2017 Nissan Frontier Review
2017 Nissan Frontier Review
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Nissan Frontier model years
Nissan Frontier types
- Crew Cab
- King Cab
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations
Mike Schmidt has worked in the automotive industry since 2003. He has written nearly a thousand car-related articles and has been responsible for the upkeep of countless test fleet vehicles over the course of his career. Mike is a senior manager of vehicle testing operations at Edmunds and got his start working behind the scenes on the car manufacturer side of the business. Mike spent many a weekend working on the family car with his dad and was promoted from flashlight holder to tool gopher at a young age. He's had an appreciation of cars ever since.
- Pro-4X model is a capable off-roader
- Available with automatic or manual transmission
- Truck bed has clever, repositionable tie-down system
- Doesn't steer or handle with confidence on pavement
- Fuel economy lags far behind that of rivals
- Uncomfortable crew-cab rear seats have tight legroom
- Interior materials are cheap-looking
The 2017 Nissan Frontier largely is unchanged. A new S Work Truck package adds a spray-in bedliner, bed rail caps, splash guards and rubber floor mats. Base S trims now have body-colored rear bumpers instead of chrome.
The midsize pickup segment was effectively in stasis for about a decade, with its handful of trucks coasting along year after year with only minimal updates. Even if a particular truck grew stale, so did its competitors. That changed when General Motors completely redesigned its midsize trucks in 2015 and Toyota followed suit for 2016. As a result, Nissan is at a distinct disadvantage with its unaltered 2017 Frontier.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 Nissan Frontier S 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$188/mo for Frontier S
Avg. Compact Truck
Its age is especially evident inside the Frontier. Controls are antiquated, materials lackluster and cabin noise levels excessive. Together these characteristics give a bare-bones look and feel that those competing models have risen above. Still its ride quality is surprisingly good, and in Pro-4X trim, it performs off-road with confidence. And it gets all of the practical details right, such as cargo tie-downs, a spray-in bedliner and a sliding bed extender. If you're just looking for these basics, the Frontier still holds its own in this class.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
We wouldn't blame you for skipping over the 2017 Nissan Frontier. Fuel economy trails behind that of newer rivals, and its interior is outdated. But if you're just looking for the basics or desire a truly capable off-roader, the Frontier still holds its own in this class.
In Pro-4X trim, the Frontier is just as capable in the dirt as its peers despite a lack of significant updates in the past decade. But on the pavement, the Frontier's lack of refinement, in all trims, really puts the truck at a disadvantage compared to its competition.
We found the Frontier had a surprisingly comfortable ride quality on the road. Limited seat and steering-wheel adjustability on most trims made for an awkward driving position. And even on the Frontier crew cab, the rear seats lack legroom.
The interior looks dated, and the liberal use of hard plastics doesn't help. Still, most of the controls and switches are easy to use.
The Frontier gets the basics of being a work truck right. It has a clever cargo tie-down system in the bed, available spray-in liner, bed extender and optional 5-foot and 6.1-foot lengths. And properly equipped, four-cylinder models can tow up to 3,500 pounds and V6s as much as 6,500 pounds.
The latest technology, including a NissanConnect touchscreen interface, Bluetooth audio connectivity, hands-free text messaging and smartphone app integration, is available on most Frontier models. But the same can be said of its competitors.
Which Frontier does Edmunds recommend?
In our opinion, the 2017 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X is the truck to get. Sure, the four-cylinder gets slightly better fuel economy. It is also true that the less aggressive tuning and tires of other trims ride smoother, are quieter and are generally more pavement-friendly. But the Pro-4X benefits from that torquey V6, which makes us happy. And of all trims, its off-road worthiness makes it the most competitive against its peers, which were all recently redesigned. And you still get the utility of a truck, with features such as a spray-in liner and bed extender plus a maximum tow capacity of 6,290 pounds.
2017 Nissan Frontier models
The 2017 Nissan Frontier is a midsize truck offered in numerous configurations, depending upon your preference. It offers an extended-cab (King) or crew-cab body style and 5-foot or 6.1-foot bed length. The engine options are a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (152 horsepower, 171 pound-feet of torque) or a 4.0-liter six-cylinder (261-hp, 281 lb-ft), and both can be hooked up to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. There are five trim levels: S is the base model; the SV, with an upgraded interior; the Desert Runner, which adds off-road-oriented features but with two-wheel drive; the four-wheel-drive-only Pro-4X; and the top-tier SL, which is the best-optioned overall.
Your first step into the Frontier is in base S trim, with two-wheel drive, extended cab, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. It has 15-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass and four-way manual-adjusting cloth bucket seats up front. Select the automatic transmission to get 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.
In SV form, you get the above (though the V6 engine is optional for SV extended-cab models), along with 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, power windows, locks and 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-in 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 is a two-wheel-drive V6 only, in either cab configuration, and it builds on the base SV equipment list. It adds special styling details, foglights, high-performance shock absorbers, off-road tires and an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat. The SV Value package equipment isn't available with this trim.
