By on March 12, 2019

2019 Nissan Frontier front quarter

2019 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab 4x4

4.0-liter V6, dual overhead cam (261 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 281 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm)

Five-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive

15 city / 21 highway / 17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

15.8 city / 11.5 highway / 13.9 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

16.8 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $35,185 US / $39,490 CAD

As Tested: $37,930 / $40,555 CAD

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $1,913 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Remember 2005? An old, ugly English prince marries for the second time. A hurricane devastates the U.S. Gulf Coast. Newlywed Chris signs a mortgage on a house and begins to prepare said house for the arrival of a newborn. And Nissan reveals the D40-chassis Frontier.

Fast forward. Charles wonders when his mom will give it up. New Orleans is still recovering. The house, the marriage, and the kid remain. And the 2019 Nissan Frontier continues on, relatively unchanged.

Stability is a good thing in life. Being able to rely upon trusted institutions is reassuring. Few passenger vehicles can be considered institutions – but the Frontier certainly qualifies.

2019 Nissan Frontier profile

Yes, the Frontier is old, and it shows. The interior, obviously save the touchscreen audio system and the appearance of USB ports, looks straight out of the Bush administration. The plastics are hard and unyielding. The orange backlighting and white-faced gauges remind of the bitchin’ tuner car I lusted over in my college days.

2019 Nissan Frontier gauges

I don’t care. That hard plastic wears forever. It’s easy to clean when it gets dirty. It simply works. The rear seats aren’t a place I’d want a full-grown adult to spend a 12-hour day, but the kids were comfortable enough in this crew cab.

2019 Nissan Frontier interior

The leather seats aren’t the plushest I’ve encountered, but I’d trade suppleness for durability in a truck. Really, I’d spec cloth were I to buy a Frontier, but I takes what they gives. A welcome surprise, considering the “classic” nature of this Frontier, was the heated front seats. Yes, I’m getting tired of this interminable winter.

2019 Nissan Frontier front seat 2019 Nissan Frontier rear seat

The Frontier didn’t exactly explore new frontiers in styling back in 2005, so this is a very familiar look. I could do without the graphics shouting the PRO-4X trim package – especially the tire treads on the hood. The Arctic Blue Metallic is a lovely hue, however. Again, I applaud anything that steps beyond the safe white, silver, and black choices.

2019 Nissan Frontier rear

Another throwback choice on this Frontier PRO-4X? 16-inch alloy wheels. The tall sidewalls help mitigate the stiffer springing that comes with the off-road focused package, as well as protect against the ever-present potholes. The ride on this Frontier is as good as I’ve experienced in the midsize truck class.

2019 Nissan Frontier front

The only real disappointment comes from the old-school drivetrain – fuel economy could be better. Most competitors have moved to six, eight, or even ten-speed automatic transmissions. This Frontier makes do with a five-speed auto mated to the 4.0-liter VQ-series V6, and I couldn’t quite manage to meet the EPA combined rating of 17 mpg in my testing.

But one doesn’t buy a pickup truck for hypermiling. A truck should be a tool, not a fashion accessory, and the tried-and-true Frontier makes a trusty tool. I know that I’d be happy with a Frontier in my driveway for a decade or more, simply because I know it will always perform when asked.

2019 Nissan Frontier center stack

I did flinch at the sticker on this well-loaded PRO-4X Crew Cab. Nearly $38k is a tough pill to swallow. But take a glance at the other trims offered. I’m convinced that a lightly-optioned Frontier is a bargain.

For example, the Frontier is still available with a four-cylinder and five-speed manual in extended King Cab trim, with two-wheel drive. So equipped, a cheapskate can drive away for $18,990. That’s only $1,200 more than a stripped Sentra compact – and the base Frontier can still haul.

I’d probably steer away from such a stripper – my Frontier of choice would be a 4×2 SV trim Crew Cab, again in this Arctic Blue Metallic, with an automatic and the V6. At $27,795, I’d have a truck that my family and I would never outgrow.

2019 Nissan Frontier rear quarter

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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54 Comments on “2019 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Review – The Stalwart...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    That sidewall looks amazing, you can’t get that good profile from skinny tires and huge rims, the huge rims can ruin an otherwise good vehicle, likewise they can hide a truly horrible design.

    Good looking truck, if GM still sold their full-size truck with updates from 2005 it would probably sell better than the mess on their lots now, certainly look less objectionable if nothing else.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    “The interior, obviously save the touchscreen audio system and the appearance of USB ports, looks straight out of the Bush administration.”

    As in Herbert Walker Bush era? Although it’s kinda neat to see a double DIN head unit in a 2019 vehicle, you could swap that out for an excellent Pioneer AVIC unit.

