Today I drove home from the dealer with my new 2017 Frontier Pro4x Crew Cab - 6 speed manual (Gun Metallic)
I need to thank members of the ClubFrontier.org forum as I found the forum to be a valuable resource in the excruciating truck buying process. I'm just happy it's over.
Frontier conversion Timeline:
Homeowner/weekend project warrior
I inherited a 1994 Toyota Pickup Xtracab from my brother-in-law. The body was crap, but it still ran great. It was a second vehicle. It was my introduction to 4X4 along with the versatility of a pick up truck. I live in MA so being able to crush snow storms without fear was also an eye opener. At 163,000 miles and in need of some repair I sold it in 2011 for $1200. (might have been able to get some more, but I didn't feel like haggling over $500 +/-). That sale was my intro to the power of the Toyota truck reliability and resale value. I was a Toyota guy.
I consolidated 2 vehicles (beater truck and daily driver) into one truck. I was introduced to the high prices of new trucks along with the high mileage and resale pricing of trucks. I settled on a 2008 Toyota Tundra DC that came off of lease with 28,000 miles. I paid $19,500 which I thought was a decent deal. For me it was a big truck, but the Tacos were so darn expensive. I did like the ride. It was the random base model with the older 4.7 V8. I wasn't concerned about not having the 5.7 as the jump to a V8 alone was enough. I also liked the fact that the engine had a long run and solid reputation. I really thought the Tundra would be in the family for a long time and eventually I'd get a little shooter as a daily driver.
Fast forward to spring 2017. The Tundra is paid off. Mileage pretty good for a 9 yr old truck at 92,000. I was preparing for some standard large scheduled maintenance at 100,000 miles (timing belt and water pump, etc). After the last snow storm and use of 4WD I started hearing growls from the front and rear of the truck. It continued to get worse of the weeks. My MA inspection was due so I decided to take it to my mechanic to give it the once over. I had already researched the issue and had a good idea of what was causing the growl.
My mechanic confirmed my suspicion and dropped the bomb. Time for a new truck. The laundry list of repairs needed was much worse than expected. Some of the repairs needed were standard maintenance issues, but others were not. The brakes, rotors, caliper on front and rear were shot. I had replaced pads and 2 rotors at 70,000 miles. The growl turned out to be both the front and rear differentials shot. Toyota had put out a TSB for these, but never did a recall. Being out of warranty the cost to fix was about $2500 +/- each for new and/or rebuild. The radiator also had a leak. Basically it felt like at close to 100,000 miles the guts of the truck were falling apart. Personally I feel that with the early 2nd generation Tundras Toyota was still playing catch up to the Big 3 and under engineered major components to the Tundra. It was time for a change. The Toyota resale value remains high.
2017 - Spring
The hunt for a new rig begins. It didn't take long to narrow it down the choices to 3: Taco, Ridgeline, Frontier. The GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado were too big and expensive to start. I was really looking to downsize from the Tundra. I test drove all 3. I probably watched every YouTube comparison video out there on mid-sized trucks over the course of 3 weeks.
I thought I'd give it a shot b/c of the 6 speed manual for the TRD Sport or Off Road package. I disliked it more than I thought. The body is enormous, the cab is tiny, the engine is under powered and overpriced. All things that most folks have noted on YouTube and forums.
By far the smoothest ride. It was very smooth and fast. As folks have noted it's more of a crossover than a truck. It's a great vehicle, but it also was pretty pricey and I feared the first year model syndrome that folks advise to avoid. 2 friends recently bought a Ridgeline over the last month. One friend is in his late 30s and previously had Subaru Impreza. The other friend is in his 60s and previously had a Honda Accord. I won't lie that their purchases made me reflect a bit more on what I was looking for in my next ride along with the overall value.
It won hands down. I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the ride. I LOVE the size. I feel like I just lost 50lbs leaving the full sized Tundra. The truck fits in the garage! I really dig the 6spd manual transmission. It feels engaging and youthful at the same time (we'll see how I feel in a month, but I've always been a manual transmission guy at heart). The overall value and reliability of the Frontier are what sold me in the end. I like vintage/classic vehicles and ironically this has a vintage feel to it that I like when comparing to the newer competitor models. I hope to take advantage of the Pro4x off road capabilities sometime this summer in the NE region. I know this thing will be fearless in heavy snow. I'm glad it worked out and I was able to find the Pro4X manual fairly local. I also can't give Toyota too much crap as the resale value remained high and that help me justify purchasing new over used this round. It was just time for a change and perhaps Toyota quality is not what it once was. (That seems to be the consensus of many these days)
I look forward to many years in the Frontier along with visiting the forum for tips/advice. All the best to fellow Frontier drivers.