For serious off-roaders, there is the four-wheel-drive-only Pro-4X. This trim features knobby 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-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a first aid kit. It includes everything in the SV Value Truck package except the trailer hitch and bed extender, which are optional. Crew cabs also get a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. The Pro-4X Luxury package, only available on automatic-equipped crew cabs, adds a sunroof, a roof rack with crossbars, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats and a rear-seat center armrest.
The top-level SL is only available as a crew cab with the automatic transmission. It 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.
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Don't listen to the critics
Denver D, 08/09/2017
2017 Nissan Frontier SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Auto reviewers need something to write about. They write that the Frontier has below-average gas mileage and a cheap-looking interior. Well, I get 19-20 mpg in my 2017, which is just fine for a truck, IMO. You get better advertised mileage in a Tacoma and other models, but drive it and see why: the manufacturers hobble the transmission with sluggish response and shifting to … artificially inflate mileage numbers. The Frontier has a responsive transmission and the V6 has plenty of power to get this truck off the red light. As to the cheap interior, it is a light truck not a luxury vehicle. I test drove the other models in this class of light truck and I saw nothing better. It is well better than the 2000 Ranger I used to own, and worlds better than my dad's trucks in the 1980s. If you want leather appointment and woodgrain dash, you are looking in the wrong class of vehicle. The visibility in the cab is better in the Frontier compared to the competition too, with the pillars blocking much less of the rear view. The seats are more comfortable than the Tacoma. The rear seats are a little tight, but not so tight that an adult can't sit back there and it fits a carseat, too. I don't understand the criticism of the handling, either. Once the steering is broken in, it has a good turning radius and the engine has enough power to get you through a tight curve hugging the road just fine. The factory tires could use an upgrade, though, to a Michelin or Goodyear radial. Overall, I'm very glad I purchased this vehicle and not the competition, and the price is right. UPDATE: Almost 3 years later and my opinion of this truck remains the same. It is a great deal for what you get. I've had zero problems with this truck, and it performs well. The gas mileage is a bit less, but now that I'm used to the truck my foot is a little heavier, too. I still get about 17-18 mpg combined.
5 out of 5 stars
The Pro 4x kicks butt!
2017 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Edmonds has this review as being a 2019 model, which is incorrect. My review is for a 2017 model, but I don’t know how to delete or change any way other than this. The Pro 4x with the luxury options offers full leather heated power adjustable seats with moonroof, roof rack, touch screen navigation, heated mirrors, great sound and true off road suspension. Strong engine and … surprisingly good handling. Get the Pro 4x loaded! it doesn't cost that much more, and it's a MUCH nicer truck than the base 4x model. What I wish it had: Auto up and down on all 4 windows. At least both front windows. Only the driver’s side has auto down. No auto up.
5 out of 5 stars
What a nice surprise
2017 Nissan Frontier Desert Runner 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I am writing this because of how surprised I was with the quality of the truck. I had a 2017 Tacoma which was a mistake. Don't get me wrong I have always had Tacoma's and loved them but the new model leaves a lot to be desired. This Nissan surprised me quite a bit. I have read some disappointing reviews so I tried it for myself. This truck is fast and the transmission shifts … perfectly, unlike the Toyota. I will admit it doesn't get the gas mileage the Toyota got but that was because Toyota fiddled with the transmission to make it shift weirdly to try to get better gas mileage. This desert runner is smooth and looks great. I got this truck for an amazing price about $9,000 less than the Toyota. As of the date of this writing, the reliability of Nissan Frontiers outweighs the Tacoma, Colorado and Canyon. I am very happy with my purchase. Only downsize is that it is a little small.
3 out of 5 stars
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...
2017 Nissan Frontier SV 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
The 4.0 V6 has good get up and go for a six. 4x4 is quick to activate, although would be better with an automatic engagement mode. Seats are comfortable. I love the cleat system in the box! Always a tie down where you need it! I have had several issues. Bad sensor in the climate control that took over a year to diagnose. Made the air start blasting, even in dead of winter! … Replaced a leaking valve cover, overflow tank and radiator all under 15000 miles. Taking it back because still stinks of leaking coolant. Gas mileage isn't great. I average 17. Needs to be revamped. It is behind the times on options. It is a quiet ride for a truck. The old school steering is very tight to start, making turning the wheel a workout.
2017 Frontier Highlights
|Combined MPG||19 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$209/month|
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||6,630 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the Frontier models:
- NissanConnect Audio Interface
- Upgraded emergency services such as automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and remote alarm notification are available.
- Zone Body Construction
- Front and rear crumple zones, Nissan says, can further reduce the chance of injury in a collision.
- Airbags with Rollover Sensors
- Roof-mounted supplemental curtain side-impact airbags with rollover sensors can protect the heads of outboard occupants in front and rear.
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover21.2%