I've had this truck for over a year now. Bought with 147k, now has 152k. It has been reliable. Always starts (so far!). 4x4 is pretty impressive, with good tires this truck will go most anywhere. Handling is horrible, tippy and does not stop very quickly. It is a 4x4 truck though. Fuel economy is not very good, 16-24 mpg is what I've been getting. Decent low end torque for 4 cyl but no guts on the freeway, and mtns make me search for gears. Dunno about the new Frontier, but for the price, a used Nissan pu/frontier is a good package. Consider the V6 though, more power and I don't think the fuel economy is much worse. 4 cyl is not for towing heavy stuff.
Reliable, 4x4, good field of vision (Tacomas and Rangers feel a bit like a dark cave inside in comparison), simple to work on, cheap, looks like a truck "should" i.e. basic and solid, metal bumpers in the city are nice after having a little car that was dinged several times
Jump seats in extended cab are nearly useless for adults, handling is not great, braking is poor, some interior parts are cheap, rear quarter panel window latch snapped in a strong prairie wind, very very stiff bumpy ride, more than other similar Japanese trucks
Bought this truck off of my dad as my first truck. And this truck has been through hell. Had to replace random parts such as spark plugs only complaint is that the coil is built into the distributor has 239k miles and still runs like a beast. Leaks oil off the tappet cover but other than that after 239,000 miles it will take a beating and keep running.
This is the second Nissan Hardbody truck that I have owned, 1987 and now 1997. Both trucks were 5 speed manual, 4 cylinder very dependable workhorses. I commute to work and consistently get 20 mpg city. In 225,000+ miles, other than maintenance work, I have only had to replace the alternator, still has the original clutch. This truck and the 1987 had regular maintenance done but were not babied and dependably got the any job asked of them done. These 2WD trucks have hauled bales of shavings stacked over the height of the cab, passed 4WD trucks in 20+ inches of snow and packed around tons of stuff. I would recommend this truck to anyone.
Love this truck. It starts in the worst winter conditions unconditionally. It still looks good except for rust that has started at the top of the roof and extends all the way across. I have had several people offer to buy or trade for it since the day I bought it. Very clean and other than general maintenance has been a very solid truck. Would not hesitate to buy a new one. Nissan did this right.
Bought new in 97. Used to tow metro from town to town and for door to door delivery. Put almost 25,000 miles a year first 3 years. Only 2 issues, valve covers started leaking at 12,500, 500 miles out of warranty, and power steering hose runs over alternator. Hose is poorly designed and has been a recurring problem, starts to leak about every 3 years and is quite expensive. If not replaced immediately will leak into alternator and burn it out. Even as a 2wd with about 400# in back gets around good even in moderate snow, ice and mud.
Reliability. This truck was used hard for its first three years and took it great. It has enjoyed the last 10 years as a daily driver with minimal issues.
An after market kit to reroute the power steering house, and a better design so that this $200 does not wear out after a few years.