    A colleague at work picked up a leftover ’17 Pro4X Frontier, had it for less than a year and traded up to a Titan. He said it was a penalty box…too small, too tinny.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Best looking midsizer on the market IMO. I had a RWD 4.0L crew cab SV as a rental in Vegas randomly (free Enterprise upgrade) and I quite enjoyed it. VQ40+5spd is an unapolagetic brute: aggressive throttle, wallop of torque down low, sounds gruff. I loved it, I’m sure fuel economy was poor. With a stick shift, as sampled in an Xterra Pro-4X, it is all too easy to bark the tires going into 2nd.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Only “truck” engine left in the midsize class, for better or worse.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Yes and as a bonus most issues have been ironed out. I think the 2005-2010s had an issue with transmission cooler and the transmission. It was very catastrophic when it happened. Nissan I believe had some TSBs about it and the radiator was finally replaced in 2011 with a new and improved. I have a co-worker with a 2007 with about 180,000 miles and he needs a new transmission on it because of that issue. Vehicle looks good otherwise.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Yeah that coolant ATF contamination issue is very real on these, but entirely trivial to avoid. My generation of 4Runner can suffer the same problem: internal trans-cooler lines inside of the radiator perforate and the two fluids mix, killing the transmission if not caught quickly. Solution? Install an aftermarket standalone transmission cooler that bypasses the internal radiator one.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    When’s the last time anybody paid MSRP for a Frontier?

    The B&B likes to bit$h about the fact that the midsize trucks are 75% of the truck at 90% of the price well I’d guess that you could easily get a OTD price on a Frontier that was 75% of the OTD price on a similarly equipped Titan.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      I don’t see any screaming deals on Frontier. Cash on the hood does NOT match the age of the product. Nissan is reducing production to control inventory. The amount of discipline is surprising given Nissan’s past behavior to buy market share.

      You will find better value on midsize elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Oberkanone, rental companies normally buy a lot of Frontiers. In my area, a 2018 Crew Cab with under 20,000 miles and very clean sells for about 19-21,000 depending on the trim. These trucks were rarely a good deal when new. At times, they had 3,000 cash back but not in recent years. They must be bought slightly used, off the rental lot. Great value and much more of a truck than the Tacoma.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        ^^ This, you can get a much better more efficient truck for $38K then a Frontier, however I do like it’s rugged if not dated style

  • avatar
    jatz

    “Yes, the Frontier is old, and it shows.”

    Indeed… still a great greenhouse.

    Yank the rear headrests and you could see AOC attacking your 4 o’clock in a Model 3.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Great visibility and way too much engine for that primitive chassis, sign me up.

      BTW, no AOC in a Model 3. Last I saw, she was getting around NYC in an ancient Chrysler minivan and the internet weenie brigade was giving her grief for not riding the bus instead.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Oh… swiney swines… base king cab 4×2 jumps from 19K to 23K if you want AT.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Auto Trader I see lots of Crew Cab V6 4×4 automatics with heated seats and factory hitch advertised for under $30K before the haggling begins.

      You’ll pay much more for the privilege of driving something similar with a Toyota badge on it.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        Yeah, for the way I baby a vehicle I’d go Nissan over Toyota. But all that “Crew Cab V6 4×4 automatics with heated seats and factory hitch advertised for under $30K” stuff is for fancy people.

        I’d hope to do way better than that.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I’m just saying if you look at ATP on a Frontier (any trim) vs a Tacoma, this is a make work program for the good people of Canton, MS more than it is a profit center for the manufacturer.

          Oh and notice it is assembled in the USA unlike the Canyon/Colorado twins.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Oh and notice it is assembled in the USA unlike the Canyon/Colorado twins.”

            I pretty sure the GM trucks (for the NA market at least) are built in Missouri. Just a quick online check was showing only “1” VINs.

            Personally, I think this Nissan would be a hard sell over the Canyorado.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            PD, I’m all down with all of that. :-D

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Oops got confused by all the parts under a Colorado proudly stamped “Hecho in Mexico”.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            PrincipalDan

            You got Confused?

            I expect better from someone involved in the education of children. If you’re going to pawn yourself off as an educator you should spend some time to get your facts right.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Get the stick out of your rear Pete.

      • 0 avatar
        SirRaoulDuke

        I just found a 2019 PRO-4X with heated seats AND A STICK for $31k. That’s a lot of truck for a good price. Rear locker, all the goodies you need.

  • avatar
    Kerfuffle

    I’ve rented this truck several times and thoroughly enjoy driving it. A few downsides though. The V6 is powerful and THIRSTY! The only vehicle that makes my back hurt. Never tried the leather though. Handling is vague, to say the least, but you get used to it. Otherwise, it’s a phenomenol bargain.

