2016 Nissan Frontier Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Fun-to-drive nature whether you're off-road or just commuting
  • strong V6
  • easy-to-use interior controls
  • stout bed lining and tie-down points.
  • Doesn't handle that well on paved roads
  • subpar fuel economy
  • uncomfortable rear seats with tight legroom in crew cabs
  • subpar interior materials.
List Price Range
$13,995 - $23,000

Used Frontier for Sale
Select your model:
See all for sale

cash graphic with confetti

Get More For Your Trade-In

2016 Nissan Frontier appraisal values can range from $10,184 - $9,747.
Find out what your car is really worth in minutes.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2016 Nissan Frontier offers a brawny V6 engine, surprisingly good ride quality and, in Pro-4X trim, solid off-road capability. However, it trails behind the recently redesigned GM and Toyota trucks in most respects.

Vehicle overview

The compact pickup segment was effectively in stasis for about a decade, with its handful of trucks coasting along year after year with only minimal updates. As such, even a particular truck was staler than week-old doughnuts; so, too, were its competitors. That changed last year. GM completely redesigned its trucks and now Toyota has followed suit for 2016, leaving Nissan at a distinct disadvantage with its unaltered 2016 Frontier.

Despite its advanced age, the 2016 Nissan Frontier still has some appealing qualities.

This is especially evident inside the Frontier, where antiquated controls, lackluster materials quality and booming noise levels give the Frontier a bare-bones look and feel that those competing models have risen above. The front seats also lack adjustability and the backseat feels cramped even in four-door crew cab models.

The Frontier also shows its age with its unrefined V6 engine, cumbersome handling, slow steering and spongy brake pedal. On the plus side, the ride is surprisingly good and the off-road-oriented Pro-4X model performs well when you decide to leave the pavement behind. A number of functional details like adjustable cargo tie-downs, a spray-in bedliner and a sliding bed extender add to the practicality that most buyers expect in a pickup.

But overall we think buyers would be well advised to check out the Frontier's rivals, including the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, both of which offer a new diesel powertrain this year. The freshly redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma keeps all the outgoing model's strengths and adds a more powerful V6 engine, improved road manners and a greatly improved cabin.

2016 Nissan Frontier models

The 2016 Nissan Frontier is a midsize pickup that's offered in extended cab (known as the King Cab) and crew cab body styles. King cab models come with fold-down rear jump seats and a 6.1-foot cargo bed, while crew cab versions get a 60/40-split folding rear bench seat and a choice of a standard 5-foot or optional 6.1-foot bed. There are also five trim levels available: S, SV, Desert Runner, Pro-4X and SL.

On two-wheel-drive extended cab models with a manual transmission, the base S trim level includes 15-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, front bucket seats (with a flat-folding front passenger seat) and cloth upholstery. Select the automatic transmission and you'll also get standard air-conditioning, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. These items can be added to the manual version via the S Preferred package. Meanwhile, crew cabs with the S trim add the V6 engine, 16-inch steel wheels, a sliding rear window and a six-speaker audio system as standard.

Stepping up to the SV trim level gets you all of the above (though the V6 engine is optional for SV extended cab models), along with 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, power windows/locks/mirrors, a tilt-only steering wheel, upgraded cloth upholstery, a sliding rear window, a 5-inch NissanConnect touchscreen interface with Bluetooth audio connectivity and smartphone-integrated apps, a USB port, a media player interface, satellite radio and an additional 12-volt power outlet.

Options include a sunroof on the crew cab and, for the V6-powered SV, a Value Truck package that adds foglights, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a sliding bed extender, a spray-on bedliner, adjustable cargo tie-downs, a Class IV trailer hitch, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and two extra speakers on extended cabs.

The Desert Runner (two-wheel-drive V6 only in either cab configuration) builds on the base SV equipment list, adding special exterior and interior styling details, foglamps, high-performance shock absorbers, off-road tires and an eight-way manual driver seat. The SV Value package equipment isn't available here.

The Pro-4X trim level comes with off-road-ready hardware, including special tires, shocks and skid plates.

For serious off-roaders, there's the four-wheel-drive-only Pro-4X, which features the off-road tires, specially tuned shocks, a locking rear differential, skid plates, automatic headlights, a 5.8-inch NissanConnect touchscreen with navigation, satellite radio and voice controls, the eight-way driver seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a first aid kit and everything in the SV Value Truck package (except the trailer hitch and bed extender, which are optional). Pro-4X crew cabs also get a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system.

