If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?
For the last several years, this has been Nissan’s approach with their still-popular midsize truck. The Nissan Frontier has been around for almost 20 years now, and it really hasn’t changed that much in that time.
The Frontier exploded on the scene in 1999, hailed as a four-door compact truck. It was essentially a midsize truck, where it remains today. Nissan seems to be satisfied with where the Frontier is currently, and don’t seem to care about the gains made by competitors such as the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma.
For those who were hoping for a redesign in 2018, or at least just some similarities to the European version (the Navara,) you’re going to be a little disappointed. The 2018 Nissan Frontier is more of the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Frontier has never been about leading its class in any one category, but it is all about doing everything well. In that sense, the 2018 version is a perfect continuation with what has been working — and a few of the things that could benefit from a change.
The Exterior — 2018 Nissan Frontier
If you’re familiar with the Frontier over the last few years, you’re familiar with the 2018 model. There are no changes.
The truck’s front end retains the now-dated design. The edges are curved, and combined with a front grille that lacks the imposing stature that many other larger trucks offer. The headlight assembly is similar to that of a sporty sedan’s and the air intakes and fog lights draw no attention whatsoever. Again, if you’re into the sleek, clean look, you’re likely into this.
The sides of the Frontier offer zero detailing to speak of, reinforcing the minimal aesthetic that appeals to Frontier enthusiasts. This can of course be dressed up a bit with side step rails, and a roof rack as well. In fact, to me, Frontier’s seem naked without them.
The tail end offers a nice bookend to the Frontier’s target look, with a bare tailgate that works well with the shorter design of the bed, which is also a favorite of Frontier fans.
For those who are looking for a more unique look, there is a Midnight Edition that actually sounds pretty solid. The package includes a number of back details, including a gloss-black grille, 18-inch gloss-black aluminum-alloy wheels, semi-gloss-black step rails, body-color front and rear bumpers, black outside rearview mirrors and door handles, black badging, and even some optional Midnight Edition floor mats.
The package is available in Magnetic Black, Gun Metallic and Glacier White.
The Interior — 2018 Nissan Frontier
The cabin of the Frontier has never been all that impressive, or inclined to constantly include the latest in technology and styling trends. Simplicity is favored above all else, which certainly holds appeal for some, but not all. As you guessed, the 2018 Frontier is back at it again with the minimal approach.
Honestly, there really isn’t anything to note. The seating is comfortable enough, with power and manual options. The style of the dash and interior won’t catch your eye in any way, but it also doesn’t feel dated. It’s just…there, and that’s okay.
Thankfully, the 2018 Nissan Frontier retains that same amount of surprising legroom, which has always been one of its advantages. You never feel crammed in a Frontier, even if you’re sitting in the back next to another passenger. Your line of vision feels comfortable as well.
As I mentioned earlier, the Midnight Edition does offer some tweaking of the style inside, or you can choose to go with the all-white instrument gauges instead. A center control console controls a stereo system with all the normal features, including auxiliary plug-ins, Bluetooth support, and GPS with driver assist if you feel so inclined.
There are also a few USB ports and 12V ports thrown in as well, and a decent amount of internal storage. Passenger and driver each have their own climate settings too.
The Performance — 2018 Nissan Frontier
The performance level of the Frontier has always been decent, and that isn’t going away with the new version. The 2018 Frontier offers a combination of speed and towing power, while providing a smooth ride that makes the truck just as apt for long drives as it does hauling your boat to the lake.
The base engine will consist of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. If that’s not enough for you, an optional upgraded engine boasts a 4.0-liter V6 with 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of twist. Both engines options come with a standard six-speed manual transmission, although you can elect to go with a five-speed automatic transmission if that’s more of your thing.
Electronic stability control and double wishbone suspension combine to create a relatively smooth ride that an eat up bumps at higher speeds with ease. Gas mileage is decent, obtaining around 22 miles per gallon on the highway.
To Sum it Up
One of the Frontier’s biggest attractions has been the simplicity it offers for those who really aren’t into ultra-contemporary trucks with edgy exterior designs and tech’d-out interiors with screens all over the place. The 2018 Frontier holds true to this.
This is likely to be the last version of the current Frontier as we know it before Nissan redesigns it for 2019. It’s almost like the 2018 model is buying them time to come up with a completely re-imagined Frontier that could very well change the game again like it did back in 1999.
For now, the 2018 Nissan Frontier version will have to suffice. I really see no reason to go out of your way to get one, unless you are a huge fan of the current line and you want to have the latest model before the big change comes in 2019.
Pricing should fall between $23,220 to $37,760 depending on the model, and Nissan dealerships are expected to have the inventory available in October.