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Based on several driving experiences with the Nissan Frontier, the editors of TheCarConnection.com compiled their impressions and drive notes into a Bottom Line summary. Then, for more information, the research team at TheCarConnection.com searched the most reputable review sources and included highlights to help show how the 2010 Nissan Frontier matches up against other trucks.
- Rugged, handsome styling
- Strong V-6 performance
- Impressive towing capacity
- Roomy four-door Crew Cab
- Interior trim feels cheap
- Busy ride
- No true long-bed version
Riding on the same frame as the large Nissan Titan, the 2010 Nissan Frontier is hardly a compact. More appropriately, it's a mid-size truck, a full class larger than real compacts like the Ford Ranger. That said, the Frontier picks and chooses traits from compact and full-size trucks. In Crew Cab form, its interior closely rivals that of full-size pickups—so does its extensive feature set—yet in some of its most basic models, the Frontier is offered with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine.
Designers can't do much with the shape of a pickup; there's the cab and the bed, and the proportions are quite rigidly set. But with the Frontier, Nissan managed to fit in some carlike curves, along with styling cues that are in line with more luxurious SUVs. The large chrome-bar grille is sophisticated, while the beveled window frames and flared wheel wells give it a chunky, serious appearance that's also tough and charismatic. Inside, the design is quite straightforward, with inexpensive-looking materials but a tasteful layout.
There's no V-8 offered in the 2010 Nissan Frontier, but you're not likely to miss it. The 4.0-liter V-6 that's standard on most Frontiers and optional on some of them makes 261 horsepower, giving the Frontier strong acceleration and good passing punch. Towing capacity rates up to 6,500 pounds. Throws are rather long for the manual transmissions, but they work well, as does the five-speed automatic, which responds nicely to quick passing needs. We don't recommend the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the Frontier unless you live in a relatively level area and won't be driving too often with heavy loads. If you can live with its limited 152 hp, the four-cylinder gets fuel economy figures of 19 mpg city, 23 highway, while the V-6 ranges down to 14/19 mpg.