The Pro-4X Luxury package (automatic-equipped crew cabs only) adds a sunroof, roof rack with crossbars, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger) and a rear-seat center armrest.

The top SL trim (automatic crew cabs only) loses the Pro-4X's off-road-oriented equipment, but retains most of the items in the Pro-4X Luxury package, including a sunroof for long-bed SLs (the sunroof is a stand-alone option for short-bed SLs). Additional standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels and side steps that ease access to the cab. The trailer hitch and bed extender remain optional on the Frontier SL.

2016 Highlights

For 2016, the Nissan Frontier returns with minimal changes. There are new colors, and a sunroof has been added to the SV model's standard equipment list.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Nissan Frontier is offered with a choice of two engines. Extended cab S and SV models come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual and rear-wheel drive are standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy with the manual transmission earns 21 mpg combined (19 city/23 highway), and 19 mpg combined (17/23) with the automatic. Four-wheel drive is not available with the four-cylinder engine.

Optional for the SV and standard for the rest of the extended cab lineup (as well as every Frontier crew cab) is a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. The S, SV and Pro-4X can be had with either a standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic, while the Desert Runner and SL are automatic only. In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped Pro-4X crew cab went from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds.

Except for the specialized Desert Runner and Pro-4X models, the V6 Frontier gives you a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. The Frontier uses a part-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case. Automatic transmission-equipped four-wheel-drive models also have hill start assist and hill descent control, while the Pro-4X has a locking rear differential.

EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg combined (17/22) for manual-transmission rear-wheel-drive V6 models, while the ratings drop to 18 mpg combined (16/21) with four-wheel drive. Automatic-equipped V6 Frontiers rate 18 combined (16/22) with rear-wheel drive and 17 combined (15/21) with four-wheel drive. All of these estimates are lower than the respective versions of the Tacoma and Colorado/Canyon.

Properly equipped, four-cylinder models can tow up to 3,500 pounds, while V6 versions can tow as much as 6,500 pounds.

Safety

Every 2016 Nissan Frontier comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are available on all Frontiers except the S, SV four-cylinder and Desert Runner models. The available NissanConnect interface can be upgraded with a suite of emergency communications services that includes automatic collision notification, an emergency call button, stolen vehicle locator and remote alarm notification.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Frontier Pro-4X came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet, a fairly common stopping distance for an off-road-oriented truck with all-terrain tires.

The Frontier crew cab received the top rating of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Its seat/head restraint design was given the second-highest rating of "Acceptable" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

As for driving the 2016 Nissan Frontier, the experience has much to do with what's under the hood. While the 2.5-liter four-cylinder will eke out a couple of extra miles per gallon, its lackluster performance makes it hard to recommend. We think most buyers will be happier with the gutsier 4.0-liter V6's noticeably better acceleration — not to mention its enhanced payload and towing capabilities — which comes with very little in the way of fuel economy penalty. Well, at least compared to the four-cylinder. It's ultimately less efficient than competitor V6s.

The 2016 Nissan Frontier delivers capable acceleration with the optional V6 engine, but rivals offer better overall performance.

When it comes to handling, the Frontier's slow, heavy steering makes it seem anything but nimble. The soft brake pedal feel can also be a bit disconcerting, though actual stopping power is adequate. The ride quality on the other hand is surprisingly good. There's a fair bit of wind noise at higher speeds, however, along with tire noise from the aggressive tread on models like the Desert Runner and Pro-4X.

Leave the pavement behind and you'll find both these models excel off-road, thanks in part to nearly 9 inches of ground clearance and a well-tuned suspension.

Interior

The 2016 Nissan Frontier offers comfortable and supportive front seats, but adjustability is limited and the steering wheel does not telescope (it doesn't adjust at all in the base model). The rear seats are even less appealing, as extended cab models feature rear-hinged half doors that allow access to old-school fold-down jump seats with bolt upright seatbacks and minimal legroom. Crew cab models offer four full doors and more practical rear seats, though the seatbacks are still awkwardly vertical and legroom is in shorter supply than in competing models.

The 2016 Frontier's interior design and trim are from an earlier era at Nissan, but most of the controls are user-friendly.

As far as the rest of the interior goes, it's a no-nonsense affair with subpar quality materials throughout. On a positive note, the design and layout of gauges and controls is intuitive, though some of the switchgear lacks the solid heft you'd expect from such a rough-and-ready truck. The latest technology, including Bluetooth audio connectivity, hands-free text messaging and smartphone app integration is available on most models, but the same can be said of its competitors.

