2009 Nissan Frontier Review | Edmunds.com
 

2009 Nissan Frontier

   
 
Nissan Frontier Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 261 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No
 

Review of the 2009 Nissan Frontier

  • The 2009 Nissan Frontier is a top pick for a compact pickup, thanks to its brawny nature and innovative features.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Capable chassis, plenty of ground clearance, superb off-roader, beefy V6, pleasant highway ride, roomy interior, clever truck bed accessories.

  • Cons

    Interior heavy on hard plastics, regular-cab body style not available, inflexible option packages.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Nissan Frontier receives minor styling updates that include a new front fascia, headlights and instrument panel. Also new is…

 
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (76 total reviews)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Fantastic truck

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Frontier

I was all about getting a Toyota Tacoma, drove several and liked the raised suspension, but the ride itself wasn't that strong. After I tested a Frontier, I was sold. Off-the-line pickup in this V6 reminds you of a V8. Have yet to tow anything, but have used the bed for hauling heavy furniture and haven't noticed a change in the way it drives. There seems to be a strong dislike of the interior, but in my opinion, its a truck, and I'm not expecting anything fancy. Very fun to drive, and even though I live in a big city, its not too hard to get around. Like previous reviews, the turning radius leaves much to be desired, but overall, I love this truck.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Very nice truck

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Frontier

I purchased my 2008 Frontier used with 32,000 miles on it(one owner). The truck is great, turning radius sucks and I wish they included fog lights as standard equipment on the Frontier. I've had Toyota's and Nissan's and both are very reliable trucks. But this time it was all about price. I love this Frontier, the way it rides, the looks of it!




Love this truck!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Frontier

I ABSOLUTELY love this truck! I have the '08 4.0L V6 4x4 Frontier and think it's a great truck for it's size. I bought it "new" (it had 1 owner before me who bought it from the dealership new, didn't make a payment on it, and had it repossessed 6months after buying it...the truck hit 2k miles on my test drive), and have put 28k miles on it in just the last year and a half. It drives like a car, but can act like a truck. I use it off roads and it's reliable, handles well, and climbs obstacles. On the road, it's quiet, acceleration picks up really quickly, and steering is perfect. Not super tight, but definitely not loose. Turn radius is great and 4WD doesn't compromise it at all.




Not happy

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Frontier

Nice truck but the dash vents awful! I can't get comfortable in this thing! You can't get the air off your face makes eys burn! ! Also when driving on highway and getting to a town you have to turn up fan speed to stay cool! Temperatures are not consistent ! Also on my old Chevy you can blend air between top vents and floor! The Nissan is very limited with what you can do with the ac system !




Frontier review

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Frontier

Bought the truck new and paid much less than sticker. Love the truck but not worth the sticker. Only real complaint is the turning radius is like driving an 18 wheeler. Don't like the plastic bed liners - should of put the NISMO paint in liners as standard. The plastic on the tail gate scratches easy. Acceleration is slow but plenty of V6 power when it kicks in.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Turning radius!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Frontier

I have owned other trucks before but by far my frontier is the best. It is very comfortable to drive on long trips, and the gas usage is not bad on the highway.



 
 
 
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 15
  • cty
/
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Full 2009 Nissan Frontier Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Nissan Frontier receives minor styling updates that include a new front fascia, headlights and instrument panel. Also new is available leather seating and the PRO-4X trim level, which is essentially the same thing as last year's Nismo package.

Introduction

Trying to get the best of both worlds seems to be an eternal struggle in automotive circles. Whether it's a sports car with practicality, a family car that doesn't look like you gave up on your dreams or a pickup that's as useful in the city as it is out on the range, people want a vehicle that can do everything. Of course, no vehicle can actually achieve this, but the 2009 Nissan Frontier comes pretty close for a midsize pickup.

Available in numerous combinations of body styles, bed sizes and trim levels, the Nissan Frontier likely has a configuration that fits your needs. Whether you're looking for a work truck that can also haul the family or a commuter truck that can also scream through the woods on the weekend, the Frontier stands tall among compact trucks with its versatility and ingenuity.

The Frontier's advantages clearly outweigh its faults, with its clever features, off-road prowess and plentiful V6 power overcoming inferior plastics in the cabin and a frustrating options structure. The Frontier's closest rival, the Toyota Tacoma, is certainly worth a look when truck shopping, but we found the Frontier to have better on-road manners and a more functional interior.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Nissan Frontier is a compact-class pickup truck that is offered in King Cab (commonly known as extended cab) and Crew Cab (four-door) configurations. A 6-foot bed is standard for the King Cab, while the Crew Cab comes with a 5-foot bed, with the 6-footer available as an option. The entry-level Frontier is the XE, with more amenities progressively added to the SE, LE and PRO-4X trims. In typical Nissan fashion, options are only available via large and expensive packages.

