2003 Nissan Frontier King Cab Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Nissan Frontier King Cab

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Nissan Frontier Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 143 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Nissan Frontier

  • With a variety of body styles, engines and trims, the Frontier should cover just about every compact truck buyer's needs.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Wide variety of body configurations and trim levels, many safety and convenience features.

  • Cons

    No third door on King Cabs, cramped rear seats for Crew Cabs.

  • What's New for 2003

    Nissan's compact pickup rolls into 2003 with many new enhancements. Most interesting is a power-operated retractable top. The "Open Sky" top -- essentially a giant sunroof -- is optional on Crew Cab models. For safety, Nissan has added standard dual-stage front airbags for Crew Cabs, standard LATCH child seat anchors on King Cabs and Crew cabs, an optional stability control system and an optional tire pressure monitoring system. Other changes for 2003 include 10 more horsepower for normally aspirated V6 models, a driver seat-height adjuster and standard Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). King Cabs now have standard ABS, a new storage bin and a new first aid kit (V6 only).

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (12 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great light duty pickup

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Vehicle: 2003 Nissan Frontier 2dr King Cab XE Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I test drove all the light duty trucks before I bought this in 2007. Tacoma was small, lower to the ground, and more bouncy. Mazda felt loose, Ranger couldn't touch the interior space. The Nissan is stable, feels larger than others, has great towing capacity (3000#), and I get 27 mpg. For the size, it has power you wouldn't expect. Best of all, it has had no major problems, and that's at 175,000 miles.




Weak on power until

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Vehicle: 2003 Nissan Frontier 2dr King Cab XE Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Weak on power untill I adjusted timing up, not so much it pings just before. Still 2.4 engine does not have the power 2.5 altima motor has This truck has style large hauling compasity jump seats behind passenger 24 mpg need to keep rpm up if you want speed steers a little hard with power steering for an old man with open heart,




Hurts so good . .

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Vehicle: 2003 Nissan Frontier 2dr King Cab XE Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Nice rig. I had a 1994, same setup, 4cyl 5spd. Very dependable. Had a problem with the seats on long commutes. The seats would cut off circulation to my legs. I wound up retro-fitting some 280Z seats. I thought they had this solved in the newer rigs. No way! This is not the car for a 6' tall man.




Cheaper than toyota

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Vehicle: 2003 Nissan Frontier 2dr King Cab XE Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Cheaper than Toyota and you get what you pay for. Auto dumped all tranny fluid at 1507 miles (yes, brand new). Nissan USA's response - refill fluid and have a nice day. Truck looks nice and gets excellent mileage on the back of tow truck. Can't operate defroster independent of A/C, shift lever blocks controls.




Fun economical compact pickup

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Vehicle: 2003 Nissan Frontier 2dr King Cab XE Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

There is a fair amount of power in this 4 cylinder.




Nissan frontier

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Vehicle: 2003 Nissan Frontier 2dr King Cab XE Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I really enjoy the Nissan Frontier so far. The style of the exterior is what sold me. I also like the extend a bed feature. The interior controls are not easy to see with the shift lever in the way. But so far, that is the only minor concern I would have with the vehicle.



Full 2003 Nissan Frontier Review

What's New for 2003

Nissan's compact pickup rolls into 2003 with many new enhancements. Most interesting is a power-operated retractable top. The "Open Sky" top -- essentially a giant sunroof -- is optional on Crew Cab models. For safety, Nissan has added standard dual-stage front airbags for Crew Cabs, standard LATCH child seat anchors on King Cabs and Crew cabs, an optional stability control system and an optional tire pressure monitoring system. Other changes for 2003 include 10 more horsepower for normally aspirated V6 models, a driver seat-height adjuster and standard Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). King Cabs now have standard ABS, a new storage bin and a new first aid kit (V6 only).

Introduction

Nissan has been building trucks for the U.S. market since 1958. Now in its seventh generation of pickup offerings, the company's 2003 Frontier-badged model is the result of constant improvement since the last major redesign in 1998. This year, Nissan has focused on safety, as well as fun. A stability control system is available, as is a tire-pressure monitor. Both are industry firsts for a compact pickup. A wide variety of bodies, features and trim levels are the Frontier's best attributes. The lineup ranges from a basic (and inexpensive) two-wheel drive King Cab to the supercharged Crew Cab long bed. The supercharged S/C trucks are pricey, which is perhaps why Nissan offers value versions (the SVE trim) for the King Cab and Crew Cab. If your compact pickup needs are quite specific, the Frontier might be your truck. But we certainly recommend shopping around. The Toyota Tacoma, in particular, is another compact pickup you'll want to consider.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Frontier is highly configurable to better match your particular needs. There are two main body styles: King Cab and Crew Cab. The King Cab is Nissan's extended-cab pickup. It has front bucket seats and additional seating for two passengers in fold-down rear jump seats. Available trim levels include the no-frills standard truck and four-cylinder XE, the V6-powered XE and SE and the supercharged S/C and SVE. The S/C is the most feature-laden. Those looking for power and a smaller price tag should consider the more reasonably priced SVE. Four-wheel drive is available on most of these models, but if you just want the tough look of a 4WD, Nissan offers the Desert Runner, 2WD King Cab featuring the same heavy-duty chassis, ride height and stance as the 4WD Frontier.

Compared to the King Cab, the Frontier Crew Cab has a larger cabin with expanded rear-seat accommodations. Rear forward-hinged doors offer improved access to seats. The V6 (normally aspirated and supercharged) is the only engine available, and trim levels are the same except that there is no standard Crew Cab. In the past, the Crew Cab only came with a truncated 56.3-inch cargo bed, but last year Nissan began offering the Crew Cab Long Bed.

Powertrains and Performance

A supercharged 3.3-liter V6 is the most powerful engine, and it makes 210 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque when mated to the four-speed automatic transmission (the five-speed manual drops the torque rating to 231 lb-ft). There's also a normally aspirated V6 worth 180 hp and a 2.4-liter four that produces 143 hp. If you want to tow, our suggestion is either V6 and the automatic transmission. This configuration gives the Frontier its maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds. Four-wheel drive is available on V6 trucks only.

Safety

Nissan has upped the safety ante for 2003 with the addition of optional Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and an optional tire-pressure monitor. ABS is standard on all trucks. The NHTSA has given the Frontier Crew Cab very good crash test scores. The IIHS, however, has indicated that the Frontier fares poorly in frontal offset crashes, as shown by its test of a 1998 Frontier regular cab.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Frontier's cabin is one of the better ones available in the compact pickup class. A common complaint for the Crew Cab since its introduction, however, has been its cramped rear seat. A shortage of rear legroom is the major culprit.

Driving Impressions

Nissan likes to tout that its supercharged V6 offers the most horsepower in any V6 compact pickup. While true, we've found that real-world results are a bit disappointing. The supercharged engine has great off-idle responses but runs out of breath quickly. Off-road performance is about average for this class of truck.

Talk About The 2003 Frontier

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs