SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS MODEL: Nissan Frontier 4x2 SE Crew Cab ENGINE: 3.3-liter V-6 HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 170 hp @ 4,800 rpm/200 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm TRANSMISSION: Four-speed automatic WHEELBASE: 116.1 in. LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 193.1 x 71.9 x 65.9 in. CURB WEIGHT: 3,847 lbs. FUEL CAPACITY: 19.4 gal. CARGO BED L X W X H:56.3 x 59.8 x 17.1 in. TIRES: P255/65R16 INSTRUMENTS: Speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, water temperature, digital clock. EQUIPMENT: Power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, cruise control, air conditioner, AM-FM stereo radio with in-dash CD player, anti-lock brakes, dual front air bags, side air bags. STICKER PRICE: $21,240
Even without its gaudy yellow paint, you'll recognize the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab rolling down the highway. It's a four-door pickup truck with four real doors, not just access doors. It could be described as a sport utility with a pickup bed attached. In any case, it's unlike anything on the highway today, although we'll guarantee that several manufacturers will have their own versions within a couple of years.
We know Ford will add a pickup bed option to the Explorer and the Lincoln Blackwood, a pickup version of the Navigator SUV, is in the future as well.
I can remember seeing railroad crews disembarking from four-door pickups in the past, but rarely have I seen these vehicles on the highway any distance from tracks.
The extra doors are real doors, not access doors as you'll find in some full-size pickups. The added ability to get in and out of the rear seats without having to open the front doors first and close them last is an advantage. We also used that back seat to carry golf clubs and I was able to throw my bag back there easily.
It is unfortunate, though, that the rear seat legroom is pretty tight. If you're going to go to the trouble of adding an extra pair of doors to a compact pickup, then you should extend the back of the cab to provide for better legroom inside. We had some visitors one weekend and, although Dennis isn't that tall, he felt cramped in the back seat. Another friend is shorter, but even he had trouble back there with the driver's seat pushed back.
The seats in the back are real seats, not the jump seats you'll find in some other trucks. They are more useful for children, though, not adults with long legs.
Also, the pickup truck bed is relatively short. It's probably good enough for what 90 percent of most people do with pickups. We used it to carry grass and yard clippings to the compost center and had more than enough room. I can see how perhaps in a major construction job it might not be good enough. It's a short bed, but it's fine for most applications.
Under the bright yellow hood of the Frontier was a 3.3-liter V-6 engine attached to a four-speed automatic transmission. We had great performance with this combination, chirping the tires on many occasions. We were able to maintain speed and accelerate fairly well.
The suspension is good for the truck. While it's not a super smooth auto quality ride, it's a lot more comfortable than many trucks I've driven. Part of this may be attributed to the fact that the Frontier Crew Cab is slightly heavier than a comparable compact truck and there's a greater percentage of weight on the rear wheels.
The front seats were individual buckets that didn't offer a lot of side support but they were fine for the application. We had a huge center console that helped hold us in on that side and the door son the outboard side. Instrumentation was basic and the sound system included an in-dash CD player but no cassette player.
Despite its gaudy paint job and "different" appearance, the Frontier Crew Cab is a practical vehicle. It has an extreme amount of utility to it. You can use it as a truck or a sedan and have carrying capacity behind you. Personally, I would rather have the cargo area covered, but you can always get an aftermarket cap for the bed. This is a unique vehicle and it offers something you're not going to find in many other vehicles.