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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just picked up a pre-owned 2016 crew cab short bed 4x4 with the SV Value Truck Package last weekend! 17,000 miles on her. Private owned, local truck. All of the others around here are either previous rentals or fleet-owned and/or from out-of-state. Literally the fanciest vehicle I've ever owned.

I'm coming from a 2002 Ford F250 crew cab, long bed, 4x4, with a 4" lift and 34" tires. I will certainly miss being able to tow or haul anything without giving it much of a thought, but I realized that I was a 1%'er with that truck. Meaning, I was keeping that truck for the 1% of the time that I need to tow/haul heavy, and compromising the other 99% of the time when it comes to maintenance, fuel economy, maneuvering, off-roading, etc.

It's nice that I can now stand on the ground while working on the engine, and the bed is much easier to climb in and out of. Also, the Frontier rides like a cloud and maneuvers like a go-kart compared to the F250. Mine was leaf-sprung front and rear, so it took nearly 70' to make a U-turn. Right turns in parking lots were impossible without swinging into the oncoming lane. The cab has a step-in height of 33" (running boards dropped it to 22"), which I was fine with if it was once or twice a day. But when I have to climb in and out of the truck 30 times a day, it gets a bit tiring. I was also height, weight, and length restricted in a lot of places (city streets, parking garages/structures/lots, trails, etc.).

Only real compromises are with towing and hauling. I tow a Honda Civic race car on a flat deck trailer around 6 times a year, whose combined weight is around 5,000lbs. Hoping the Frontier can yank her over the Grapevine Pass here in Central/Southern CA without too much drama. I used to tow the race car in an 8.5x24' enclosed (GVWR 9,900lbs) with the F250, but realized that I was just hauling around more junk that I never used. So I sold the enclosed in preparation for selling the F250 and getting a Frontier.

Why the Frontier and not a 1/2 ton? I've always said, the only reason that one should choose a midsize over a 1/2 ton is if parking is tight and/or you want to go off-roading on narrower/tighter trails. I've always had to park my trucks outside because having something 80" wide in a standard residential garage makes for tight quarters. The Frontier is 73" wide, which is the difference between opening the doors comfortably or just a sliver.

Why the Frontier and not a Tacoma or Colorado? The Tacoma bed is composite plastic, which doesn't take a beating too nicely and is virtually impossible to repair. It has a C-channel frame and rear drum brakes. The Tacoma is a few inches longer, but that extra room is mostly in the back seat, which I couldn't care more for. The seats are also mounted low, like a car.

The first-gen Colorados, well, sucked. And the second-gen are too new for my liking. The Frontier has been largely unchanged for nearly 13 years, so most of the kinks aught to be ironed out by now (hopefully).

My F250 has 2,000lbs of payload, so I could easily hitch on the enclosed, load the car, toss a bunch of gear in the bed, along with 2 guys in the cab plus me, and still be under weight limits. The Frontier has 1,157lbs of payload and I plan on getting a mid-rise camper shell, so I might be down to 1,000lbs. Plus 600lbs of tongue weight from the trailer means I have 400lbs left for...everything else. Will be doing some downsizing of the gear for sure.

Overall, I feel liberated having the Frontier. I can go anywhere a car can, and then some. Can take her off-roading on narrower trails since she's 8" narrower, 5' shorter, and half the weight. The front seats are way more comfortable. Back seats suck, but it's a mid-size truck, so I'm not surprised. I seldom have one passenger, and have two passengers maybe 5 times a year.
 

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I'm with you all the way. I had a 2004 250 6.8L V10 that I pulled a 5th wheel with. Could do 80 floored towing 7000# up the hills of I81 in northern PA no sweat. Worked great for that but at the cost of ~9mpg avg towing. I also commuted with it about 50 miles 1-2 days a week when wife needed the car; best I ever got was 13mpg in my life with it. One close experience I had with turning the beast was when I did a U-y towing across an 8 lane, no median, highway outside of Wilmington, NC (no traffic in sight for about 1/2 mile). I barely made the turn; thought I was going to have to back up. By then traffic was 1000 feet away. Not the tightest turning radius.

I haven't got my Frontier yet but it's in my plan; can't wait to turn on a dime and get great mileage with a pu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The V10 is definitely an underrated towing engine. 425ft/lbs of torque at 3250rpm. The best fuel economy I got was 15mpg going 60 miles an hour once I hit the valley floor from the Grapevine Pass. I cruise at 55mph up the Pass when towing. If the Frontier can do the same, I'd be more than content.

Since Frontiers are widely used in the rental industry, I actually rented a Frontier from Enterprise for a week to try out in my daily life before committing to a purchase. I got a 2017 PRO4X and averaged 19mpg on the same run to the race track where the F250 usually got 12.

The turning on the Frontier sucks compared to the competition, but it's fantastic compared to my F250. The fact that it's so short makes up a bit for its 40-something-feet turning circle.
 
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