2002 Frontier New Car Test Drive
Now you can haul four passengers and a full load of cargo at the same time because the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is available with a 6-foot long-bed.
This new, longer bed addresses one of the biggest drawbacks to the new crew cab compact pickups: short cargo beds. In the past, buyers have had to accept a short bed to gain real back seats: the bed on the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab short bed is less than 5 feet long (56.3 inches). That's not an issue for many buyers, but those who need a long bed really need a long bed.
Nissan's Frontier line offers a lot of excitement with bold, industrial styling and an optional supercharged engine. Frontier was redesigned for 2001. For 2002, the model line includes 19 configurations.
Two body styles are available, King Cab and Crew Cab. Each is available in three trim levels: XE, SE and SC. King Cab and Crew Cab models offer a choice of three engines: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a 3.3-liter V6, and a supercharged 3.3-liter V6. Each is available with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Desert Runner 4x2 V6 models are also available.
King Cabs offer front bucket seats and additional seating for two passengers in fold-down rear jump seats. King Cab beds are 74.6 inches long (6 feet, 2.6 inches).
Crew Cab Long Bed models are the biggest news for 2002. The long bed adds a 74.6-inch full-size bed (6 feet, 2.6 inches) to the full-size cabin with four forward-hinged doors.
The standard Frontier Crew Cab offers a 56.3-inch bed (4 feet, 8.3 inches).
Crew Cabs are available in XE, SE and SC trim. Frontier Crew Cabs are built on the heavy-duty four-wheel drive Frontier chassis, but are available in 2WD or 4WD. All Crew Cabs use the 3.3-liter SOHC V6 engine, with the SC having the factory-installed supercharger made by Eaton, a company with a lengthy history designing and building superchargers.
Desert Runner models are also available. Essentially a 4x2 King Cab V6, a Desert Runner is modeled after specially prepared off-road race trucks used to pre-run Baja and other big desert races. Desert Runners are two-wheel drive, but feature the same heavy-duty chassis, ride height and stance as the rugged Frontier 4x4 models. At roughly 500 pounds lighter than a 4x4 Frontier King Cab V6, Desert Runners offer the best power-to-weight ratio of any Frontier pickup. Desert Runners come with fender flares, skid plates for the engine and fuel tank, a full-size spare and four-wheel ABS (4-channel/3-sensor). Special badges distinguish Desert Runner models, which are available in XE, SE, and S/C models. The S/C model includes a supercharged 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 210 horsepower, with 246 foot-pounds of torque with automatic transmissions or 231 foot-pounds-feet of torque with five-speed manual gearboxes.
XE trim comes standard with the 143-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions are available.
Frontier prices start at $12,799 for a base 2WD King Cab with a four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual. You may want to add another $1199 to that figure, however, for the Basic Gear package that includes air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD stereo. The base model comes with 15-inch wheels. XE starts at $13,799 and offers a slightly higher level of trim.
SE adds cruise control; tilt steering wheel; in-dash six-disc CD changer and steering wheel audio controls. Leather is optional with the SE, not available on XE; the SE comes with 16-inch wheels.
S/C models come with 17-inch wheels and that supercharged engine delivering more horsepower and torque.
The top King Cab model, with supercharger and four-wheel-drive, is $22,949. The Crew Cab starts at $18,199 and the supercharged, long-bed 4WD version is $26,349.
Most buyers (about 70 percent) are opting for the Crew Cab, according to Nissan, with half of those buying the short bed, half buying the long bed.