Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
good highway ride
strong from a stop
drives better than expected
Car and Driver
The 2008 Nissan Frontier offers performance that is to be expected of a rough-and-tumble mid-size truck.
The 2008 Nissan Frontier is available with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that creates 152 hp coupled with 171 pound-feet of torque, “making it a decent choice only for those who need a low-cost, light-duty work truck,” Edmunds says.
The optional engine is a 4.0-liter V-6 that builds up 261 hp and 281 pound-feet of torque. ConsumerGuide makes note of the fact that the automatic V-6 "kicks down quickly for good midrange passing punch." Car and Driver says, “the Frontier stands out in its segment, thanks to its excellent 261-hp V-6 engine and its stellar steering and on-road handling.” Automobile says the V-6 Frontier “launches the 4x4 Crew Cab from 0 to 60 mph in just over eight seconds.”
A five-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed manual transmission are both available on the 2008 Frontier, depending on the trim level and engine size. Edmunds says the six-cylinder’s “automatic transmission delivers perfectly timed shifts whether you're maneuvering in traffic or flinging the truck around in the sand.”
Fuel economy ranges from 19/23 mpg with the four-cylinder manual versions to 14/19 mpg with the big V-6, automatic Frontier. The V-6 engine is also available in a four-wheel-drive option, and as Edmunds says, "Frontier 4x4s are capable off-road, thanks to a maximum 10.1 inches of ground clearance and plenty of suspension travel."
The 2008 Nissan Frontier’s ride is also better than that of most pickup trucks, and ConsumerGuide calls the ride "absorbent," pointing out that passengers notice bumps, but they don't jar like they do in some off-road vehicles. Car and Driver also points out that the 2008 Nissan Frontier’s “structure is extremely solid,” and “the steering is tight and accurate.” Edmunds reports that “ride quality on pavement is surprisingly good for a compact/midsize pickup truck, and the steering is tight and communicative.”
The 2008 Nissan Frontier has unexpectedly reasonable performance with the optional V-6 engine; four-cylinders are best left to work-truck duty.