- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nissan offers full-size comfort and capability in its all-new Frontier pickup truck lineup. Nothing has been carried over from its predecessor except the name badge. OK, there is one exception — an XE trim 4x2 King Cab is available with a modified version of the 2.5-liter in-line four-cylinder found in last year’s truck. The Frontier is available in only two cab configurations — King Cab and Crew Cab. There is no longer a regular cab offering.

The engine providing power for all but the optional four-banger King Cab XE is Nissan’s 4.0-liter VQ40 DOHC V- that includes Continuous Valve Timing Control System and produces 265 horsepower and 284 foot-pounds of torque, making Frontier the most powerful truck with V-6 power. The potent V-6 actually produces more power than some competitor’s high output V-8s. The engine mates to either a five-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, or to a six-speed manual gearbox. Towing capability is rated at up to 6,500 pounds when properly equipped.

There are three trim levels offered above the XE: the SE; the LE, and the NISMO. All are available in both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations. The four-wheel-drive system features shift-on-the-fly capability and an electronically controlled part-time transfer case. The NISMO equipment line makes its debut in Nissan’s truck lineup in the Frontier — up to now, the NISMO performance enhancements were available only for street-performance-oriented automobiles.

Styling closely resembles Nissan’s Titan up front. Nissan refers to the new Frontier as a “no-compromise activity tool” that’s built to outperform the competition. The Frontier sports short overhangs both fore and aft, with all hardware tucked up above the frame rails for off-roading consideration.

The wheelwells are surrounded by large, stamped and pronounced fender flares. The NISMO 4x4 features skid plates as standard fare along with four-wheel limited-slip advanced traction control.

Other useful off-road features include Hill Start Assist with no roll-back, and Hill Descent Control.

The interior offers locking underseat rear storage boxes on models not equipped with the optional Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. There are a dual glove boxes, and the pickup box is wider and comes with a factory spray-on bed liner, a light and provisions for Nissan’s UtiliTrack system and a flexible cargo area. There is a tube-type, functional roof rack available for Crew Cab models.

The test Frontier was a preproduction 4x4 Crew Cab in NISMO trim.

The base price was set at $26,750, which with the destination and handling charge came to $27,310.

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