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      A bargain if you are gettting it way below list. 37K would be mentally ill.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Kerfuffle….

      I owned one for a little over a year, 11′ thought that does not matter as they are all the same.

      I could only handle 100 miles at a time driving. The front seats, cloth at least, are second worst to the seats that were in the Honda Accord that I owned for one tank of gas.
      I can’t and won’t recommend this truck because of the seats and how horrible they are.

  • avatar
    bs3875

    I liked getting these as rentals over the Chevy Colorado’s hertz had. The frontier is a good size. The engine felt more responsive and the truck is fun to drive. Ride on the highway was pretty smooth and better than expected. Seating position is nice and allows for good visibility.

  • avatar
    JMII

    “That hard plastic wears forever”

    Correct – my 2002 Dakota SLT Quad Cab still looks like new on the inside. I credit the rock hard plastic and low rent cloth seats.

    As mentioned the Frontier’s weak points are fuel economy and price. Power wise it has more HP but less TQ then my Daks 4.7l V8, but the V8 makes its numbers at 1,000 RPMs lower. Looks to have more rear leg room then my Dak. I haven’t compared all the specs but size wise the Nissan looks very close to my Dak, where as all the newer mid-size trucks (Ranger / Colorado) seem bigger.

    One of the reason I have kept my Dakota so long is A) it works fine and B) its right sized for my needs. I can’t have a truck that is even an inch bigger as it wouldn’t fit in my garage with tow hitch installed. My Dodge gets similar crappy mileage (13/19) so its not worth switching.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Agreed on a “right sized” truck and is one of the reasons I hang onto my ’97 T100. I don’t really need it anymore for the most part, but it’s nice to have a right sized truck when you do need it.

  • avatar

    My mom had a 2005 base model that she loved and was pushing 200k miles with just regular maintenance. The only thing that had to be replaced was the driver window motor. She got rear ended by a Versa and it twisted the frame in the back. The Versa was hardly recognizable. It was immaculate inside and she got almost $12k back from the insurance which was amazing. She considered buying another one but got a great deal on a Forester and bought that instead.

    We had a 2006 Pathfinder (which is basically the same vehicle) and it also went 200k without any issues before my wife wanted to trade up. But it was also a good car. One feature that we miss is the fold flat passenger seat. It works perfectly for changing diapers.

    The Frontier is much roomier and more comfortable driving position than the Tacoma and the price is much more reasonable. You can’t find a Tacoma anywhere near what a similar Frontier costs. I’ve been looking at used Frontiers to replace my 1998 Isuzu Rodeo and you can get lightly used 4×4 SV’s and even some Pro-4xs for low to mid $20k. There is a Nissan dealer in Houston here with three Pro-4X manuals brand new asking $30k for them. They also have one loaded similar to the one tested and they are advertising it for $33k. It’s tempting but I’m trying to hold out one more year.

    https://www.keatingnissan.com/inventory/new-2019-nissan-frontier-pro-4x-4wd-4d-crew-cab-1n6ad0evxkn739666

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    PrincipalDan-
    “Henco in Mexico”.
    Only a few that frequent this site seem to care……

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      CKN….

      I care. I think it is important to NOT support Slave Labor Wages.
      Foreign cars are fine. THey play fair. They Pay first world wages.
      English, German, Japan made cars.

      PS- I think it is critically important that the US has a healthy MFG sector. After all, we are due to fix aggression somewhere over seas. Who else will do it? The only way to build the war machines and PAY FOR THEM is a healthy MFG sector.

      Dont care? Well, you arent paying attention. Double shame on you if you have kids and grands kids.

      Kill off america and civil society is doomed.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        redapple

        I grew up where there were massive amounts of manufacturing jobs-and they are all gone now. As a matter of fact-how much substantial manufacturing has left this country? PLENTY. Yet-the stock market is close to doubling, property ownership is at an all time high, and unemployment is at historic lows. I guess you and I define “glum” differently. The problem saddling the younger generation (not my kids-they were smarter than that) is student debt. And who’s fault is that?

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          If a nation does not ‘produce’ anything then how is wealth created?

          Financial services just redistribute already created wealth. As do government/social services.

          Extraction of natural resources and agriculture can create wealth. But manufacturing is still important.

          The reality is that the generation born 1930 to 1945 ‘had it made’. Little competition due to low birth rates, and an ever expanding economy.

          Early boomers as well.

          Late boomers and Gen-X suffered immensely. Many Gen-X’ers have never recovered and some studies show that their income/wealth is lower than that of the generation which followed them.

