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Potential first truck owner. To give prospective of my experience, the everyday car is a Scion iQ. That's right: a micro vehicle. :angel: Because an iQ is the worst possible choice for home improvement use, I've been looking into owning a pickup truck. The Nissan Frontier S currently tops my list.

I've done some Google searching of vehicle reviews, but most of them read like not-so-hidden paid advertisements. Independent magazines are no better since they adhere to the doctrine of maximum horsepower to the exclusion of common sense (according to them, my Scion iQ sucks because it doesn't have a 600 hp twin turbo v8 engine).

I was hoping this community could help answer some questions I had. :)


Could I get away with v4 or is v6 a must have?
The real use I'm going to have for this truck is hauling store furniture, lumber, mulch, and bricks. Maybe a home appliance or two. I don't EVER intend to tow anything or go off road. I'm not one of those woodsy camper or boat owning fisher types. Would the v4 model be enough for my needs? I live on the east coast, mostly at sea level elevation, with practically no hills. The rare areas that have hills, I can easily take the interstate to avoid. I read that v4 pickups have power issues or feel sluggish, but this seems to be in the context of towing a U-haul trailer. Test driving a Frontier didn't answer this question for me, because I can't load it up with bricks from the local hardware store. Being a Scion iQ owner, which is one of the sluggish cars one can own, everything seems more powerful to me. Every decent review I can find is always using the v6 model.


How does the Frontier handle storage/winterization?
I'm single and my job involves a lot of traveling. Sometimes I'm away from home for 3 to 4 months. How does the Frontier handle inactivity for an entire season? I'll of course use gas stabilizer and synthetic oil to prevent damage on that end, but how does the Frontier perform with battery drain after sitting idle for entire weeks? Do need to unplug the terminals or have someone run it for 15 minutes twice a month?


Is the Frontier newbie forgiving?
Heh... a rather strange question. I've always driven small cars. My very first car was the infamous Ford Pinto. The second was a Toyota Yaris. As a result, I know I've picked up some "small car" driving habits that a pickup truck might not like. Do you think a Frontier is suitable for someone who's a first time truck owner? I'll probably be hitting curbs, making sudden stops, and doing sloppy 3-point turns until I figure out how to drive a vehicle this large.
 

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Narazazen said:
Could I get away with v4 or is v6 a must have?
The real use I'm going to have for this truck is hauling store furniture, lumber, mulch, and bricks. Maybe a home appliance or two. I don't EVER intend to tow anything or go off road. I'm not one of those woodsy camper or boat owning fisher types. Would the v4 model be enough for my needs? I live on the east coast, mostly at sea level elevation, with practically no hills. The rare areas that have hills, I can easily take the interstate to avoid. I read that v4 pickups have power issues or feel sluggish, but this seems to be in the context of towing a U-haul trailer. Test driving a Frontier didn't answer this question for me, because I can't load it up with bricks from the local hardware store. Being a Scion iQ owner, which is one of the sluggish cars one can own, everything seems more powerful to me. Every decent review I can find is always using the v6 model.
it's not a "V4", it's either a QR25 inline-4 or a VQ40 V6 in the Frontier.

IMO get the V6 if you can afford the payments, the Frontier isn't exactly a lightweight (especially compared to a 4-cyl. Scion iQ) so you'll want the extra power, even if you're not going to tow anything. Weight is weight.

Narazazen said:
How does the Frontier handle storage/winterization?
I'm single and my job involves a lot of traveling. Sometimes I'm away from home for 3 to 4 months. How does the Frontier handle inactivity for an entire season? I'll of course use gas stabilizer and synthetic oil to prevent damage on that end, but how does the Frontier perform with battery drain after sitting idle for entire weeks? Do need to unplug the terminals or have someone run it for 15 minutes twice a month?
If you store any vehicle that long, you should disconnect the battery (amongst doing other things you named)... any vehicle with ECUs eventually drain the batteries out.

Narazazen said:
Is the Frontier newbie forgiving?
Heh... a rather strange question. I've always driven small cars. My very first car was the infamous Ford Pinto. The second was a Toyota Yaris. As a result, I know I've picked up some "small car" driving habits that a pickup truck might not like. Do you think a Frontier is suitable for someone who's a first time truck owner? I'll probably be hitting curbs, making sudden stops, and doing sloppy 3-point turns until I figure out how to drive a vehicle this large.
Hitting curbs means nothing - you'll be in a truck! The only thing you'll have to get used to (obviously) is the length and the size. I'm guessing your Yaris was a hatchback? Going from any car to a truck with a bed is a different experience. Eventually you'll get used to eyeballing how close you are to the front bumper (it's not as easy as a small hatchback), and if you can afford it I'd recommend getting a model with the rear backup camera - it helps a lot with trucks.

