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2017 Nissan Frontier: What You Need to Know

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 8/27/2018 U.S. News & World Report
a close up of a car: 2017 Nissan Frontier© Nissan North America, Inc. 2017 Nissan Frontier

A relatively low price and an excellent predicted reliability rating make the 2017 Nissan Frontier a good value. It's not a great buy if you can afford more, though, with issues like poor fuel economy and an underwhelming base engine pulling it toward the bottom of our rankings.

Is the 2017 Nissan Frontier a Good Used Truck?

The Nissan Frontier is a decent truck. Though it lands toward the bottom of our compact truck rankings, its score is not far off from the rest of the pack. Many of its strengths are tied to its low price and excellent predicted reliability, making the Frontier as a superb choice as a budget-friendly vehicle.

Beyond these qualities lie faults that aren't very appealing, though. The Frontier has one of the weakest base engines in the class (when it comes to horsepower rating), one of the worst fuel economy ratings, and one of the lowest payload ratings. You should weigh these drawbacks carefully before you get persuaded by its low price tag.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Nissan Frontier in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with more than 80 professional Nissan Frontier reviews.

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2017 Nissan Frontier?

The Frontier is significantly less expensive than its rivals. The average price – based on 1,707 listings of 2017 Frontiers on our used car site – is $23,600. In comparison, the 2017 Toyota Tacoma is estimated to cost around $8,900 more. Factors such as cab style, trim level, and vehicle condition impact a used truck's price, so you may see Frontier prices as low as $19,600 or as high as $29,000.

How Much Does the 2017 Nissan Frontier Cost to Own?

Over five years, you'll need to budget around $26,800 for a 2017 Frontier's insurance, fuel, repair bills, and maintenance costs. That's more than our estimates for the 2017 Toyota Tacoma by about $1,700.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Frontier?

For 2018, Nissan added a rearview camera and Bluetooth as standard features in the Frontier. Most 2017 models come with Bluetooth, but only select upgraded editions feature a rearview camera. The wide variety of configurations and trim levels makes it hard to compare the cost of a new 2018 Frontier, which has a starting MSRP of $18,990, with the average price of a 2017 model. You may be better off buying new in some cases, but a used model might be a better value in other cases.

For less than the average price of a 2017 Frontier, you can buy a new 2018 Chevrolet Colorado. Its starts at $20,200, but for $23,700 (only $100 over the 2017 Frontier's average price), you can get a Colorado WT. Even these lower trim levels come with a respectable engine, smooth handling, and a quiet cabin, although both are relatively light on comfort and tech amenities.

Which Model Year of the Nissan Frontier Is Best? 

The 2017 Nissan Frontier is part of the second generation of Frontier, which launched for the 2005 model year. Over the last few years, this pickup has changed very little when it comes to styling, features, and overall score in our ranking. You may able to save some money by shopping for an older model year. 

How Reliable Is the 2017 Nissan Frontier?

The Frontier has a predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five, which is one of the highest among compact pickup trucks.

2017 Nissan Frontier Recalls

No recalls have been issued on the 2017 Frontier as of the date of this review.

See more information on Nissan Frontier safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Frontier Model Is Right for Me?

There are two main considerations when it comes to shopping for a Frontier: cab-and-bed configuration and trim level. The five-person Crew Cab body style comes in every trim level, and while most include a 5-foot bed, some are available with a 6-foot-1-inch long bed. The four-person King Cab comes only with the longer bed and is available in all but the top-level trim.

A four-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive is the standard setup. Mechanical upgrades include a V6 engine (standard with a six-speed manual transmission) and an optional five-speed automatic. Every four-wheel-drive Frontier is powered by the V6 engine.

Trim levels for 2017 include S, SV, Desert Runner, Pro-4X, and SL. Off-road enthusiasts will want to opt for a Desert Runner or Pro-4X. These V6-powered trucks come with trail-ready gear such as upgraded tires and Bilstein off-road performance shocks. Pro-4X models also get an electronic locking rear differential, skid plates, and a spray-on bedliner.

For the best value, we recommend the Frontier SV with the V6 engine, which is notably more powerful than the base four-cylinder. In addition to gaining basics such as power windows and locks, the SV trim level includes satellite radio, a sliding rear window, and remote keyless entry.

Certified Pre-Owned Nissan Frontier Warranty

Buying a certified pre-owned Frontier gives you a CPO warranty that's fairly typical for the industry. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

How Safe Is the Frontier?

The 2017 Frontier received mix results for its crash tests. It has an overall rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That rating breaks down into a five-star side crash rating, and three-star ratings in the rollover and frontal crash categories (four-wheel-drive Frontiers have a four-star rollover rating).

