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
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.
I bought this truck when it was 2 years old and had 29,000 miles. I've owned it for 10 years - it now has 130,000 and still runs fine. The only repairs other than routine maintenance have been tie rod ends and ball joints at about 90,000 and starter at 125,000 miles. It's been a solid and dependable truck. Gas mileage has been about 20 in town and 24 highway (it's a 5 speed manual 4WD). It is a bit underpowered but that hasn't been a problem for me. I've used it off- road and also towed a trailer with it but rarely drive over 60 mph. I hope to keep it for a long time
Dependability, low maintenance, good gas mileage, high ground clearance.
I bought it new and still have it. 66,000 miles on the odometer. It still looks new, except for some small dings. I wanted a 6 cyl. instead of the 2.4 liter 4 cyl., but the 6 cyl was not available in the 97 model due to some EPA requirement.
Rust free body. Never replaced any mechanical or engine parts, except for regular maintenance items and wear and tear parts, like tires, brakes, a battery, plugs, air and oil filters, and distributor parts.
Too late for improvements on an 11 year old truck, but Nissan did a pretty job as is.