The Frontier is particularly adept at hauling cargo, especially with the 6.1-foot bed that's standard on extended cab models and optional on crew cabs. We're especially fond of the flip-out tailgate extension and slick adjustable tie-down cleats that make hauling motorcycles or other bulky items easier. A storage area under the rear seats makes a handy place to stash valuable items, while features like adjustable tie-downs and a bed extender/divider give the cargo hold added flexibility.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Nissan Frontier.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

2nd Frontier
Joe,12/21/2015
SV 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I originally bought a 2015 SV V6 2WD King Cab (in May 2015). After using it for 6 months it became obvious there was not enough room in the cab when I needed to carry passengers. I was also a little disappointed with the lack of features I have become accustomed to in my new vehicles - heated seats, compass, outside temp, rear camera............ While the reviews of this 2015 vehicle were not outstanding, I was happy (overall) with my truck. It was fairly noisy, but it fit my expectations of a truck. (I want to be able to carry stuff, with reasonable expectations for performance and reliability.) So after getting a reluctant nod from my wife, I bought the same truck as a 2016 (November 2015). However, this time it was a 4 door SV with the value truck package. This version is much more usable, with less road noise. Gas mileage is not outstanding, but it's not rediculous (as you might expect from the reviews). I get 20 mpg consistently (combined). The features and controls work well, and are simple to use. However, they may be somewhat dated in their design. Again they honestly meet my expectations for a truck. I did look at the new Chevy when I bought the 2015. The dealers were unwilling to negotiate on the price, and there were few vehicles available on the lot. There were no Toyota's available in a 2WD, and the dealers were even less willing to negotiate about the price. To be honest, I may be unlike many who want a pick-up. I'd really prefer a small/mid pick-up that would be based on a small SUV. This would likely improve gas mileage, and address the main reason I have a pick-up. Did I mention I want to have the ability to carry stuff...... I am not a farmer or tradesman, so I don't need all the bulk and capacity of a real pick-up. I use this vehicle to go to work, shopping, and just general transportation. Given the 3 small trucks currently available in the market, I think the 4 door Frontier is a competent choice. It doesn't seem to have any of the concerns noted in many of the customer reviews for the new GM's or Toyota, and the gas milage is not significantly different.
I Love My Truck!
BJS,08/23/2016
SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
I will be honest... Before I bought my Frontier I was dead set on a new Tacoma, even though I didn't really like the new body style. Way too much going on. However, I test drove one thinking that I could look past the "looks." Long story short, I did not like the truck. Plus there are so many complaints about the transmission shifting erratically. So I went across the street to the Nissan dealership and test drove the Frontier and fell in love with it. Really. I love the way it looks, drives and it was $10k less than a new Tacoma. I really like that all of the bugs have been worked out of the truck, because it hasn't had a major update in 10 years. Some will complain about the gas mileage, or that the interior feels cheap, or needs an update, etc.. I am happy with the gas mileage... I didn't buy a Prius. Its a truck and its a truck with a pretty stout engine for it's size. I am happy with the interior. It is simple, like a truck should be, yet it does have bluetooth and Sirius which are useful, without being over complicated. Anyway, I wish I could afford to buy two of them, because I really like this version of the Frontier and I am scared that Nissan will "over" update their next iteration of this truck. Don't do what I almost did and fall for the Tacoma hype and pay MSRP or over for a truck with documented automatic transmission problems.
Very Satisfied with My Truck!
Charles Craig,04/05/2016
SV 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Recently I purchased a new Nissan Frontier SV King Cab with the 4.0 V6 automatic, and I really like it. For about two years prior to my purchase, I considered the Frontier as well as the Toyota Tacoma and to a lesser extent the Chevy Colorado. There are several reasons why I chose the Frontier over the Tacoma or Colorado. Among those reasons is way it drives; the Frontier handles very well and feels very solid on the road. The interior and seating position felt more "right" to me than its competitors. In my opinion, the Frontier's exterior looks much better than the Tacoma and even the Colorado. Finally, for the money, I believe I got a much better deal with the Frontier, paying thousands of dollars less for what I would have paid for similar features in its competitors. I have owned other pickups in the past, including a Mazda pickup, an older Toyota pickup, and a Ford Ranger, and in my opinion the Nissan Frontier is clearly the best of them all, even though it is really not fair to compare this Frontier to the older trucks. While this particular version of the Frontier has been around for more than a decade, it is still very up-to-date. My truck has Bluetooth, XM Radio, a USB jack, and apps available in the entertainment system. So far, I have hauled several loads and towed a small utility trailer with no problems at all. I am very satisfied with the Frontier and would without hesitation recommend it to others.
Almost perfect
SportsterDoc,07/14/2016
SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
This is 4 wheel vehicle #33 (+17 motorcycles). Last truck was 2009 Toyota Tacoma standard cab 4WD (good truck). Last full size truck was Dodge Ram 1500 standard cab 2WD 5.7 hemi (great acceleration). Typical commute to ranch is 220 miles, but last 8 miles are rocky road and last 3/4 mile is Jeep trail. Wife and I are EXTREMELY satisfied. Mileage from west end of Glacier National Park to east end and return was 23.73! Mileage from Las Vegas Valley to Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada and back was 20.56, which included substantial 80 MPH speed limits. Around town mileage is rated 15 MPG and that is what we get, if only town (not typical). Combined is about 17.5 MPG. Low RPM torque is excellent. Pulls grades on I40, east of Kingman, AZ mainly in 5th gear at 75 MPH. Wish bed light had auto/on/off switch instead of auto with any door opening. Turning radius is not the best, but no worse than wife's former 2004 GMC Sonoma crew cab 4WD. Wife likes (a) 8 cup holders, (b) upper and lower glove box, (c) wide door pockets and (d) comfortable ride, although it does sidestep around curves over bumps, due to higher profile tires (which we like for going over rocks). In addition to torque/acceleration, I like under rear seat storage for tools, tow strap, jumper cables, tie downs, etc and room behind back seat for jacket, thin backpack, as well as factory jack and tire tools. Instruments do not need an operation manual to quickly understand. Battery and air filter easy to access. 10" ground clearance on 4WD. Other than a new 92 Nissan Sentra GXE, my only other Nissan was a new 1973 Datsun PL620 P/U. In 1982 I put a Chevrolet 350 V-8 in it with a 500 CFM Carter AFB on an SP2P Edlebrock manifold, hooker headers, dual exhausts, Chevrolet turbo 350 auto trans and a shortened/resplined 2.92:1 differential (for traction). This factory Frontier is almost as much fun!...and it has 4WD. Sep 2019: 57,000 miles-we remain extremely satisfied. Only issue to date is mild exit wear on the driver's seat. Mar 2020: 64K miles, no issues, only normal maintenance: Tires, battery, engine air filters, cabin filters, front & rear differential and transfer case fluid (59K, original looked like new), serpentine belt (62K). Sep 2020: 73,190 miles, no issues/repairs, only maintenance Mar 2021: 81,226 miles, no issues/repairs, only maintenance. - SportsterDoc

