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

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2018 nissan frontier king cab s 42

“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.

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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?

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that