Frontier

August 23, 2001
Filed under Trailer Reviews

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Nissan’s new Frontier pickup, available as a regular, crew or King Cab, features all-new
body styling and upgrades of interest to performance-oriented consumers. The Frontier’s
provocative new exterior, created at Nissan Design International Inc. in La Jolla,
California, offers a simple, tough, modern “industrial” look with a powerful front grille
and bumper, tall hoodline, oversized headlights and large fender flares (featuring visible
divot holes and rivet-type caps). Additionally, the fog lamps and tailgate are new, and a
tailgate lock is standard. The Desert Runner is among Nissan’s special-equipment models
available this year. It’s built on the heavier-duty four-wheel-drive (4WD) chassis, which
gives the 2WD Desert Runner the same rigidity, ride height, ground clearance and rugged
look as the 4WD model. Standard equipment on the Desert Runner is the 3.3-liter V-6 engine,
and, at roughly 500 pounds less weight than a 4WD King Cab, the model offers the best
power-to-weight ratio of any Frontier pickup, according to the company. It is also equipped
with larger tires, fender flares, skid plates for the engine and fuel tank, a full-size
spare tire and the four-channel, three-sensor, four-wheel anti-lock braking system. In
addition, all Desert Runners are King Cabs and are distinguished by special badging. Nissan
has a history of providing firsts in this market segment, and this year marks the first
factory-installed supercharger in a compact truck. The Frontier supercharger is designed to
operate under “boost” when there’s a need for extra power, but during normal driving, the
engine operates like a naturally-aspirated V-6. According to Nissan, this helps maintain
good overall fuel economy with power on demand. Supercharging the engine provides 40 more
horses and 46 more lb-ft of torque, but towing capacity remains the same. Combined with the
four-speed automatic transmission, the approved tow rating for all V-6 models is 5,000
pounds. Frontiers equipped with the V-6 and five-speed manual transmission are able to tow
trailers up to 3,500 pounds. Changes inside the Frontier include an instrument cluster with
reversible gauges, new seat fabric and steering wheel. Factory-installed leather-appointed
seating is optionally available on some models. For improved tunes and news reports, a new
lineup of audio systems, including an available in-dash six-disc CD changer, has been added
to the option list.

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