2009 Nissan Frontier – Click above for high-res image gallery Small pickups occupy an odd and oft forgotten spot in the over-hyped, Biggie-Sized truck segment, but making a case for their existence remains easy. Not everyone needs a larger vehicle or has the space for a full-size truck, and small pickups offer the utility weekend warriors require without necessitating an organ exchange at the pump. Although not as diminutive as their forebears, today's more compact dimensions are easier to cope with behind the wheel, and in this economy, moving down a rung in the pickup hierarchy is sure to save you a few dollars in monthly payments and insurance premiums. But is it just about a small footprint and an easy to swallow sticker? Or is just best to bite the bullet and option up for what some consider to be a "real" pickup? We test the 2009 Nissan Frontier to see if this squat truck has more than just measurements on its size to woo punch-drunk pickup buyers away from the latest and greatest in the full-size segment. %Gallery-68331% Photos Copyright ©2009 Dan Roth / Weblogs, Inc. The Frontier is exactly what it feels like: a smaller version of the Titan. It drives with a solid and willing feel that's roughly akin to the Maxima of trucks. A 4.0-liter version of the company's ubiquitous VQ engine kicks this thing around with plenty of authority, and the real four-wheel drive rig underneath lends more billy goat ability than most buyers will ever put to use. 261 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and, more importantly, 281 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, are churned out with an authoritative voice while burning cleanly enough to earn LEV2/ULEV emissions ratings. There is a four-cylinder version of the Frontier for buyers seeking a bit better fuel economy, but our sampler was an SE-trim 4x4 with a five-speed automatic and V6. The Frontier comes in extended King Cab or true four-door Crew Cab configurations. There's enough space in the demi-door King Cab for the average buyer, with plenty of storage cubbies and a roomier feel than even a full-sizer from 15 years ago, but the jump seats are only suitable for occasional use. If truck-pooling is part of your usage brief, go right for the Crew Cab, which has the side benefit of more creature comforts than the King Cabs. The materials in our SE were good for the class, if not gobsmackingly fantastic. In the end, it's a truck, and while it can be dressed up with cushier trappings, it's still a working-class vehicle first and foremost. It drives like a two-thirds scale version of the Titan. While the Frontier is comfortable and easy-driving, it won't skip town in the middle of the night if challenged to a showdown – there's serious hardware here. Solid foundations are provided by the fully-boxed F-Alpha platform, the same frame that gives the full-size Titan its rigid, dare we say, sporty demeanor. Sharing the Titan's bones, it's no …
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|MPG||15 City / 19 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||261 @ 5600 rpm|
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