which I really like) and $2,000 for the PRO-4X Luxury Package. That adds items such as leather front and rear seats, unique premium centre console stitching and premium door trim, a Fender premium audio system with 10 speakers, including subwoofers, and more.
The Frontier also had some notable standard features, such as Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, underbody skid plates (front, transfer case and fuel tank) and an electronic locking rear differential.
Powertrain: The Frontier comes with a pretty solid powerplant on offer. The 3.8-litre V6 produced 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, all moved through a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The engine spools up pretty quickly to provide the power demanded by the driver.
The 4×4 setup means you can manually select 2-wheel-drive or four High or Low via a dial in the dashboard.
Unless you are headed off-road, two-wheel drive will do you just fine with the Frontier.
I was quite impressed with how well, for a pickup truck anyway, the Frontier did on fuel. I returned an average of 13.1 litres per 100 kilometres with it, compared to the estimated 12 L/100 km.
Towing wise, the Frontier has a maximum capacity of 6,490 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,430 pounds.
Exterior: I found the Frontier’s styling to be eye-catching, especially from the front. Maybe it was the mix of the Boulder Grey paint, black grille and red accents and tow hooks, but the combination just really works for me.
With body-coloured exterior mirrors and even parts of the rear bumper, there is a nice consistency with the overall look.
From the side, it’s quite a boxy design, but that is just fine for a pickup truck. At the rear, the model’s name is embossed into the rear door’s sheet metal, and again there are red accents around the Nissan logo. Nice, simple touches that spruce up the look.
With 17-inch wheels and off-road tires, the Pro-4X also has a more aggressive look than others in the lineup.
The tester featured a five-foot bed, which does limit the types of items you can carry back. Longer items, like lumber, will be protruding quite a bit from the bed, especially for anything longer than a standard eight-foot piece.
Interior: The cabin of the Frontier is well laid out and, in the Pro-4X trim, features some nicer materials that up the ante a bit.
That includes a series of red accents (much like the exterior), with contrast stitching on the seats and centre console, and a bright red insert into the door panels. The Pro-4X branding is also boldly embroidered onto the seats, so hard to miss what model you are sitting in.
Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are nice creature comforts. The switch for the heated seats is a simple toggle for high/low, which to me seems antiquated given most vehicles have three heat settings via more modern switches. A minor quibble, but feels out of place with a pretty modern design.
The rest of the controls are neatly arranged in clear groupings at different levels to avoid any confusion.
In the back, the rear bench flips up for some under seat storage, or just to open the floor space to handle large items.
Infotainment: Standard on the Frontier is an 8-inch display screen, upgraded to 9 inches on the Pro-4X, for the infotainment system, featuring NissanConnect services, a Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and charging.
Also upgraded in the Pro-4X is the audio output thanks to the Fender audio system, which is a pretty good addition to this midsize pickup.
The menus and interface for the system work well and there is no lag to speak of when navigating through the various options.
Drive: I have to say, the Frontier felt more refined than I expected for a pickup truck. Sure, the drive is still on the rougher side, but you weren’t being rattled around too badly in the cabin.
The engine response to the throttle inputs is good, and steering response is quick, which makes the Frontier easy to drive around town.
For those who venture off road with the Pro-4X, it features a series of off-road gauges that monitor things like pitch and roll, as well as the 4X4 and differential lock status.
Conclusion: While there are perhaps a few shortcomings in terms of capability when compared to some competitors, the Frontier is nevertheless quite a good option in the midsize truck segment.
It looks really good – especially the Pro-4X with red accents, has enough power and a nice cabin that should prove to put it in good stead with consumers.
2023 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Pro-4X
Price as tested: $53,793.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.8-litre V6/ 9-speed automatic
Power/torque: 310 horsepower/ 281 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (80 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 12 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 13.1 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma
Website: Nissan Canada