FRONTIER (SV) — Tires: 265/65R17; wheelbase: 139.8 inches; length: 224.1 inches; width: 74.7 inches; height: 72.9 inches; suspension: double wishbone front, solid axle rear; steering: power rack-and-pinion; weight: 4,573 pounds; fuel capacity: 21 gallons; city: 18 mpg; highway: 24 mpg; base price: $34,040; price as tested: $36,600; website:

Just a couple months after testing the overhauled Frontier PRO 4-X trim, Nissan dispatched over yet another version of its best-selling pickups, an SV model with rear wheel-drive capabilities. However, both share the same power train. Indeed, if you want healthy acceleration, remarkable handling and great steering feel, then the Frontier will leave you with a smile on your face.

A 3.8-liter V6 direct-injection engine puts 310 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 281 pounds-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Its nine-speed auto gearbox is smooth and quiet, and its tow capacity is a decent 6,460 pounds.

Up front, the Frontier shows off a body-color grille surrounded by halogen headlights and daytime running lights. Its skid plate will boost the confidence of any driver who dares to venture on rough terrain, if even for a few minutes. The interior is airy and attractive with an 8-inch touch screen for infotainment hovering atop the dashboard. The large knobs for audio controls are worth a mention. A storage area under the second row can be useful if the 72.7-inch-long bed in the crew cab isn’t enough. The dual AC, manual tilt leather steering wheel, power door locks, cruise control, heated six-way power driver and four-way manual passenger seats, 60/40 rear seat, overhead sunglass holder, push-button start and satin chrome ring accents around the white-faced analog gauges come at no extra cost.

Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, front knee airbags, side airbag curtain, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and vehicle dynamic control, hill start assist, rearview monitor, auto emergency brake with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, front/rear crumple zones, front seat active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. Go for the $900 optional Technology Package with lane departure/blind spot warning, rear-cross traffic alert, rear sonar and auto brakes, high beam assist and intelligent cruise control, it will be well worth it.

So, why should one buy the Frontier? After all, it’s in no shape or form a full-size pickup. But the inexpensive midsize truck does serve the purpose of one with significant cargo and towing capability as well as commendable fuel efficiency while delivering a decent ride.

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