          Currently there are a number of factors working against the accumulation of wealth for the young. #1 is the rise of the ‘gig economy’. It is hard to plan for the future or even get a mortgage if you are working on contract, as a temp, etc. #2 is the relative wage stagnation. #3 is the decline of well paying ‘blue collar’ style manufacturing jobs. #4 is inflation, including rising costs of housing. #5 is the migration to the larger cities. #6 could be the massive increase in education fees over the past 20 years. And the fact that too many companies for no logical reason are engaged in ‘credentialism/degreeism’ requiring degrees for no reason. If your new hire/promotion is replacing someone who is retiring in the near future, does the job well. but does not have a degree, then why must the new person have to have a degree?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “If your new hire/promotion is replacing someone who is retiring in the near future, does the job well. but does not have a degree, then why must the new person have to have a degree?”

            I’ve said for years where is the EEOC on this?

          • 0 avatar
            James Charles

            Arthur,
            Simply put there are only two ways to create wealth, first is to create something that doesn’t exist and 2nd capital growth.

            The creation of something that doesn’t exist for wealth creation is found mostly in the service industries. Manufacturing represents 20% of this wealth creation. Of that 20% how much is old school and developing nation type manufacturing, like vehicle assembly, tee shirt manufacturing, TVs and producing cast iron frying pans?

            Searching for capital growth in shares, real estate etc is deemed easy, but riskier. You see many retirees who look at capital growth as a way to secure their future, but I think as we move forward we will need A greater proportion of money invested in creation (but not low tech, leave this to China).

            With money still sloshing around the world from QE by many nations has given the stocks markets an easy rise, inflated realestate and cheap loans to developing nations.

            Sooner or later this almost Ponzi system will crumble. Those who have been reliant on easy QE enabled capital growth will feel the pain.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I’ve had one as a rental as well (crew cab 4×4 which worked out well since this vacation involved staying in a mountain cabin) and enjoyed it.

    To my eyes the styling of this truck along with the first generation Titan Pro 4X has aged well.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    “That hard plastic wears forever. It’s easy to clean when it gets dirty. It simply works”

    Except in the case of the Frontier, it really doesn’t. Mine would scratch if you looked at it funny and the B pillar trim looked like the surface of the moon from the seatbelt buckle hitting it when it retracted. Seriously, the console plastic got gouged from the hose of a vacuum moving across it. There is merit in hard plastic, as you describe in a truck, but this is just cheap.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    The orange dashlighting, the only criticism I had of my 1988 Hardbody, is still present. Shame.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    It has a nice rugged look to it.

    It could thrive as the next Nissan Taliban, taking back the Afghan deserts and mountains from the HiLux.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    See the opening photo of the truck with its wheels slightly turned? My experience with a Frontier as a rental tells me this is full steering deflection. The Frontier had, by far, the largest turning circle on any vehicle I’ve ever driven, though, admittedly, I’ve never driven a Kenworth or a city bus.

    Still, I like the idea of a basic, no frills truck. Not the high-zoot model you guys tested though.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    Couldn’t manage to match 17 mpg combined? Sheesh. That’s bad. 4wd or not, sub 17 mpg is brutal in this day and age for something this size.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      In all honesty my 2007 Honda Ridgeline was getting 17-18 mpg as well. No more, no less. Of course it was a more sophisticated vehicle but didn’t have Nissan’s off-road and towing capabilities.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    All these replies and nobody mentions the worst steering ever put in a vehicle. My brother has one of these underachievers, a 2014, and when I first drove it, I could not believe how utterly awful the steering was. Like trying to stir a vat of corn syrup on a with a canoe paddle. You have to anticipate a corner in advance even rattling aeound town. Just dreadful.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    All these replies and nobody mentions the worst steering ever put in a vehicle. My brother has one of these underachievers, a 2014, and when I first drove it, I could not believe how utterly awful the steering was. Like trying to stir a vat of corn syrup with a canoe paddle. You have to anticipate a corner in advance even rattling around town. Just dreadful.

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    I learned years ago that, if you need a truck, you need 4wd. Otherwise, like youthful me, you better have a good friend with 4wd and a tow strap.

  • avatar
    suburbanokie

    I had an ’07 SE Crew Cab 4WD with a 6-speed manual. Loved that truck but WAY too tight with two car seats. Sold it to CarMax 2 years ago and saw they listed it at about $500-$700 more than what I paid for it in 2010.

  • avatar
    Dan C

    had it’s cousin the xterra pro 4x. what a pos. think paint, axel hop like a kangaroo and a clutch that burned out at 20k. as my dad use to say, cheap sh*t, is still sh*t.

  • avatar
    marthawilliam

    I’ve had one as a rental as well (crew cab 4×4 which worked out well since this vacation involved staying in a mountain cabin) and enjoyed it.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Was looking very seriously at a Frontier or Pathfinder until I read up on the trans cooler issue. Ended up with a Maxima, but missed the pistion-ring issue on those and got an oil-burner, never another Nissan.


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