2016 - 2020 Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier soldiers on another year with little in the way of changes. In fact, the only updates to the aging Frontier are three new color choices and a moon roof option in the Crew Cab SV model. Beyond that, the midsize pickup is the same the day it received its last refresh in 2009. Well, except for a change in price that’s just as subtle.
However Frontier is still a competitive truck, despite several new entries in its class. A fully boxed frame, two engine choices, two- and four-wheel drive options, and game-changing cargo management gadgets in its bed. What’s more, the Frontier still offers a good ole manual transmission with nearly all of its trim levels, including the rugged PRO-4X off-road edition. You won’t find that in the Toyota Tacoma or Chevrolet Colorado.
Don’t expect the Frontier to muddle on looking neglected by Nissan. Rumors are already swirling about the truck’s replacement. Word has it Nissan will turn its focus on the Frontier once the 2016 Titan XD and 2017 Titan are on the market. If that holds true, we could see a new Frontier by 2018 or so – about the same time the Colorado, Canyon, and Tacoma could be getting facelifts. Still, that’s only speculation.
So lets take a look at what the current 2016 Frontier has to offer and the slight changes Nissan gave it.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Nissan Frontier.
2016 - 2020 Nissan Frontier
Horsepower @ RPM:261 @ 5600
Torque @ RPM:281 @ 4000
0-60 time:8 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:125 mph (Est.)
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the Frontier’s styling. It’s almost classic at this point. The small grille, the large fender flairs, the cool roof rack on various trims – its just looks awesome.
The small grille, the large fender flairs, the cool roof rack on various trims – its just looks awesome.
The pickup comes in various flavors, including an extended cab called the King Cab and the four-door Crew Cab. There is no regular cab. Both a five-foot and six-foot bed are offered, but availability depends on trim and cab configuration.
As far as the 2016 updates, the Frontier now has three new color choices: Forged Copper, Gun Metallic, and Magnetic Black. That’s in addition to the carry-over crop of colors that include Glacier White, Cayenne Red, Brilliant Silver, Lava Red, and Arctic Blue Metallic.
The only other change is the new moonroof available on the Crew Cab SV model.
|Wheelbase||125.9 SWB / 139.9 LWB|
|Overall length||205.5 (Standard) / 219.4 (Long Bed)|
|Overall height||70.1 (w/o roof rack), 73.9 (w/ roof rack)|
|Tread width FR||61.8|
|Tread width RR||61.8|
Note: 2015 Frontier pictured
Like the exterior, the Frontier’s interior digs are downright classic. Sadly, that doesn’t work so well here. The interior’s theme is simply dated with its bulky three-spoke steering wheel, small (and optional) navigation screen, and clunky shifter. Hard plastics abound and ergonomics leave much to be desired.
the interior is still highly functional and welcoming enough for long drives
That being said, the interior is still highly functional and welcoming enough for long drives. Six color and material combinations are offered, giving customers a range of options based on trim levels.
For those King Cab buyers, the back seats should only be used in dire situations. The old-school fold-down seats are cramped and offer no support. Cargo and small kids are best left for the rear.
Crew Cab seating is much improved, though still smaller than both the Tacoma and Colorado’s rear accommodations. Nissan does give the Frontier fold-up seat bottoms that allow for more cargo hauling options besides the bed.
Two engines are available with the Frontier. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder is restricted to the King Cab and offers 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. For those seeking more power, the 4.0-liter V-6 brings 261 horsepower and a class-leading torque output of 281 pound-feet.
Surprisingly, both engines can be had with either a manual or automatic transmission in either cab configuration. The four-cylinder in the King Cab gets a five-speed manual while the V-6 is upgraded to a six-speed manual in the Crew Cab. The only automatic available is a five-speed unit.
Like all mid-size truck offerings, the Frontier comes in both 2WD and 4WD flavors. Those with 4WD get an electronically controlled transfer case that has both high- and low-range gears. An electronic locking rear differential gives even more traction in off-road situations.
