2011 Nissan Frontier LS 4.0 from North America
Close but no cigar
I have had the car a little over a year now, and with 28,000 miles (100 highway miles per day commuting) nothing has gone wrong yet.
Looking for a midsize truck, I compared the Frontier and Tacoma. I wanted a fully loaded truck, and to my surprise, neither manufacturer offered DVD/Navigation and a backup camera in their midsized truck. Toyota offered a backup camera integrated with the rear view mirror, but I found the display too small for my eyesight.
Toyota did not offer a leather interior option. The Nissan Frontier did have heated leather seats in their top of the line Frontier, and since that option was a prerequisite for me, I went with the Nissan. The interior is fair, but as with my Altima, Nissan could take a lesson from other manufacturers on seat comfort, which seems to be too stiff and uncomfortable for many riders. My wife refused to take any trips approaching 1-hour in the Altima, and has yet to sit in the Frontier (I am OK with that). The interior could use one or two accessory outlets for the rear seating.
Since I needed the truck for occasional light towing of a trailer, I really wanted a backup camera. That feature in my Yukon has really spoiled me. Additionally, my sense of direction really sucks, and the navigation feature in my Altima and Yukon has spoiled me there as well. So, I invested $1,100 in an after market stereo/DVD/Nav system with the backup camera feature to replace the factory stereo system, and all is well with the world... except:
(I will be polite here to keep the review from being deleted). The turning radius on this vehicle is horrendous!! I have a circle drive at the house, and every time I leave, I have to make a 3 point turn to navigate the circle without running over the wife's plants! (something the Yukon handles with absolute ease!) I am constantly having to make 3-point turns in parking lots and I am scared... a lot... if I have to make a U-turn in a 4-lane highway (just forget it on a 2-lane highway). The Altima had a bad turning radius as well (not as good as the Yukon), and I was always told it was because it was a front wheel drive. I now suspect it is a Nissan issue more than anything.
The truck does seem to have a respectable amount of power, although the engine response to accelerator pedal movement seems quite sluggish. This appears to me to be a function of the way the transmission shifting system is set up. You have to be very aggressive with the pedal to get the thing to respond the way I would like it to. I think to get the truck to have respectable gas mileage, they tuned it to keep the transmission in a higher gear than normal.
On that note, if I drive it like grandma on my daily 100-mile highway, I can average 20 MPG on a tank of gas. If I get the least bit aggressive, that average will drop to 18 MPG. What little towing I do, is over short distances, so I don't have an accurate account of what that gas-mileage would be, but my suspicion is that it would be 15 MPG or less. I would have liked a few more gallon capacity in the tank (17-gallon I think), because the range is only about 300 miles, and I would much prefer 400+. Not sure what the competition has in this department.
The truck appears to be built on a solid frame, and came with a durable sprayed in bed liner. The bed is equipped with a nice rail system with cleats for tying off loads, which has come in handy. As with the black paint job on my Altima, the paint on this truck seems to scratch quite easily. This may be just because the black shows scratches so well though.
It is a crying shame that what would be a decent truck has be ruined by such a bad turning radius issue. I have talked 3 coworkers out of buying the truck for just that reason. I am reminded daily of the issue, and will continue to explore other options. I have yet to find a manufacturer of midsized trucks that offers a fully loaded package comparable to the full sized models. I cannot fit a full sized truck into many of the parking spots in my parking garage at work (oh yeah, another daily reminder of the Frontier turning radius deficit), so don't even go there.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 29th June, 2012