Along with V8 engines and the manual transmission, compact pickups are on the endangered automotive species list. To fend-off extinction, Nissan has made a few important changes to the 2013 Frontier to lift its sales.
The Japanese automaker delivered just about 55,500 examples last year, up 7.2 percent compared to 2011. Good news, but the truck is still competing in a dying segment. Chrysler discontinued the Dakota and Ford’s Ranger is history, which leaves the Toyota Tacoma as its primary competitor. To keep things moving in the right direction, Nissan has cut the Frontier’s price and improved its fuel economy.
King Cab and Crew Cab models have been made $1,270 more affordable. Including $845 in shipping and handling charges they now start at $18,835 and $22,875, respectively.
The price of the SV Crew Cab 4×2 has been slashed by a not-insignificant $1,450, bringing its base MSRP (including destination and delivery) to $24,835.
Of course another way to move metal is to increase fuel economy, which is just what Nissan has done. Frontiers powered by the range-topping 4.0-liter V6 engine have netted the biggest gains. They’ve been made one mile per gallon more efficient in city driving and two on the highway. The upgrade comes courtesy of improved aerodynamics and engine optimizations to reduce friction. Other models are more economical as well.
Even though these enhancements are welcome, Nissan still has work to do. The thriftiest Frontier with a four-cylinder engine and manual transmission delivers 19 MPG around town and 23 on the highway. The FULL-SIZE Ram 1500 with a much more powerful V6 engine can return up to 18/25.