By on April 8, 2019

2019 Nissan Frontier front quarter

“Change is the only constant in life,” said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who probably didn’t envision the remarkable lifespan of the second-generation Nissan Frontier.

Debuting in 2004 as a 2005 model, the second-gen Frontier soldiers on as a rugged and more affordable option in the growing midsize field. But it’s this growing field that belatedly spurred Nissan into action. A new Frontier is on the way, sources claim, bearing improvements demanded of it by a populace that now has access to things like the Ford Ranger. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2018

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.

(Read More…)

By on October 25, 2018

2019 Ford Ranger at MAP - Image: FordJust ahead of the launch of a new Ford Ranger, production of which began earlier this month, midsize trucks’ share of the overall U.S. pickup truck market is up to a respectable nine-year high.

Thanks to significant year-over-year improvements from the two top sellers in the segment plus meaningful increases from the third and fourth-ranked midsize pickups, category-wide volume has grown by more than 60,000 units during the first nine months of 2018. Compared with the same period in 2017, volume in the much larger full-size pickup truck segment hasn’t even grown by half that much.

If you’re a pickup truck buyer, you remain far more likely to acquire a full-size F-150, Silverado, Ram, Sierra, Tundra, or Titan than a Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier, Canyon, or Ridgeline. But the slice of the pie afforded to the five-strong midsize sector is above 18 percent for the first time since 2009.

Could the new Ford Ranger push midsize trucks over the one-fifth mark for the first time since 2006? (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2018

Image: Nissan

John Kerry was in the news a lot when the current-generation Nissan Frontier debuted in the United States. The TV series 24 was a hot item, CNN’s rating were through the roof, social media wasn’t really a thing, and your author sported long, flowing locks.

Suffice it to say that the Frontier is old, and 2004 was better than today. Still, Nissan apparently feels no pressing need to revamp its little pickup, preferring to see it serve as the entry point of the entire midsize pickup segment. The benefit for buyers is that the mainly unchanged 2019 Frontier keeps its bargain basement floor price. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2018

2017 Nissan Frontier King Cab - Image: Nissan

With an extra selling day compared to the March that came before it, last month saw U.S. new vehicle buyers continue doing what they’ve done for years. By that, we mean snap up trucks and SUVs like it’s going out of style. (There’s no indication it’s going out of style.)

According to figures from Autodata, truck and SUV sales rose 16.3 percent in the U.S., year over year, while traditional passenger cars continued to fade from the minds of new vehicle buyers. That segment declined 9.2 percent, year over year.

Monthly sales figures can be fickle, which is apparently the reason for General Motors’ switch to quarterly sales reports starting next month, but we prefer receiving data more often. And last month’s data paints a very different picture than February’s. Leaving SUVs aside, which pickups soared in March? (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2018

Ford F-250 Lariat

As we told you earlier this afternoon, two of the Detroit Three automakers posted significant year-over-year U.S. sales decreases last month. Ford Motor Company and General Motors both saw American sales volume sink by 6.9 percent. While passenger cars both low-end and premium can usually take the blame for any sales decrease, general wisdom says buyers will gravitate in equal numbers towards SUVs, crossovers, and trucks, cancelling out most, if not all, of the sales exodus.

This isn’t always true. In February’s case, Ford can lay some of the blame at the foot of its best-selling crossover, while GM can finger its full-size truck lineup. Ford Escape sales sank 23.9 percent in February, year over year — a loss making up roughly three-quarters of Ford’s missing vehicles. As customers await new versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the aged models brought in fewer buyers than the same month in 2017 — 16.3 and 25.3 percent less, respectively. Like Ford, that’s roughly three-quarters of GM’s missing February volume.

A 15 percent year-over-year decline at the Ram brand — itself awaiting a new half-ton — brings home the importance of pickups in 2018. (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2018

Nissan Navara

The other day, we learned of Ford’s new Ranger Raptor, a machine unveiled in Thailand with only the slightest of indications it may be sold in America. To not do so would be asinine in this author’s opinion, given the F-150 Raptor’s halo and the fact that folks can stroll into a Chevy or Toyota dealer and easily pick up a Colorado ZR2 or Tacoma TRD Pro.

Adding fuel to the midsized fire are comments garnered by Motoring in Australia, alluding to Nissan’s interest in developing a Raptor fighter of its own. T’would be based on the Navara, of course, a truck not available here.

Is it time for Nissan USA to take the plunge and bring the Navara here? Or is it better off continuing to pump out examples of the proven but older-than-Methuselah midsize Frontier?

