2005 Frontier New Car Test Drive
The all-new 2005 Nissan Frontier offers capabilities formerly reserved for full-size pickup trucks, but provides them in a more maneuverable and easier-to-park midsize package.
Sharing only its nameplate with the former Frontier, a compact pickup, Nissan's new midsize truck shares its full-boxed frame rails architecture with Nissan's full-size Titan pickup. The large V6 engine that is standard in all but the very base model of the new Frontier is more powerful than any of its competitors' five-, six- or even eight-cylinder powerplants.
With its strong chassis and powerful engine, the new Frontier provides up to 6500 pounds of towing capability and is capable of carrying payloads in excess of 1500 pounds.
The 2005 Frontier is available with rear- or four-wheel drive powertrains and in two body styles, either King Cab, with a 73.3-inch standard bed as well as two forward-facing rear seats, or Crew Cab, which offers a roomy passenger compartment with amenities much like those you'd expect in a sport utility vehicle, yet still provides a truck bed that's nearly five-feet long, even while its tailgate in its upright and locked position.
For the first time, Nissan offers the Frontier in a special Nismo off-road version. Nismo is short for Nissan Motorsports International, the automaker's racing and high-performance arm. Its upfit for the new Frontier includes special shock absorbers and tires, underbody component-protecting skid plates and an active traction system with technologies such as hill descent control and hill start assist.
The 2005 Nissan Frontier is available in four versions: the base version XE, the well-equipped SE, the more luxurious LE and the Nismo off-road model.
All except the XE are available in King Cab or Crew Cab configurations, in rear- or four-wheel drive and are powered by a V6 engine.
The Frontier XE ($15,500) comes only in the King Cab architecture, only with rear-wheel drive and only with a four-cylinder engine. However, the 2.5-liter inline four generates 154 horsepower. Built for the budget-minded truck buyer who needs to carry more people or cargo than a compact, standard-cab pickup can handle, the XE has crank-down windows, a five-speed manual transmission and 15-inch wheels. Options include a five-speed automatic transmission ($1,050); a preferred package ($1,500) that includes air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD audio system, tilting steering column, sliding rear window and privacy glass; cruise control ($250); and an airbag package with side airbags and curtain airbags designed to provide head protection ($550).
The 2005 Frontier SE, LE and Nismo are powered by Nissan's acclaimed 4.0-liter VQ family V6 engine, though now equipped and tuned for truck duty and producing 265 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. With a couple of exceptions, they come standard with a modern six-speed manual transmission and the option of an available five-speed automatic ($1,050).
The Frontier SE comes as a 4x2 King Cab ($18,400), 4x4 King Cab ($21,100), 4x2 Crew Cab ($20,550), or 4x4 Crew Cab ($23,250). Standard equipment includes air conditioning, chrome front bumper and grille, a sliding rear window, an AM/FM/CD audio system, tilt steering wheel. King Cab options include 16-inch alloy wheels ($300); a power package ($750) that incorporates windows, locks, mirrors and cruise control; an Active Brake limited-slip traction system ($300); and side-impact and curtain airbags ($550). The Crew Cab options list adds a vehicle security system to the power package ($900) and a sunroof ($700).
All Frontier LE models come with automatic transmissions, including the 4x2 King Cab ($22,200), 4x4 King Cab ($24,900), 4x2 Crew Cab $23,900) and 4x4 Crew Cab ($26,550). LE models come with all the standard features of the SE plus power mirrors, windows and locks; fog lamps, chrome exhaust tips, door handles and exterior mirrors; remote keyless entry; height- and lumbar-adjustable driver's seat; leather-wrapped steering wheel; illuminated vanity mirrors; compass and temperature readings and a trip computer; sunglasses holder in an overhead console; driver's side seatback map pocket, and a first aid kit. The options list includes upgraded audio systems with MP3 player and six-CD changer for the King Cab ($550) and a Rockford Fosgate system for the Crew Cab ($850), a traction package ($700), a leather package for the Crew Cab ($1,700), and XM or Sirius satellite radio ($400).
The Nismo setup is available as a 4x2 King Cab with automatic transmission ($22,000), a 4x4 King Cab with manual ($23,650) or automatic ($24,700), a 4x2 Crew Cab with automatic ($24,050) or a 4x4 Crew Cab with automatic ($26,750).
They share most of their standard and optional equipment offerings with the LE grade, but come standard with the active brake limited slip traction system, special off-road design wheels and tires, Bilstein shock absorbers and skid plates to protect underbody components from obstacles encountered when driving off pavement.
Options for all models include a sliding cargo bed floor tray ($220), a hard tonneau cover ($1,030), a sliding bed divider ($270), a non-sliding bed extender ($250), a sliding bed extender ($290), a tow-hitch receiver ($380) and bed rail caps and under rail bed liner ($430).