Term limits don’t apply to the new car industry. If they did, the 2017 Nissan Frontier you see here wouldn’t be a dead-ringer for the 2005 Nissan Frontier that hit dealer lots during George W. Bush’s first term.
A lot has changed since 2005. But not the Frontier. Sure, it’s up for a redesign, but the current Frontier persists, and, frankly, it’s a testament to the design and engineering work Nissan did a decade and a half ago. At $37,000, the 2017 Frontier Pro-4X we tested recently represents the cream of the Nissan mid-size pickup crop. That’s big coin, but it’s still well under what you’d pay for an equivalent Toyota Tundra TRD Off Road or Chevrolet Colorado Z71.
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The Frontier still has some life left in it. Consumers continue to snap them up—they’re rarely discounted and used ones sell for almost as much as a brand new one. It’s distinctly dated, but it still holds plenty of appeal. Here’s a look at what you need to know about the 2017 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X.
Behind the times, but big on value
Don’t look for blind-spot monitors, automatic emergency braking, ventilated seats, an 8-speed automatic transmission, or Apple CarPlay in the Nissan Frontier. Even our fully loaded Pro-4X was light on luxuries aside from standard navigation—but you won’t get as many features for the $37,000 as-tested price in the Frontier’s rivals. Pickups are expensive, even smaller ones.
What the Pro-4X does include, however, are off-road goodies like Bilstein shocks, knobby Hankook Dynapro AT/M rubber, a locking rear differential, skid plates, a spray-on bedliner, and even a first aid kit.
Our crew cab tester started at $34,290 including a $900 destination charge. Another $2,100 brought heated leather seats, a power moonroof, and a gigantic roof rack. Nissan charges a silly $120 for floor mats and our tester was swathed in gaudy, $465 exterior graphics. Pass.
Mid-size pickups are plenty big, but the 205-inch-long Frontier is more than half a foot shorter than its rivals. That’s because, back in 2005, 205 inches was about the average length of a mid-size truck. It’s also almost two inches narrower than the Colorado and the Tacoma.
That’s hardly an advantage when it comes to interior room since the Nissan is a bit tighter in every dimension, especially our tester’s cramped back seat. But when it comes to back country four-wheeling on roads that may simply be too narrow for a large truck, the Nissan can squeeze where its siblings cannot.