For those seeking the adventurous outdoors life, the PRO-4X package is the one to get. It comes standard with 4WD and the E-locker, along with 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265/75-series all-terrain tires. Bilstein shocks and skid plates round out the package, along with graphics on the bed.
|Cylinders / configuration||V6|
|Block / head composition||Aluminum/aluminum|
|Displacement (liters / cc)||4.0L / 3,954 cc|
|Horsepower||261 HP @ 5,600 RPM|
|Torque||281 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM|
|Bore & stroke (mm)||95.5 x 92|
|Compression ratio (:1)||9.7|
|Maximum engine speed||6,000 rpm|
Dual-stage front airbags, side airbags, and curtain airbags help protect occupants during a crash, along with three-point seatbelts in every position. As a result of these features and built-in crumple zones, the Frontier earned “Good” ratings front the IIHS in all but the head restraints and seats category where it scored “Acceptable.” The NHTSA rates the Frontier at three out of five stars.
Pricing for 2016 stays pretty much the same as before, with very modest increases on a few trim levels and a drop in price – believe it or not – on one trim level. The base King Cab with the manual is $75 more than last year, the Desert Runner is $105 more, and the base Crew Cab is $125 more than 2015. But choose the SV trim level in the King Cab, and the price drops $15 over the outgoing model.
Not all the increases are so nominal, however. The PRO-4X model increases by $1,305.
All this means pricing starts at $18,090 for the base S trim in King Cab form. The term “base” isn’t an exaggeration either: air condition is an option! For those looking to drop some money on a Frontier, the top trim SL package on the Crew Cab with 4WD and the long bed starts at $36,275.
|BASE VEHICLE||Description||Suggested List Price|
|S KC 4x2 M/T (I4)||2.5 Liter I4 M/T||$18,090|
|S KC 4x2 A/T (I4)||2.5 Liter I4 A/T||$20,760|
|SV KC 4x2 M/T (I4)||2.5 Liter I4 M/T||$21,980|
|SV KC 4x2 A/T (I4)||2.5 Liter I4 A/T||$23,030|
|SV KC 4x2 A/T||4.0 Liter V6 A/T||$23,740|
|Desert Runner KC 4x2 A/T||4.0 Liter V6 A/T||$24,320|
|SV KC 4x4 A/T||4.0 Liter V6 A/T||$26,440|
|PRO-4X KC 4x4 A/T||4.0 Liter V6 A/T||$31,880|
|S Preferred Package||$1,200|
|SV Value Truck Package||$1,990|
|Under Rail Bedliner||$355|
|Bedliner & Hitch||$630|
|Bed Extender & Hitch-A/T only||$580|
|Bed Extender & Hitch-M/T only||$580|
|PRO-4X Graphics Package||$465|
The Tacoma enjoys a complete re-do for the 2016 model year, bringing a new body, interior, V-6 engine, and frame. Only the four-cylinder and its transmission are carry-over. The Tacoma gains tons of refinement inside its cabin. Its optional leather seating is high-class while its sporty cloth offerings are attractive. Toyota also equipped the 2016 Tacoma’s off-road package with it the 4Runner’s CRAWL control system.
The new 3.5-liter V-6 makes 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque while using an Atkinson combustion cycle during low-load situations for improved fuel economy. A new six-speed automatic also helps cut fuel consumption.
Prices start at $21,865 and range up to $38,515.
Read more about the Toyota Tacoma here.
Redesigned for 2015 after a long hiatus, the Colorado and its GMC cousin, the Canyon, offer very competitive packages that help the GM brand stick out among their rivals. The Colorado comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, but the majority of folks will opt for the 3.6-liter V-6. Making 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the V-6 moves the mid-size truck fairly well. For 2016, however, a 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder joins the ranks. Kicking out 181 horsepower and an impressive 369 pound-feet of torque, the baby Duramax is the choice for trailer towers and fuel misers.
Pricing start around $21,000 and crests into the lower $40,000 range for top trim model.
Read more about the Chevrolet Colorado here.
While the Frontier soldiers on another year without major updates, the truck is still competitive in the segment – both in terms of sales figures and its abilities. A peppy V-6 combined with a stout 4WD system helps the Nissan compete with its more advanced rivals while keeping costs down. For those wanting to haul cargo, the Frontier offers its class-exclusive in-bed tie-down rails.
Now that the 2016 Nissan Titan XD is headed to dealerships, Nissan is likely to turn its focus onto the Frontier. Sadly, we’ve got another year to wait thanks to the 2017 launch of the standard-duty Titan. Expect an all-new Frontier to appear for 2018.
Until then, the Frontier packs plenty of cool features and options to keep buyers interested. Sadly, Its low price in the segment might just be its best selling point.