From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Frontier earned the highest rating of Good in three areas (moderate overlap front, side, and roof strength), a second-place Acceptable rating for head restraints and seats, and the second-lowest rating of Marginal for the driver-side small overlap front test.

Advanced safety features are very limited in the 2017 Frontier. Only select models come with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors, and high-tech systems such as forward collision warning were not available.

2017 Nissan Frontier Versus the Competition

If you're looking for a pickup that will take the smallest bite out of your budget, stick with the Frontier. It typically costs thousands less than its rivals. For shoppers that can spend more, a few alternatives offer better off-road skills, higher towing capacities, and superior levels of refinement.

Which Is Better: 2017 Nissan Frontier or 2017 Toyota Tacoma?

In our compact pickup truck ranking, the 2017 Toyota Tacoma is one of the best choices for off-roading enthusiasts. In fact, it's as if this truck was built under the mantra, "work hard, play hard." Whether you’re toiling away or hitting a trail, the Tacoma is ready for action thanks to its durable interior, lively powertrain options, and flexible hauling abilities.

Which Is Better: 2017 Nissan Frontier or 2017 Chevrolet Colorado?

The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado is a top choice if you need a compact pickup capable of heavy-duty hauling. It offers a class-leading tow rating of up to 7,700 pounds (matched only by its fraternal twin, the 2017 GMC Canyon). The Colorado is more than just a rough-and-tumble truck though. It treats occupants to a quiet and comfortable ride, a handsome cabin, and a notable list of standard amenities.

2017 Frontier Performance

How Does the 2017 Nissan Frontier Drive?

The base Frontier engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 152 horsepower, which is one of the least powerful base engines in the class. The optional 4.0-liter V6 offers much more grunt, though this 261-horspower engine isn't as refined as what you'll find under the hood of some competitors. A manual gearbox (five- or six-speed, depending on the engine) is standard with both engines, and a five-speed automatic transmission was offered as an upgrade.

Handling is also a mixed bag for the Frontier, though this is a category that is often best evaluated on an individual basis. For the most part, the Frontier is stable and smooth. However, some reviewers noted that its ride can be rough and that its steering is slow and heavy. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive was an optional upgrade.  

Does the 2017 Nissan Frontier Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Frontier's four-cylinder engine has one of the lowest fuel economy ratings in the class, at 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission. That's all the more reason to pick the upgraded V6 engine. It's rated at 16/23 mpg city/highway, and is estimated to have the same fuel costs as the base engine.

2017 Nissan Frontier Towing Capacity

The Frontier can tow up to 6,710 pounds when properly equipped, which is a mediocre towing capacity for a compact pickup truck.

2017 Frontier Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Frontier Seat?

A Frontier King Cab seats four people, and a Frontier Crew Cab seats five. Between the King Cab's rear-hinged doors and jump seats, it's best to sit people in the back seat only on an occasional basis. The Crew Cab's bench seat is far more comfortable, and its full-size doors make it much easier to climb in and out of the back seat. Still, this zone is still fairly small. Luckily, there's plenty of room in the front for long legs. 

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Nissan Frontier?

Both Frontier body styles come with two sets of lower anchors and three top tether anchors. In Crew Cab models, all three tethers are in the back seat. King Cab models have the third tether attached to the front passenger seat for installing a child safety seat in that location.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the LATCH system in King Cab models the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use, noting that the tether anchors can be tricky to locate. Crew Cab models earn the second-lowest rating of Marginal. Its tether anchors are challenging to find and may be confused with other hardware, and it's hard to install a child seat using the lower anchors.

2017 Nissan Frontier Features

The Frontier doesn't come standard with much – even air conditioning, power windows, and power locks are upgrades. That said, there are a number of appealing options to look out for. Most models come with Bluetooth audio streaming and phone connectivity, a USB port, an iPod interface, and satellite radio. If you can afford it, we recommend looking for a Frontier outfitted with the easy-to-use NissanConnect infotainment system.

2017 Nissan Frontier Dimensions

Nissan Frontier Cargo Space

All Frontier King Cab models come with a 6-foot-1-inch bed. Crew Cab body styles can have either this bed, or a shorter 5-foot bed. Some Frontiers may also come with the optional Utili-track system, which is a series of built-in channels and moveable tie-down cleats. Both of these upgrades allow for flexibility when securing cargo.

Nissan Frontier Length and Weight

The Frontier ranges in length from 17.1 feet to 18.3 feet. The curb weight ranges from 3,776 to 4,596 pounds. The gross vehicle weight rating tops out at 5,816 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Nissan Frontier Built?

Nissan built the 2017 Frontier in Mississippi alongside the 2017 Nissan Murano and 2017 Nissan Titan.

Read the full 2017 Nissan Frontier review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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