The smallest pickup truck offered by Nissan is now among the “oldest” new cars on the road today. The same basic shape and structure that underpins the 2019 Frontier is old enough to earn its own learner’s permit.
That bodes well for value, but it doesn’t do much on our overall scale. It earns a 4.0. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Review continues below
Like last year—and many previous years—the 2019 Nissan Frontier is available in S, SV, Desert Runner, SL, and Pro-4X trim levels. An extended cab with a 6-foot bed is standard, but a four-door crew cab with a shorter bed is more common.
Nissan’s basic shape for the Frontier hasn’t changed much, which we don’t mind. We do mind about the interior—it’s just dated.
Under the hood is a base, forgettable inline-4 that makes 152 horsepower and struggles with anything more than rear-wheel drive and a light lunch. The strong 4.0-liter V-6 is more common, and for good reason: its 261 hp is enough to chirp the wheels and tow more than 6,500 pounds. The ride is predictably bouncy, but the Nissan’s old-school steering and gumption are enough to overcome the loud powertrain.
The Nissan Frontier’s budget roots show in the cabin and comfort, which are below average for new cars now. The front seat is fine, but the rear seats are upright and stiff. We don’t advise many humans to ride in the rear of extended-cab versions. It’s just too small.
The Frontier lacks a complete safety score, or advanced features, a reminder that the Frontier is more than 15 years old now. A rearview camera is standard on all trucks, and outward vision is generally good.
Base trucks are true strippers: manual windows, manual transmission, manual locks, cloth seats, and steel wheels. A few items, such as a 7.0-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, and Bluetooth connectivity are included for economy of scale on those trucks, we suppose. For not much more than the base truck’s sub-$20,000 entry price, a Nissan Frontier SV is equipped with alloy wheels, power features, upgraded cloth, and keyless entry. A small package adds a lot of value, including a spray-in bedliner, upgraded audio, tailgate extender, and more.
No amount of money adds advanced safety tech or good fuel economy. Most Frontiers will manage combined mileage in the mid-teens, which is on par with some full-sizers.