GLHF
 

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I personally own a base S model with the inline 4. I bought it specifically because like you, I wanted a truck that was primarily for commuting and every now and again, hauling some stuff. Basically, I needed a large, roofless trunk, LOL.

I return an honest 23mpg with the four banger. My lowest tank was about 22.5mpg and my best a tad over 24. My driving is 95% highway.

I find the 4 to be adequate in power delivery. It is no road-burner. You're not gonna win drag races with it. Zero to 60 is about 13 seconds if I really get on it with the AC off. It is one of the friendliest and easiest stick shifts I've every owned and is a surprisingly comfortable ride for long distances (which I do a lot of). The S trim with the 4 cylinder is an unapologetic utility truck. That's why I like it. It doesn't pretend to be anything else.

Now, I have driven the 6 cylinder version at the dealer a few times and by comparison, it gets out there and moves. Yes, there are times I wish I had the 6, but usually only when I'm towing my mom's golf cart in city traffic, which is very rare for me. Even then, it isn't horrible, but does require some patience.

If I had to do it again, for what I need, I would buy the same truck again. The economy when not towing is outstanding compared to what I've seen on this forum for the 6 cylinder. But, as they say, your mileage may vary.

Lastly, you can search youtube, there is a full review on the S model, 4 cylinder going up the pass to the Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado, fully loaded. It did just fine.

Good luck and enjoy whichever way you go. These are great, reliable little trucks. Mine is my first Nissan and it hasn't disappointed yet.
 

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I'd say get the V6. I don't want to seem presumptuous but... while you may not THINK you'll be using your new
truck for much other than hauling things for your home repairs I'm certain once you own the truck you'll find
all kinds of things to do that you never even considered doing before. Helping family and friends do things
you never even thought to do before.

You may not be the woodsy type but once you have the ABILITY to go into the woodsy places you're going to
start wondering what's going on there and start peeking around... a good truck will take you in and out.

I'm thoroughly enjoying my frontier and would recommend to anyone that can get by with a mid sized truck.
 

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I went from a VW golf to the frontier as my first truck. Definitely takes some adjusting, but you get used to it quick. I got a pro4x because it's my daily and I wanted all the options. Don't regret a thing.
 

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I have owned the base 4 cyl and the V6. I would get the V6. It has much more giddy-up and the difference in the gas mileage isnt that drastic.
 

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The BIG difference w/in the S trim level is that the King Cab w/ an inline 4-cyl gets you a 6'1" bed...while the Crew Cab w/ the V6 will only get you a 4'11" bed. If you don't need the extra passenger space of a Crew Cab, but want the V6, then you'll need to step up to the SV V6 trim level...not to be confused w/ the SV 4-cyl. Should you want a Crew Cab along with a 6'1" bed then the SV Longbed is available to fulfill your needs. Capiche?
 

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Why not go to the dealer and drive both an I4 and a V6, If the 4 has enough power for your purposes get it, the mileage will be a little better.

If you are really going to store it all winter disconnect the battery as mentioned, I would also change the oil before storage. But why not drive it during the winter? You failed to give us your location but most parts of the lower 48 you can find several days each month that you can drive it with no problems, if you add a few hundred pounds in the bed (sand bags, railroad ties, cement blocks, etc.) it will do just fine in the winter. Maybe a lot better than your Scion.
 

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As others have stated, the thing that will take some getting use to is going to be the size. Parking, backing up, turning around....the Frontier has a horrible turning radius.

As for 4 or 6 cylinder....my other vehicle is a Chrysler 300 SRT8 with a 450hp Hemi. So my V6 Frontier CC feels like it slow and underpowered too me. I can not even imagine a 4cyl in such a heavy truck.
If you can, get a V6 model.
 

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Fellow S Model V6 owner here

I personally own a base S model with the inline 4. I bought it specifically because like you, I wanted a truck that was primarily for commuting and every now and again, hauling some stuff. Basically, I needed a large, roofless trunk, LOL.

