Performance and Handling:
The Nissan Frontier is built on the company's F-Alpha platform, which is shared with the Titan, Armada, Pathfinder, and Xterra. This F-Alpha architecture gives the Frontier a solid foundation that can be tuned for hauling cargo, traversing rough trails and for providing a comfortable ride around town or at expressway speeds.
The Nismo off-road model is as capable at highway speeds as it was driving through nearly two feet of rushing water flowing from creeks. The Nismo's trail capabilities include a 31.5-degree approach angle. Technology further enhances its worthiness off the beaten trail. Hill Descent Control walks the vehicle down steep descents. Hill Start Assist holds your position when you lift your foot off the brake while heading uphill. Limited-slip traction control helps redirect engine torque to the non-slipping drive wheels on low traction surfaces. It operates on the rear wheels on 2WD Nismo models and on all four wheels on 4WD models.
On the road, Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control can help the driver avoid accidents. It's set up to allow a little more sideslip than some electronic stability control systems. Similar electronic stability control systems from other manufacturers often intervene too quickly to suit advanced drivers, but Nissan's VDC reminds us of the system in Porsches, effectively helping the driver maintain control without feeling it has taken over.
The speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering provides good feedback. The Frontier was stable and sure even when driven aggressively around curves. The four-wheel disc brakes use big brake rotors for efficient cooling in repeated hard use.
The Frontier's 4.0-liter V6 engine is rated at 265 horsepower at 5600 rpm, which makes it the most powerful V6 in the mid-size pickup class. It provides 45 more horsepower than the largest engine available in the Chevrolet Colorado, 29 more horsepower (and while using regular fuel) than the V6 in the Toyota Tacoma, and 5 more horsepower than even the strongest V8 available in the Dodge Dakota.