Ace of Base: 2018 Nissan Frontier King Cab S 4×2

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

“Hang on a second,” you shout, hurling canned food and stale eclairs in my general direction. “Didn’t this series already cover the Frontier?” Yes, dear reader, it did… for the 2017 model year.

There used to be a Chinese buffet restaurant in the capital city of Newfoundland famous for offering meh options at midday, only to trot out much better versions of the same dishes in the evening. They charged a little bit more after sundown, naturally, but not that much more.

It appears the Nissan product team has been eating at the Golden Phoenix on Kenmount Road, then.

When I wrote about the 2017 Frontier, I deemed it a worthy base model truck but not an Ace of Base winner in the truest sense. I felt the $1,300 Preferred Equipment package – bringing A/C, cruise, and a radio – was a necessary addition. Now, for 2018, Nissan includes all of these features at a modest price increase.

I’d love to imagine Nissan HQ read my words and took them to heart, but it’s far more likely they simply surveyed the content of other base model midsize trucks (*ahem Colorado ahem*) and made their equipment changes accordingly. Now, those who sign the note on a base Frontier will find themselves in possession of all those features mentioned above, plus Bluetooth and a backup camera. Siri Eyes-Free and a 5.0-inch color display are along for the ride as well.

For all these new goodies, Nissan is charging an extra $600, bringing the Frontier King Cab S 4×2 to an MSRP of $18,990. That’s still the cheapest new truck in America, by the way, for those keeping track. The 2018 Chevy Colorado stickers for an even twenty grand, same as last year.

Four angry squirrels still live under the hood and behind the chrome grille, churning out 152 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. Four valves per cylinder separate it from the agricultural power mills that were unceremoniously dumped in small base trucks for years. In the base model, the squirrels spin their exercise wheel for a five-speed manual transmission. Naturally, the cheapest Frontier is a rear-wheel-drive truck.

Towing is rated at 3,790 lbs, well within the range of a utility trailer or even a small camper. Strangely, the truck itself is listed as weighing almost exactly the same amount – 3,785 lbs.

The Frontier, to these jaundiced eyes, has a good and honest squared-off look to it, endowed with the right amount of fender flare and upright headlamps. It is not a truck I’d be afraid to get dirty, even on day two of ownership. More than a few other trucks, including a midsizers or two, are imbued with LED mascara and such. The Frontier still fits into its denim jacket from years ago, and it looks alright.

Several new and welcome features at a modest price increase that still undercuts the competition? Suddenly, it’s evening at the Golden Phoenix, and the owners are trotting out the good stuff.

[Image: Nissan]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options, is priced in Freedom Dollars, and is absent of fees and destination. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 26 comments
  • Syncro87 Syncro87 on Oct 05, 2017

    This truck is a really good deal in base form at this price. It's really too bad that you can't get the 4 door version for a grand or two more. A base, manual, 4 cylinder small truck would work for me if I could reasonably sit someone in the back seat on occasion. The base crew cab is something like $5,300 more money. I'm probably in the brown diesel manual wagon club, but I'd think there is a market for this exact truck but in a crew cab...make it $20,990 list vs. $19,990. The risk to Nissan would be next to nil to offer something like this. The parts are already there.

  • DownUnder2014 DownUnder2014 on Nov 24, 2017

    I would happily buy an S 4x2 Dual-Cab or the PRO-4X 4x4 in Manual... Still, $24,300 seems a bit expensive for an upgrade from the S King Cab...I mean, you do get an extra three seats, two extra doors, an extra cog (in the Manual) and two more cylinders...but does that all cost an extra $5,310?

  • Daniel J I love my mazda 6. It's getting harder and harder to drive it around where I live as municipalities fail to repair roads. SUVs are just easier to drive with all of the potholes.
  • 1995 SC On the plus side, I found a sedan I want to buy
  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.