I return an honest 23mpg with the four banger. My lowest tank was about 22.5mpg and my best a tad over 24. My driving is 95% highway.

I find the 4 to be adequate in power delivery. It is no road-burner. You're not gonna win drag races with it. Zero to 60 is about 13 seconds if I really get on it with the AC off. It is one of the friendliest and easiest stick shifts I've every owned and is a surprisingly comfortable ride for long distances (which I do a lot of). The S trim with the 4 cylinder is an unapologetic utility truck. That's why I like it. It doesn't pretend to be anything else.

Now, I have driven the 6 cylinder version at the dealer a few times and by comparison, it gets out there and moves. Yes, there are times I wish I had the 6, but usually only when I'm towing my mom's golf cart in city traffic, which is very rare for me. Even then, it isn't horrible, but does require some patience.

If I had to do it again, for what I need, I would buy the same truck again. The economy when not towing is outstanding compared to what I've seen on this forum for the 6 cylinder. But, as they say, your mileage may vary.

Lastly, you can search youtube, there is a full review on the S model, 4 cylinder going up the pass to the Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado, fully loaded. It did just fine.

Good luck and enjoy whichever way you go. These are great, reliable little trucks. Mine is my first Nissan and it hasn't disappointed yet.
I am in the same boat as @Pelican_Flyer. I went from a 2015 Nissan Quest to 2016 Nissan Frontier S and those two vehicles are day and night. yes the Quest was long but the Frontier was large so... (I spent most of my time driving a sentra tho so I was in your shoes as well.) Recently, I have used my V6 S Fronty to haul everything you listed and it hauled it without a breeze. I got a V6 because I grew up driving powerful cars and most of my weekends are spent hauling the crew along with the home improvement store stuff. Since you are single and do not have a crew yet, the I4 (not V4 ::wink::) would be best choice for you and not only that, like @raine said, unless you have a fat wallet, the I4 would be perfect for you. If the truck is going to be sitting around, you do have to unplug the battery and stick additive for the gas and oil. I am a frontier newbie and going mainly from a sentra as a dd to a Frontier took some adjustment but I got adjusted after 2 weeks so....

Another pointer that I like to always state is that the Nissan Frontier S I4 is the cheapest midsize truck in the market. With prices starting at around 19k, I would definitely have went with the I4 (if I did not have a crew to cab around ::grin::::grin::::grin::). For some people, 23k is alot for a V6 base fronty so... Since you are single and enjoy saving money, the I4 is the best choice for you. You will not regret buy either engine as both of them are excellent trucks.

There you have it.::laugh:: Two different (still newbies) Frontier S model engine owners have spoken. We have given you our perspectives and input as to which engine would be good for you as a potential S model Frontier owner. If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns to ask me @Lil' Fronty or @Pelican_Flyer, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Good luck with your purchase and lettuce ::grin:: lol know what you decide to purchase:nerd:

May the force of the base model Frontier be with you young padawan >:D
 

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My main question would be; Are you going to keep the Scion and have the Frontier as a secondary vehicle for chores only, or will the Frontier be your daily driver?

If you keep both vehicles I would recommend the 4-cyl because you will only be using it for hauling materials. If you are getting rid of the Scion and only have the Frontier I would say get the V6. The reason I say this is because the 4-cyl will be cheaper than the V6, so if you have two vehicles I imagine you will want to lower your costs as much as possible. But with one vehicle you might be able to afford a little more and the one vehicle you will want to be fully satisfied with.

As for the forgive-ability I would recommend getting the King cab, short bed. This will make the turning radius as small as possible with this truck. I lived in Seattle for a while so I got a Kia Soul which is super nice for parking/maneuvering. Then I needed a truck to haul materials for a construction job. So I got the Crew cab, long bed. That is the longest version of this truck and it was a bit¢h to try to get in and out of my parking garage, parking space, turning around to make a u-turn, etc, etc, etc. I got used to it but it is something to take in to consideration. As for curbs, like Raine said "you'll be in a truck" curbs are your bit¢h!

To date I have owned the Crew Cab, Long Bed and Crew Cab, Short Bed. I like the functionality of the Long Bed for hauling things (I've put snowmobiles, four-wheelers, motorcycles, skis/snowboards, lumber, camping supplies, and dogs in it). But I do notice a better turning radius with the short bed. Just make sure you allow for extra stopping distance especially at hwy speed, and you won't accelerate as fast so other cars may pass you more often.

