1997 Nissan Hardbody Pickup XE 2.4 KA24E from North America
It's a solid, likable workhorse, but it's a bit slow
- Misfiring issue that caused a wild goose chase of replacing fuses and O2 sensors. I don't know the details as it was owned by my dad at the time, but that's why I only mark it a 7/10 on reliability.
- A/C belt snapped, not the truck's fault.
- Worn pulley, coincides with the above fault.
- Just essential maintenance items other than that.
Besides the misfiring problem, this truck has been great to my father and now me.
It's funny because people seem to think these small Japanese trucks are small and sporty, like they're a Jeep alternative or something. They are not. These trucks are built in the traditional sense of the word "truck". They're hard-riding, rubbery-handling, tipsy little trucks that are built to work until they rust apart (which should be in a couple years here in the midwest). That's why I love it. I hate to beat a dead horse, but modern trucks, while useful for a lot of reasons, have lost the simplicity and ruggedness that makes these small trucks so enticing. This truck, aside from the modern stereo, A/C, and fuel injection, is a flashback to the 60s.
That being said, I do have a few complaints. The 2.4 is just adequate for the truck. It's not painfully slow like a Ranger, but it's not fast. It is however relatively torquey and has a surprisingly beefy exhaust note at full throttle. It also sucks down a ridiculous amount of fuel to make 140hp. I wouldn't be surprised if I was getting 18 MPG. What also doesn't help is the gearing. This truck is happiest at 55mph; anything above that will start to strain on the engine. On the highway in 5th gear at 70mph you're running about 3500-4000rpm. My only other complaint is the interior comfort, or lack thereof. Being a single cab with a bench means that the bench, while not only pretty punishing on longer trips, will throw you around more than the suspension. Other than that, I don't really have any more complaints.
I should also mention that I wouldn't buy another Nissan, not because of this truck, but because with the Frontier it seems to me that there was a significant quality drop. I've had experience with a 2002 Frontier and a 2007 Pathfinder, and both were and are fantastic to drive, but they're all on the verge of falling apart. The Pathfinder was especially heinous with the well-known transmission exploding habit they have. It also just felt cheap on the inside; the plastic they used was nearly GM-grade if not worse.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 14th August, 2017