This rough and lumpy trace challenged forward progress of the pickup with every inch of ground gained, but nubby tires gripped with assurance and sturdy shock absorbers from Frontier's off-road suspension package filtered the bumpy ride while still delivering sure-footed control for driver.
Beyond a thick cluster of hardwood trunks to the right, the terrain cascaded hundreds of feet down the hillside to a scenic valley dotted by oak and pine. Behind the tailgate, a jolting path over fallen logs through silted chutes had led to this high spot, which would be inaccessible to a conventional two-wheel-drive vehicle.
Despite adversities along the route, Nissan's truck forged ahead, smothering stone and trail goo with deep-tread rubber while mustering an armory of low-gear torque and applying the strength of 170 horses to propel almost 2 tons of truck metal deep into the backwoods. For off-road adventures like this as well as tough truck chores, Frontier needs the V-6 engine.
Nissan’s newest name
As the newest nameplate in Nissan's stable, Frontier rolled out as a 1998 compact truck outfitted with either rear- or four-wheel drive, plus regular and extended-cab variations — but only a single four-cylinder choice for power.
For 1999 models, Nissan’s added a V-6, which can be coupled to one of two four-wheel-drive models in stretched King Cab configuration. The Frontier's 3.3-liter V-6, borrowed from Nissan's Pathfinder sport-utility wagon, stacks a single cam on top and sequential multipoint electronic fuel injection inside to generate 170 hp at 4800 rpm. Its torque — a measure of the muscle that turns the wheels — runs up to 200 foot-pounds at 2800 rpm. The V-6 can be had with either the standard five-speed manual shifter or an optional four-speed electronic automatic.