And like tumbleweed said, go test drive a few. Any salesman will let you drive a few as long as it means he might get a sale out of it.
 

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I will always take horsepower over mileage.
I went from motorcycles to driving these.
To me, the Frontier is like driving a small car. Of course, I am use to full size trucks.
 

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If you are going to get the I4 - get the manual transmission!!!

My 1st Nissan was 2004 2wd Frontier with the I4 and an auto bought new. It was gutless on the highway. Gas mileage was crappy and the truck was annoying in the snow.
I traded it in 2007 for my current 2006 SE king cab V6 4x4 auto and was happy to get rid of that thing.



These guy do a good review on the Frontier S King Cab I4
 

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I will always take horsepower over mileage.
I went from motorcycles to driving these.
To me, the Frontier is like driving a small car. Of course, I am use to full size trucks.
I agree, with a full-size truck, you want horses. So, why show photos of such small trucks? They're cute and all, but let me show you a couple pics of my "full-size" truck. >:D

Sorry, I couldn't resist!::grin:::nerd:
 

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I showed the small trucks to let the op know that I went from riding motorcycles everyday to becoming the battalion wrecker operator. I didn't even own a car or truck before then.
 

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ive had i4 trucks, v6 trucks, and v8 trucks.

One thing to consider when choosing is youre going to need a given amount of power to move the truck and load. say 100 HP. Its a lot easier on an engine that produces 220 HP to produce 100 HP than it is for a 160 HP engine.

Basically, the more power you have, the less agressively youll have to drive it to move with typical traffic. obviously, you can drive both agressive or passively, but that wont move the same with flow of traffic.

and I miss my I6 shop truck the most.
 

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Like others have mentioned, skip the 4 banger. The V6 is just a better option, and far more popular. If you decide to tinker, there's far more stuff available for the VQ40 compared to the QR25. I used to drive a Sentra with the QR and it caused me nothing but headaches; whereas the only issues I've had with the VQ have been self inflicted. As far as drivability, I'd say the Frontier is no worse than other mid-size pick up on the market. It rides about as well as you can ask, yes the turning radius isn't great but I used to drive a long box Ford, and have driven extended cab long boxes, so I know how to handle a big truck. You might have to park at the back of the parking lot at first, but once you figure it out you'll be amazed at the places you can squeeze into. Lastly, I don't know what your driving environment is like, but around these parts small cars get bullied by geniuses in one tons with 12" of suspension lift and low profile 35s. I definitely like having a truck with enough get up and go avoid the coal rollers. YMMV.
 

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OK, here is a counter point: If you are getting the truck just for utility i.e. it has a particular job to do and you don't want to spend more for capacity you don't use, and you really refuse to tow anything, You might think the 4 looks attractive. But read on.

You said you will never tow anything. That means you will be limited to what will fit in the bed...which is small...6'1" tops. This means you will often run out of space before you hit other capacity issues. For example I once picked up a hot water heater in mine and put it in the back (mine is the crew cab with the tiny little bed). Had to have the tailgate down to make it fit. Anyway, the point is, the weight of that is next to nothing in the larger scheme of things; the issue was the space was full. This will apply to one use you mentioned which is furniture. You just can't fit that much furniture back there (I've had a recliner back there and not all that much more would have fit) and what you can fit, weight wise, will not tax the 4 banger. So again, if you really won't tow, the 4 banger will work fine if you stick to that no towing limitation.

You mention bricks though. That's another matter. Bricks are heavy. But...you will hit your maximum weight limit due to suspension limitations well before you reach the point where you don't have enough power. I just googled "how much do bricks weigh". I found a reference that says 1.7 tons for a pallet of 500 bricks. So how many bricks do you need to carry? I think the manual on my frontier says the cargo capacity is about 1,400 pounds?? So depending on how many bricks you plan to carry, expect to make multiple trips if you really are not ever going to tow.

Counter-counter point: You do need to tow. Why? Well, with the right trailer, and the V6 you could tow that pallet of bricks on the trailer. You could carry way more furniture volume wise in/on a trailer regardless of weight. I also once put a new front door back there...and that was all I carried on that trip. Same with pretty much all uses. The Frontier just doesn't have the bed size or weight carrying capacity to haul a whole lot in the bed. But putting the stuff you need to move on a trailer changes the picture entirely. My typical towing job ( enclosed snowmobile trailer with two snowmobiles) tops out at about 2500# to 2600# and the Frontier pulls it great. A lot of people pull much greater weights than I do and like I said, the pallet of bricks could be done with the right trailer...and as others have said, once you have a truck you start finding uses for it.

