2002 Nissan Frontier Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Supercharged power, bold styling, wide variety of body configurations.
  • Cramped rear seats for Crew Cab pickups.
List Price Estimate
$1,324 - $2,684

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

When it comes to compact pickups, style is an increasingly important selling point. Functionality is great, but only if it comes in a neat and brightly colored wrapper.

Need proof? How about the Nissan Frontier? Restyled last year, Nissan's compact pickup looks to tear the heads off its compact competitors and eat them for lunch. The dominant front bumper and multi-unit headlights combine to produce a machine-like look that does away with the previous model's sedate fascia. The industrial theme continues with the Frontier's oversized fender flares and visible attachment bolts.

Fortunately, there's power to back up the power tool styling. 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 170 hp and a 2.4-liter four that produces 143 hp.

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 Spartan standard truck and four-cylinder XE, the V6-powered XE and SE and the supercharged SC and SVE. The SC is the most feature-laden, and it comes standard with items like air conditioning, 17-inch wheels, remote keyless entry and antilock brakes. 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, a 4x2 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. While still not exceptionably roomy, the rear seat is certainly big enough for children. 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 for 2002 Nissan is also offering the Crew Cab Long Bed. This version has a full 74.6-inch bed.

Nissan has also enhanced the previously dull interior design. These changes include a new instrument panel with three "cockpit-style" round gauges, new climate controls and a new console with a side map pocket. A 25 percent-larger glove compartment and up to three interior power points make Frontier more practical than before. Another major change and ergonomic improvement is the replacement of the dash-mounted pull-and-twist parking brake with a more traditional foot-operated pedal system. Finally, audiophiles should appreciate the newly optional Rockford Fosgate 300-watt, nine-speaker audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD player. It's available only on Crew Cab pickups.

The Frontier is a solid and versatile truck, especially with the Crew Cab Long Bed. But there are other trucks you will want to consider in your buying decisions, notably the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger.

2002 Highlights

Nissan continues to enhance its compact pickup line with the introduction of the 2002 Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed, the first compact crew cab pickup to offer a full-size bed. Other improvements for the Frontier lineup include a redesigned instrument panel and console and an available Rockford Fosgate-powered audio system.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Nissan Frontier.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great truck, I'll stick with Nissan
biker,03/22/2010
2dr King Cab XE 2WD SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
This is my second update since I posted my original review. It is January 2018 and my 2002 frontier has approximately 132,000 miles and has required zero repairs since my last update July 2016. Maintenance since then is tires, belts, oil changes, Coolant Flush and Brake fluid replacement. I broke my cab mounted rear brake light (Not the fault of the truck) and when I replaced it found a little rust beneath it. As the paint on the roof is getting oxidized a bit, I am going to repaint the roof soon and address the small rust area. This is an update of my original review from 2010. It is now July 2016. I still have this truck I bought new.... Now I am at 14 years with my Frontier and it still going strong. I bought this truck new in 2002. I use my Frontier for towing a motorcycle trailer and it does fine. The interior looks great with slight wear on the drivers seat and sun visor. The paint is still in good shape even though it is always outdoors in the Florida weather (Including 3 hurricanes in 2004) In 14 years and 125000 miles, I have replaced the A/C compressor, a valve cover gasket and a shifter seal. That is it....The gasket and shifter seal...200 bucks including labor....The A/C about 900.... Not bad for 14 years. Front brake pads replaced once. Rear brakes...original. Clutch...Original. Suspension, original. The 2.4l 4 banger with the 5 speed is adequate but won't win any drag races. The gas mileage is great. Even with a raised topper, I get 25 and without the topper I average 26-28 on the highway. The ride is a bit stiff but it is a truck after all. Overall I am very satisfied and plan to keep it forever.... I will update this review again in a few more years.....
Little truck, lotta truck !
john d,02/24/2009
4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 5M)
I use the truck primarily to tow a 3000 lb camper. The 3.3 L engine in the 2002 was rated at only 170 hp but this little truck seems to use all of them as it tows the camper plus another 500 lbs of camping gear as though it is not there. That is both with power and mileage. The camper and gear doubles the weight of the truck alone with no more than a 15-20 % increase in fuel consumption. For power I'm comparing it to my old Ford full-size with a 351 V-8. Never any maintenance in nearly 8 years of use other than regular preventative maintenance. Cannot recommend this little truck too much!!
Best truck ever
Alan Sargent,11/19/2015
4dr Crew Cab SVE-V6 4WD LB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A)
I've had this truck for almost 14 years, it's been in the shop once. It still runs and looks great.
old truck new love
carol_okc,01/03/2011
4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 4WD LB (3.3L 6cyl 5M)
I looked long and hard for the perfect truck - and I've found it. I've always driven full-size pickups but wanted better economy, 4wd, a decent cargo capacity, and room for my two big dogs for everything except hauling the big round bales of hay. Still have the 2500 Ram for the latter, but the Frontier handles everything else beautifully. Since I tend to drive my vehicles forever, I wasn't concerned about this being older and having a bit over 100k miles on it. I did have my mechanic go over it thoroughly, freshening several things that needed to be addressed, but still brought it in at my budgeted figure - and expect to drive it at least another 100k miles. Can you tell I love it??

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2002 Nissan Frontier

Used 2002 Nissan Frontier Overview

The Used 2002 Nissan Frontier is offered in the following submodels: Frontier Crew Cab, Frontier King Cab. Available styles include 4dr Crew Cab SC-V6 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 2WD LB (3.3L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SC-V6 4WD LB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 2WD LB w/Leather (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab XE 2WD SB (2.4L 4cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab XE-V6 Desert Runner 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 2WD LB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab Standard 2WD SB (2.4L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SC-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SVE-V6 4WD LB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 2dr King Cab XE 2WD SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 2WD SB w/Leather (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SVE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 2dr King Cab XE-V6 Desert Runner 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 4WD LB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab SE-V6 Desert Runner 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab Standard 2WD SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 4WD LB w/Leather (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab SC-V6 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 2dr King Cab SC-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab XE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 4WD LB (3.3L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 4WD LB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab SC-V6 2WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SC-V6 2WD LB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 2dr King Cab SVE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 2WD LB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab SC-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl S/C 5M), 2dr King Cab XE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 4WD SB w/Leather (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab SE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Crew Cab XE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Crew Cab SE-V6 4WD SB (3.3L 6cyl 4A), 2dr King Cab SE-V6 Desert Runner 2WD SB w/Leather (3.3L 6cyl 4A), and 2dr King Cab SE-V6 4WD SB w/Leather (3.3L 6cyl 4A). Pre-owned Nissan Frontier models are available with a 3.3 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 210 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2002 Nissan Frontier comes with rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual. The Used 2002 Nissan Frontier comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Nissan Frontier?

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Which used 2002 Nissan Frontiers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Nissan Frontier for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Nissan Frontier.

Can't find a used 2002 Nissan Frontiers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Frontier for sale - 9 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $21,836.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 1 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $17,962.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Frontier for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $10,777.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 10 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $25,165.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 Nissan Frontier?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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