Pros: Pricing, Short turning radius, smooth ride, comfortable seating, option packages, mileage ratings, rugged looks
Cons: short bed, front seat center arm rests, too much hard plastic around wheel wells
Nissan's styling changes on their '01 Frontier trucks are turning heads. Everyone is sure to have a definitive opinion, either you hate it or love it.
I sampled, priced and test-drove various trucks in the 'compact' pickup category before I finally settled on the Frontier Crew Cab. Everybody has different concerns and wants when deciding what truck to purchase and so here were my thoughts when comparing:
- the 3.3 liter V6 engine is more than adequate for the type of loads I am anticipating hauling. It will also handle the towing of my 19' boat and trailer very nicely.
- the ride was very solid and comfortable. Don't expect a luxury car feel, it is still a truck. The handling and steering are best described as very responsive. I felt very comfortable behind the wheel and, in a short test drive, felt as though I'd been driving the truck for years. The turning radius is very short and was a pleasant surprise. It makes for very easy maneuvering in tight parking lots.
- The ride is very quiet and rattle-free. Can hold a conversation in a normal voice tone while driving down the highway.
- The front seating is roomy and comfortable, but I do miss having center arm rests. The rear seating was very important to me. I have 2 children and my 13 y/o son has long legs. The full bench seat in the rear provides plenty of room for both kids. The rear doors are somewhat narrow and can make it difficult for adults to enter and exit. The rear door windows open and close fully, a nice feature.
- I would definitely recommend the optional bed extender to maximize the use and versatility of the short bed.
- Here are the features both standard and optional the truck I purchased was outfitted with: 3.3 liter V6, 4 speed auto, AC, power steering, power doors, power windows (front and rear), power mirrors, cruise control, tilt wheel, all window tint, rear defroster, reclining front bucket seats, remote entry, AM/FM-CD-Cassette stereo w/6 speaker sound system, custom floor mats, over-rail bedliner, bed extender, roof rack, limited slip rear, side step rails.
None of the other trucks I test drove could provide all the features I listed in a crew cab or quad cab style for under $21,000. Nissan did a great job in defining it's option packages and it's models available. There are more option packages available to upgrade the stereo system to a 6-CD in dash model among other things and also an SE and an SC version which provide upgrades to interior features (leather vs cloth seats) and supercharging the engine. The mileage rating is estimated at a respectable 16 city/19 hwy. I have taken a few road trips and, thus far, I have recorded highway rates of 20.8 MPG. My city rates have been consistent at about 17.5 MPG. I believe these will definitely improve as the engine 'breaks in'. I give Nissan 2 'Thumbs Up' for this truck.