2013 Nissan Frontier

S RWD 4-Dr Ext Cab I4 man trans

2013 nissan frontier Reviews and News

2013 Nissan Frontier PRO 4x Crew Cab Front Left Side View
With modern pickup trucks, the label "full-size" seems increasingly like a polite way of saying "obese," or at least "gargantuan." There are undoubtedly many pickup buyers who need all that width, length, and height, but for those who don't, the 2013 Nissan Frontier serves as a reminder that a pickup truck can come in a size other than XXL. Despite its less-prodigious footprint and less-towering height, the 2013 Nissan Frontier packs a lot of utility into a moderately sized package.
The 2013 Nissan Frontier isn't exactly news; the current iteration has been around since 2005. However, as competitors such as the Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon have fallen away, it assumes greater stature. The Toyota Tacoma is its only direct competitor but is slightly larger. The Honda Ridgeline is another sub-full-size entry, but its unconventional layout (more carlike, unibody construction with a transverse engine and front/all-wheel drive) makes it more of an alternative take on the genre.
The 2013 Nissan Frontier is available as a Crew Cab, with a four regular doors, or a King Cab, with rear-hinged half-doors. As you might expect, the King Cab rear seats are more like jump seats (for two); the Crew Cab rear bench (for three) has a reasonable amount of space, although it, too, suffers from a fairly upright backrest. Even if no one sits back there, however, the Crew Cab's rear compartment goes out of its way to be useful, as the rear seatback can fold flat and the rear seat cushion can fold up against the seatback. Under the seat there's an open cubby with a mesh top, good for stashing small items -- a first-aid kit, in the case of the truck I drove. I practically felt obligated to go out and injure myself rock climbing or mountain biking to be worthy of this thing.
My particular test truck was a 2013 Nissan Frontier 4x4 tricked out in PRO-4X regalia, which (probably not by accident) sounds like some kind of hardcore workout regiment and includes a bunch of mostly useful equipment. The PRO-4X brings with it Bilstein off-road dampers, skid plates, hill descent control/hill start assist, and a locking rear differential. For the same rugged look, but with 2WD, Nissan offers the Desert Runner, which shaves more than $5000 off the price.
My particular PRO-4X was further outfitted with the PRO-4X luxury package ($2850), which seems a bit like a contradiction in terms. It adds such niceties as a rudimentary navigation system, power seats, leather, seat heaters, power mirrors, a power sunroof, Bluetooth streaming audio and additional connectivity features, and additional utility in the form of a roof rack with cross bars.
Further enhancing this Frontier's utility was the bed extender/trailer hitch package ($560), which includes the exact two items you'd think it would. The former is particularly useful (and available on its own for $280), as it can slide fore and aft in the bed to corral your cargo; it can also fence in cargo when the tailgate is dropped, effectively turning the five-foot bed into a six-foot bed. (A long-bed version of the Frontier, with a six-foot bed, is also available as both a two-door and a four-door.) When you don't want to use the bed extender, it lifts right out (while convenient, this might make it subject to theft).
Two-door Frontiers can be had with a four-cylinder engine, but four-doors come only with Nissan's stout 3.5-liter V-6. Either can be paired with a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. The V-6's 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque earn it a maximum tow rating of 6500 pounds -- enough to pull a runabout boat, a popup camper, or many utility trailers, if not quite enough to pull a house off its foundation or the Space Shuttle down the street.
Is there room for realistic utility in the increasingly hyperbolic world of pickup trucks? If there is, the Frontier stands ready to serve, a vehicular Swiss Army knife in a field that seems to prefer a bazooka.

2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab

Base price (with destination): $31,065
Price as tested: $35,645
Engine: 4.0-liter V-6
Power: 261 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 281 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Drive: 4-wheel
Wheels: 16 x 7 in
Tires 265/75R-16 BF Goodrich Rugged Trail T/A
Fuel Economy: 16/21 mpg (city/highway)
2013 Nissan Frontier
2013 Nissan Frontier

New For 2013

A new front lip, a seal between the cab and bed, and various other aerodynamic add-ons help improve fuel economy by a few mpg. A new Desert Runner model for rear-wheel-drive trucks includes unique wheels, Bilstein shock absorbers, and special badges. The SV Premium Utility package is replaced by the Value Truck Package, and bundles floor mats, dual-zone air conditioning, a backup camera, parking sensors, and a trailer hitch. Glacier white, graphite blue, and cayenne red join the list of color choices. On all models, the grille, badges, and seat embroidery has been redesigned.


Although the Frontier is smaller than the full-size pickups that dominate the truck market, it is plenty of truck for most buyers. A fully boxed chassis, steel construction, and a leaf-spring rear suspension mean the medium-size Frontier has almost as much capability as a bigger vehicle. Ample tow ratings, a large bed, and a big interior make the Nissan a real workhorse. It’s available with a King Cab and hinged rear half-doors or with a four-door crew cab. There is a 152-hp four-cylinder engine for the base King Cab model, but all other trim levels get a 4.0-liter V-6 with 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. For serious work, four-wheel-drive models come standard with a low-range mode and can be equipped with a locking rear differential, tough Bilstein shock absorbers, and skid plates, making the Frontier useful off the beaten track. Hill-descent control and hill-start assist are standard on 4WD models with the automatic transmission. The Frontier’s interior has such practical touches as dual locking glove boxes, an optional fold-flat passenger seat, and lots of cupholders. The plain design and the durable plastics look a bit dated. However, the Nissan Frontier is nearly as capable as some full-size trucks, and its tidier dimensions and lower price make it an attractive choice for buyers who need to do light towing, hauling, or off-roading.


Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability and traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Hill-start assist and hill-descent control are standard on four-wheel-drive models with the automatic transmission.

You'll like:

  • Macho looks
  • All the truck most people need
  • Good payload and towing capacities

You won't like:

  • Somewhat dated interior
  • V-6 drinks fuel like the bid boys do

Key Competitors For The 2013 Nissan Frontier

  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Toyota Tacoma

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2013 Nissan Frontier
2013 Nissan Frontier
S RWD 4-Dr Ext Cab I4
19 MPG City | 23 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
2013 Nissan Frontier
2013 Nissan Frontier
S RWD 4-Dr Ext Cab I4
19 MPG City | 23 MPG Hwy
2013 Nissan Frontier
2013 Nissan Frontier
S RWD 4-Dr Ext Cab I4
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
2013 Nissan Frontier
2013 Nissan Frontier
S RWD 4-Dr Ext Cab I4
2013 Nissan Frontier
2013 Nissan Frontier
S RWD 4-Dr Ext Cab I4
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
2013 Nissan Frontier
2013 Nissan Frontier
S RWD 4-Dr Ext Cab I4

2013 Nissan Frontier Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.5L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
19 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
23 MPG
152 hp @ 5200rpm
171 ft lb of torque @ 4400rpm
  • Air Conditioning (optional)
  • Power Windows (optional)
  • Power Locks (optional)
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt (optional)
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
Recall Date
Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain model year 2012 through 2014 Frontier vehicles manufactured from November 28, 2012, through December 17, 2013. In the affected vehicles, a circuit breaker may have been installed incorrectly causing the main wire harness connected to the circuit breaker to face outward, potentially contacting a metal bolt located on the A-pillar.
The bolt may wear through the wire harness covering, resulting in an electrical short which could cause a fire.
Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the circuit breaker orientation. If the circuit breaker orientation is incorrect, dealers will repair the vehicles free of charge. The recall began on March 17, 2014. Owners may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.
Potential Units Affected
Nissan North America, Inc.

NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
IIHS Front Small Overlap

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