Engine and Transmission

Engine and Transmission

Engine and Transmission Rating:

The Frontier has the least powerful V-6 in its class and an archaic five-speed automatic transmission. Still, it has comparable towing capacities and can be fitted with a five-speed (four-cylinder only) or six-speed manual gearbox.

What’s New for 2018?

The only thing that’s unique about the Frontier’s powertrains is that an antiquated five-speed gearbox is the lone automatic option. Its standard four-cylinder and available V-6 are unchanged and can be paired with a five- or six-speed manual, respectively.

2017 Nissan Frontier

While we haven’t tested a Frontier with the standard 152-hp 2.5-liter inline-four, shoppers should take its meager output and limited tow rating into consideration before they buy. The optional 4.0-liter V-6 isn’t as sophisticated as the competition, but it has decent performance. Making 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, the Frontier Pro-4X defeated the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro in our acceleration tests. Nissan’s six-cylinder didn’t disappoint in daily driving and provided plenty of pep for passing. Its antiquated five-speed automatic was a suitable partner that sorted gears admirably but without haste. Still, the V-6 groaned under hard acceleration, and turning the key during startup elicited an old-school whine from the starter.

Test Results: Acceleration


Tow Ratings Compared

Compared with its V-6 rivals, the Frontier’s 6710-pound maximum tow rating is decent. The diesel-powered Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are capable of towing up to 7700 pounds, but at a much higher price.

Payload Ratings Compared