Ace of Base: 2019 Nissan Frontier King Cab S 4×2
The old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to household plumbing, your kid’s Lego creations, and the squeaking ventilation fan in my Dodge Charger. It also applies to the Nissan Frontier pickup, apparently.
Seriously. Even though this thing is almost old enough to vote, Nissan is selling them by the boatload.
Compared to this time last year, sales are up 5.4 percent through the end of November. And this isn’t a case of miniscule numbers skewing the percentages, either. Nissan found 72,154 buyers for the Frontier in the first eleven months of this year. That’s more than their own Versa; more than the Pathfinder, too. It’s within a shout of the Murano, fer chrissakes.
For 2019, the Frontier actually gains equipment while keeping its price at a rock-bottom $18,990. As we learned last week with the Ford Fiesta, one of the cadre of sedans Ford is soon taking to the woodshed, long-in-the-tooth models sometimes benefit in the kit department thanks to a company eager to get just that much more life out of the thing. Or they’ve an abundance of said item in the parts bin.
Whatever the reason, it’s the customers who come up all aces. This year, Nissan’s small pickup earns the 7.0-inch color audio display touchscreen, a unit once reserved for snazzy machines in the company’s showroom. They’ve also expanded the availability of the Cayenne Red shade shown here, so one can drive a base Frontier without looking like they work for Herb’s Drywall.
It is a rear-wheel drive truck at this price, of course, powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four making 152 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. Stirring the pot is a five-speed manual, whose baseball bat of a shifter sticks up out of the floor just like it did in the venerable Hardbody. In fact, Nissan is one of the few manufacturers to endow their pickups with a manual transmission pretty much across the entire range, with both King and Crew Cabs in trims ranging from S to Pro-4X allowing drivers to row their own gears.
Air conditioning is standard on the base truck, if you’re wondering, as is Bluetooth gear and cruise control. I’d check the latter with my own two eyes at the dealer, just to be sure, as manual transmission models are sometime exempt from controlling the cruise. No asterisks appear next to this feature on Nissan’s website, so I’ll assume it is present on all models, including this base truck.
Whenever a manufacturer introduces a new or refreshed pickup, there is guaranteed to be carping from the peanut gallery about how trucks are so big these days and why doesn’t anyone make trucks like they used to?
Newsflash: someone does. You’re looking at it in today’s Ace of Base.
Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.
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- BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
- VoGhost Another ICEbox? Pass. Where are you going to fill your oil addiction when all the gas stations disappear for lack of demand? I want a pickup that I can actually use for a few decades.
- Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
- GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
- Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you. Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers.
Bonus point for Nissan showing this truck towing a race prepped old school Datsun Z on their website. Size wise I wonder how this compares to my Dakota. Its HP and TQ are not that far off my current 4.7l V8. Sadly MPG are about the same too with a last decade 5 speed auto.
Big fail because of the awful gas mileage . Stats say 19 mpg average for this roll up window blast into the past , with mid size truck mileage 20 mpg for my 2006 extra cab 2wd Toyota SR5 with all options . I average about 21-23 and 26-27 on long highway runs . Probably going to trade it in next year for a Corolla hatch . If I need a truck I'm looking at what my neighbor bought this year to replace his aging Explorer - used first generation Honda Ridgeline . It won't sell anyone on gas mileage , but is all wheel drive and over built to get 300K miles easily .