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover21.2%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Nissan Frontier

Used 2016 Nissan Frontier Overview

The Used 2016 Nissan Frontier is offered in the following submodels: Frontier Crew Cab, Frontier King Cab. Available styles include SV 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), PRO-4X 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SV 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Desert Runner 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SV 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SV 4dr Crew Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), S 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), S 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5A), SL 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB w/Prod End 9/15 (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SL 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SL 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB w/Prod End 9/15 (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SL w/Prod End 9/15 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SV 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), SV 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5A), SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB w/Prod End 9/15 (4.0L 6cyl 6M), Desert Runner 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SL 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), S 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), SL 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), S 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), PRO-4X 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), PRO-4X 4dr King Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and S 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Nissan Frontier models are available with a 4.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 261 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Nissan Frontier comes with rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic. The Used 2016 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 2016 Nissan Frontier?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Nissan Frontier trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Nissan Frontier SV is priced between $13,995 and$30,000 with odometer readings between 11281 and113526 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X is priced between $22,900 and$32,987 with odometer readings between 22450 and105721 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Frontier S is priced between $19,950 and$25,900 with odometer readings between 16429 and64742 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Frontier Desert Runner is priced between $24,990 and$24,990 with odometer readings between 50344 and50344 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Nissan Frontier SL is priced between $31,000 and$31,000 with odometer readings between 50991 and50991 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2016 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) 2016 Nissan Frontier for sale near. There are currently 25 used and CPO 2016 Frontiers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,995 and mileage as low as 11281 miles. 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 2016 Nissan Frontier.

Can't find a used 2016 Nissan Frontiers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Frontier for sale - 9 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $18,150.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 5 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $8,756.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Frontier for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,978.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 5 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $19,331.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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.

Check out Nissan lease specials
Check out Nissan Frontier lease specials