But you say: "I don't want to have to buy/own/maintain/store a trailer". No problem! Rent. My local small town U Haul place will rent me a trailer for a 1 day, return to the same location rate of a whopping $15.00. And by renting, you can choose different trailers each time depending on the task as opposed to owning where you are stuck with what you have.

So what this comes around to, is that even though the 4 banger sounds good price wise and seems "good enough", the V6 gives you far more flexibility and capacity for unforeseen usage. Initially, I was specifically buying the Frontier because it was right sized for my power sports addictions. But wow! Never thought at the time that the 16' snowmobile trailer was also very useful for hauling a couple of rolls of carpet, hauling a bunch of garbage and assorted crap to our town's annual cleanup day, helping my inlaws pick up a sofa, etc, etc.
 

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Ratman basically said what I was going to.

I came from driving cars mostly. And for the most part people in my area drive cars or SUVs. Some people act like the Nissan Frontier is really huge when they see it.

It took sometime for me to adjust to the length and the turning radius of the Frontier. There were a couple of places that I'd park that were really tight and would sometimes have to make like 16 point turns to get out.

Ended up getting a tip from my brother in law on how to reverse park and getting in and out of spaces haven't been as bad anymore. Although if I think that we'll be going somewhere where traffic or parking will be really bad will take the wife's car instead.

Five foot beds were all that I could really find in my area and wanted a crew cab. I find the five foot bed to be limiting at times but think it worked out for the best as it helped me adjust to it. But as others mentioned a six foot bed would be better for utility purposes.

They didn't offer a 4 cylinder crew cab back when I was shopping for trucks. I kind of briefly considered going to a Toyota Tacoma 4 cylinder 4x4 access cab later on. But most of the reviews about it talks about how weak the engine is. There was a thread on here not too long ago along similar lines about the 4 cylinder on the Frontier.

When I got the Frontier, I thought that I would never need a trailer or roof rack. But you'll run into situations where putting things in a bed isn't the best option. A lot of which ratman covered. So by going with the V6, you can always look into towing options if you ever wanted/needed to.

The V6 engine is supposed to be solid too and makes it easier to commute with if that's something that you would want to do with it.

I've often thought about going to a smaller more efficient car or something that can transport the family more easily. But I've decided that if I can only have one vehicle, a crew cab pickup probably meets all of my needs. ie can transport the family, available 4wd, utility value, etc. On a local forum around here some people insist that nobody needs a truck or larger vehicle and they can always rent whenever they need one. I tried the renting thing prior to getting the Frontier. And it's not as convenient or always works out like you would always hope. ie had to be driven to another branch of a rental company to look to see if they had a truck available. Knew someone who waited in line for a while to only find out they didn't have anything available and had to look into a more expensive option just to be able to take something that they bought home. And it's just nice to be able use it/do things whenever you think of it. ie early in the morning when you find out the weather is going to be nice or late at night when you find you have extra time on your hands, etc. So the cost of a truck might be a bit more but you pay for convenience.

If the only purpose of the truck would be for utility value and have another vehicle, I might consider getting a King cab as others suggested.

Oh another thing that took me a bit to adjust to is the RWD/light weight in the bed/knowing when to turn on/off the 4WD.
 

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Ratman basically said what I was going to.

I came from driving cars mostly. And for the most part people in my area drive cars or SUVs. Some people act like the Nissan Frontier is really huge when they see it....


...On a local forum around here some people insist that nobody needs a truck or larger vehicle and they can always rent whenever they need one. I tried the renting thing prior to getting the Frontier. And it's not as convenient or always works out like you would always hope. ie had to be driven to another branch of a rental company to look to see if they had a truck available.
Great points. On size, when my Frontier is parked next to my brother in law's Chevy 2500 it looks positively small :) Also looks small when sitting in the lot at work parked next to a co-worker's Tahoe.

On Rentals - while I highly recommended renting trailers, trucks are a different matter. As you mentioned, hard to find just what you need (I'm in a smallish town) but also expensive. Trailers are a different story. I can rent a trailer for 1 or 2 days and have found its really cheap when returning it to the same location where I picked it up.
 
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