2009 Nissan Frontier Introduction

The Nissan Frontier is a midsize pickup truck using a strong and proven 4.0-liter V6 engine, or a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder, with a fully boxed ladder-type chassis.

For 2009, the grille, front fascia, instrument panel have been slightly changed. There's also a new off-road model called the PRO-4X. The four-wheel-drive system for this model and other Frontiers is part-time 4WD with an electronically controlled transfer case offering shift on the fly.

The V6 engine boasts 261 horsepower, best in class, along with best-in-class towing and payload; but the EPA-rated fuel mileage with 4WD is just 15 mpg City and 19 mpg Highway. Safety features such as electronic stability control, side-impact airbags and airbag curtains are optional, while being standard with some of the Frontier's competitors. The Frontier earned four of five stars for the driver and five stars for the passenger, in government head-on crash testing.

We found the interior comfortable and well laid out, with good rugged standard fabric upholstery. The King Cab has auxiliary doors opening to two small folding seats, while the Crew Cab is a four-door with a three-seat bench in the rear offering comfort although limited legroom. The Crew Cab comes with standard or long wheelbase providing a 6-foot-long bed, same size as the King Cab's.

The ride is good with all models, and we drove them all, including the PRO-4X Crew Cab with off-road shock absorbers and rugged trail tires. The handling is tight and fairly nimble. On gravel roads, we found the 4WD works well to straighten things out.

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