With the Ford Ranger now discontinued, and no standard-cab, short-bed version of the 2013 Nissan Frontier on offer, there's really nothing left of what we knew as compact trucks. Although the Frontier is mid-size, it's right-size for those who want to own a pickup in the city, as it splits the difference between old-school compact trucks and today's smallest full-sizers.
Getting into the Frontier doesn't require quite as much of a climb, and the supportive front seats offer a pleasant, upright driving position. Visibility is good, too.
In King Cab versions, the Frontier sports a pair of rear-hinged access doors twinned to the full-size front doors. That opens up the area behind the front seats to some more cargo, and technically, to a pair of jump seats that flip up against the cabin when not in use. But these seats are just too tiny for regular use--even for kids--and we recommend you step up to the Crew Cab if you need space in back. There you get four full-size doors plus a back seat large enough for smaller adults--three in theory, but there's simply not enough elbow-and-shoulder room.
Hauling 'stuff' is the Frontier's forte as a truck, of course, and there it delivers, with its stout frame essentially inherited from the larger Titan. Beds for the Frontier are six feet long at most, but again, those with a normal-size garage or those who live in the city won't want much longer.
There's some innovation right where it counts, too: 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.