Advertisement
Go
2013 Nissan Frontier Photo
7.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
How does the
TCC Rating work?
The TCC Rating is a clear numeric rating value based on a 10-point scale that reflects the overall opinion of our automotive experts on any vehicle and rolls up ratings we give each vehicle across sub-categories you care about like performance, safety, styling and more.

Our rating also has simple color-coded “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange),
or “Go” (green) messages along with the numerical score so you can easily understand where we stand at a glance.

Our automotive experts then also collect and show you what other websites say about these different aspects of any vehicle. We do this leg work for you to simplify your research process.

Learn more about how we rate and review cars here.

?
Reviewed by Bengt Halvorson
Deputy Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$17,063
BASE MSRP
$17,990
Quick Take
The 2013 Nissan Frontier is the best alternative to a full-size pickup: it's maneuverable, manageable, and a bit more conscious of gas mileage. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

romp-and-stomp styling

Car and Driver »

rugged disposition

Edmunds »

trying to emulate many of the Titan's styling features

Car and Driver »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$17,990 $33,790
MSRP $17,990
INVOICE $17,063 Browse used listings in your area
2WD King Cab I4 Manual S
Gas Mileage 19 mpg City/23 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas i4, 2.5L
EPA Class No Data
Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 4
Passenger Doors 2
Body Style Extended Cab Pickup - Standard Bed
See Detailed Specs »
7.6 out of 10
Browse Nissan Frontier inventory in your area.

SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS

The Basics:

There's no way to buy a new compact pickup truck at a dealership for 2013; the last vehicles to fit that description–Colorado, Canyon, Ranger–all disappeared last year. Left in their place are a range of midsize trucks with much more utility–and among them, our top pick is the Nissan Frontier.

More a downsized big truck than an upsized small one, the Frontier shares some of its engineering with the Titan, Nissan's long-lived full-size pickup. The frame rails may be related, but otherwise, the Frontier's a more manageable size, with just as many body styles, and even more powertrain choice than the Titan--and a more comfortable ride than the rival Toyota Tacoma.

Visually, the Frontier has changed very little since the 2005 model year, when the current generation was introduced—although it did get some modest mid-cycle upgrades for 2009. We tend to think, as we note in our full review of the 2013 Nissan Frontier, that these models have aged much more gracefully on the outside than inside, where the Frontier's instrument-panel design and trims remind one how much designs have evolved in a decade.

There's no V-8 on offer in the Frontier, but the V-6 is a star, and what it provides rivals the gusto of V-8s in full-size trucks, if not their towing and hauling numbers. Nissan has reduced engine friction for 2013--and boosted gas mileage through that and a few subtle aerodynamic improvements--although ratings remain the same: 261 hp and 281 lb-ft. It pairs well with the automatic transmission; there's a manual, too, but throws are long. There's a four-cylinder option as well, and it's rated higher for fuel economy, though the spec-sheet ratings could disappear as you push the 152-hp, 2.5-liter four with heavy payloads and extra passengers.

Between the King Cab and the Crew Cab, the latter is the way to go if you regularly carry more than two front-seat passengers. These trucks have a good, upright seating position, with a somewhat high floor forcing taller drivers into a stretched-leg position. About the only down side for comfort is the Frontier's ride, which can get pretty choppy.

There's some innovation right where it counts: in the cargo bed. There's a factory-applied spray-in bedliner, and the available Utili-Track cargo tie-down system is a must for those who have weekend projects or outdoor gear to secure. For 2013, a new Value Truck Package adds those, plus a trailer hitch, dual-zone climate control, a bed extender, and more.

The Frontier was already one of the best small or mid-size trucks for safety, and this year it gets better with a backup camera and sonar parking sensors added to the feature set of much of the lineup. A Bluetooth hands-free system is now also included in all but the base S.

Frontier is offered in S, SV, SL, and off-road-oriented PRO-4X models, with SL models offered in Crew Cab form only. Most of the lineup can be equipped with rear- or four-wheel drive, in King Cab or Crew Cab body styles. New for 2013 is a Desert Runner model that essentially pairs the look and some of the equipment of the PRO-4X, but with rear-wheel drive. Otherwise a navigation-system has been added to the lineup, and SV and PRO-4X models get a new Display Audio system.

Likes:

  • Modern pickup looks
  • A powerful V-6 option
  • Hauling and towing strength (V-6)
  • Crew Cabs are spacious
  • Among the safest small trucks

Dislikes:

  • Ride is choppy, busy
  • Outdated instrument-panel design
  • Bed length limited to six feet
Next: Interior / Exterior »
Advertisement
Other Choices Read More
7.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
7.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
6.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.