(Read More…)

By on September 13, 2017

Nissan Mexico NP300 "New Frontier" - Image: nissan“The dedicated employees here in Canton look forward to building
the next generation of one of the best pickup trucks in America.”
– Steve Marsh, VP Manufacturing, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant

Nissan has announced that a next-generation Nissan Frontier will be built in Canton, Mississippi, the same plant that’s been building the nearly 13-year-old second-gen Frontier since 2012.

But the platform on which the next Frontier will be based? And the precise timing of the unveiling and on-sale date?

Still unknown. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

2017 Nissan Frontier S

There’s something innately endearing about a small pickup truck. Like an overeager puppy who yaps and seems to bounce instead of walk, fun-sized pick-‘em-ups just appear to be excited all the time. Come on! Come on! Let’s work! Let’s play! Are you ready? Can we play? Huh? Huh? Are you ready? How about now? To me, that’s the soundtrack of a small truck.

Nissan has been a large player in the small truck market ever since Methuselah was a boy, with the Hardbody (what a great name for a truck, by the way) finding itself on the nation’s gravel roads in a whole bunch of trims. In the Great White North, they even used the fantastic Hustler name. Hardbody Hustler. Tremendous.

(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Image: Toyota

Nearly two and a half years since General Motors increased the number of offerings in the midsize pickup truck sector by two-thirds, and nine months since Honda revitalized its unique Ridgeline offering, we’re once again in need of new midsize pickup truck nameplates.

America’s pickup truck category began 2017 with a bang, growing by more than 7 percent and easily outpacing an industry that declined by more than 1 percent in the first one-sixth of 2017.

Yet virtually all of that growth — fully 90 percent — was fuelled not by midsize pickups but by the stalwarts: full-size trucks.  (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2017

2016 Nissan Frontier, Image: Nissan

European drivers have a problem. Motorists who own Nissan Navara pickups keep finding their trips cut short by an annoying noise: the sound of their trucks splitting in half.

So many Navaras — sold in North America as the Nissan Frontier — are snapping in two due to extreme frame rust that owners are pressuring governments to do something about. Check out these photos if you think it’s an isolated problem. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

2016 Nissan Frontier

Some people have one mid-life crisis; I’ve had a series of them, rearing their ugly heads in widely disparate manners, off and on over the past 20 years. In fact, I’m now having midlife crises that are repeats of previous crises.

Example: After a fairly successful knee surgery last month, I decided to buy some new BMX bikes and go riding again, the same way I did back in 2001 or thereabouts. Last time, my partners in this ill-advised venture were a bunch of Bolivian pro BMX racers whose constant orbits around my house combined with the glossy presence of a CL55 AMG and an Audi S8 in my driveway to convince my neighbors that I was involved with the cartels. This time, my main homeboy is my seven-year-old son, newly mounted-up on a watermelon-green Sunday Primer 16 skatepark bike.

The last time I got this serious about riding, I bought a Nissan Frontier. This time I’ve thought long and hard about doing something similar. True, I have a very nice Tahoe Z71 as part of the dowry from my recent marriage, but driving anything as profoundly elephantine as a Tahoe depresses the hell out of me. What to do?

(Read More…)

By on October 25, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS

Mercedes-Benz unveiled two concepts for its mid-sized pickup, dubbed the X-Class, in Stockholm, Sweden today. The event was live-streamed across the globe and, at thirteen minutes in, two gussied up Nissans took the stage.

(Read More…)

By on August 23, 2016

2016 Nissan Frontier

At a recent Nissan truck and SUV event in Carmel, a senior Nissan rep indicated there is zero chance the Smyrna, Tennessee based operation will alter its winning mid-size pickup formula.

When asked about the prospects of a unibody Frontier, Dan Passe, Senior Manager of Nissan Brand Communications, laughingly responded, “We don’t normally comment on future product, but a unibody Frontier is not happening.”

Honda is encountering strong demand for its recently launched, second-generation unibody Ridgeline, but Nissan will not follow Honda down the dedicated lifestyle truck path.

(Read More…)

By on August 8, 2016

2017 Honda RidgelineMidsize pickup truck sales shot up 29 percent in the United States in July 2016, enough to drive the sub-sector’s share of the overall pickup category up three points to 17 percent.

Indeed, without the gains produced by the midsize truck sector, overall U.S. pickup truck volume would have flatlined in July on declining sales of the two top-selling truck lines, Ford’s F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado. Moreover, without the midsize truck sector’s additional 8,973 July sales, total U.S. new vehicle sales volume would have risen by less than one-tenth of one percent.

Instead, because of a dramatic increase in sales of the second-generation Honda Ridgeline in its first month of availability, another huge uptick in Nissan Frontier sales, and continued growth from GM’s Colorado/Canyon duo, pickup truck sales grew four percent and the American auto industry reported nearly 10,000 extra sales in July 2016, year-over-year. (Read More…)

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