As the bare-bones model, the Frontier XE is available only as a King Cab, with a four-cylinder engine and manual transmission and very little in the way of creature comforts or accessories. Included are 15-inch steel wheels, front bucket seats and cloth upholstery. Adding the XE Preferred Package gets you an AM/FM/CD audio system and air-conditioning.

The four-cylinder SE trim level adds 16-inch wheels, a chrome front bumper, a sliding rear window, air-conditioning and a tilting steering wheel. Options for the SE include the Power Package, which consists of remote keyless entry, full power accessories and cruise control. For V6-powered SE Frontiers, the Value Truck Package is available and equivalent to the Power Package, but also includes a bedliner and 16-inch alloy wheels.

For those actually planning on taking the road less traveled, the PRO-4X is capable of tackling most off-road conditions. Upgrades include 16-inch alloy wheels with rugged off-road tires, a locking rear differential, Bilstein off-road shocks, underside skid plates, splash guards and white-faced gauges. Besides the off-road bits, the PRO-4X package shares many amenities with the LE trim level, including foglights, a spray-on bedliner, the Utili-track cargo-management system, keyless entry, full power accessories, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and a first aid kit. However, the LE trim trades the PRO-4X's off-road equipment for 18-inch alloy wheels, body-colored side molding, chrome exterior trim, tubular step rails and a power driver seat.

Options for the PRO-4X and LE models include the Technology Package, which includes a 10-speaker sound system with a six-CD/MP3 changer and an auxiliary jack, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, satellite radio and Bluetooth. This year's new Value Truck Package includes the Technology Package's equipment as well as leather seating, heated front seats and a power front passenger seat. The Traction Package is available with the Technology Package -- but only in 4x4 models with automatic transmissions -- adding hill-start assist, hill descent control and stability control.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Nissan Frontier comes with a choice of two engines -- a 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, or a 4.0-liter V6 producing 261 hp and 281 lb-ft. The V6 is the only engine choice for Crew Cabs and four-wheel-drive variants, while the four-cylinder is available only in 4x2 King Cab models. The four-cylinder models are offered with a standard five-speed manual transmission with an option for a five-speed automatic on the SE. The V6 is equipped with either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic, depending on the trim level and configuration.

Of the entire Frontier line, the King Cab V6 4x2 has the highest towing capacity at 6,500 pounds. EPA-rated fuel economy for automatic-equipped four-cylinder models comes in at 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. V6-equipped models with the automatic and 4WD rate 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes are standard on all Frontier models, with side and side-curtain airbags available as an option. Stability control is offered only as an option for LE and PRO-4X models.

In government crash tests, the 2009 Nissan Frontier earned four out of five stars for driver protection in frontal collisions and a top five-star rating for side impacts. Front-passenger protection was rated at five stars for the King Cab and four stars for the Crew Cab. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Frontier a "Good" rating (the best rating possible) for frontal impacts but only a "Marginal" rating for side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Nissan Frontier King Cab utilizes small, reverse-opening doors to allow rear passenger access to the fold-up jump seats. The Crew Cab employs conventional rear doors that open to a larger rear cabin. As expected, the smaller rear passenger quarters in the King Cab are rather cramped but offer extra seating in a pinch. The otherwise roomy cabin is attractively designed, with intuitive controls and comfortable front seats. However, the liberal use of cheap, hard plastics detracts from an otherwise successful execution.

Anyone planning on a fair amount of cargo hauling would be well advised to spring for an options package that includes the spray-on bedliner and Utili-track system. Using two "C" cross-section channels running the length of the bed floor, one channel on each side bed rail and one channel mounted on the rear of the cab, the Utili-track tie-down system employs removable cleats and a host of accessories like dividers, trays, storage bins and bike racks, providing a very flexible cargo storage solution.

Driving Impressions

The Frontier's four-cylinder models make it a fair choice as an inexpensive light-duty work truck, especially considering higher fuel prices. However, for those who need anything above "just getting around," the V6 is really the only choice. Providing an abundance of low-end torque, six-cylinder models are up to most any task, with a competent automatic transmission delivering well-timed shifts whether you're tearing up the sand dunes, hauling supplies to a work site or navigating a morning commute. Ride quality is unexpectedly pleasant for a pickup truck and steering is precise, with ample feedback. Frontier 4x4 models are capable off-roaders, thanks to a maximum ground clearance of 10.1 inches and an abundance of suspension travel. For those seeking an even more accomplished off-road ride, the PRO-4X model is definitely the pick of the litter.

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