The third generation of the Nissan Frontier pickup truck debuted last year. We were happy to see that it remained a “trucky truck,” keeping to its core values of being useful and very much a pickup. For 2023, a couple of changes are made, but nothing that interferes with that.
We looked it over and did a walkaround of the 2022 Frontier about a year ago, if you’d prefer a video screening of this little truck. That assessment still stands for the 2023 model year, though we note a couple of changes.
First, the 2023 Nissan Frontier now has a Midnight Edition blackout styling package that runs in line with other Midnight Edition packages on other Nissan vehicles like the Pathfinder and Rogue. In addition, Apple CarPlay is now wireless on all Pro-X and Pro-4X models (which we drove) as standard.
The new design for the third-generation Frontier is more contemporary and less rounded than its predecessor (which you can see here). Nissan managed to take this new Frontier into solid truck territory, in terms of looks, without just making it a “mini Titan.” We’re glad for that as if it were just a smaller version of the Titan, it would, frankly, just not look good.
Inside, the new Frontier, there are vast improvements. It’s still cramped in the back seat, no matter the cab configuration, but materials choices and layout are far more upscale. Where the Frontier was really falling behind before was in its interior fit and finish, which was more 1990s than it was 2020s. Fixing that goes a long ways towards making this truck feel a lot better. Here’s video if you want a full walkthrough.
The 2023 Nissan Frontier comes in a few configurations. There’s an extended cab and a four-door (King Cab) option. The extended cab allows for a longer six-foot cargo bed while the King Cab can be either 5-foot or 6-foot in most models. There are three trim levels for the 2023 Frontier: S, SV, and Pro-X/Pro-4X. Rear-wheel drive is standard in all models except the Pro-4X, which is four-wheel drive by default. Most models (except the Pro-X) can upgrade to 4WD.
Nissan has done away with the manual transmission option that used to be in the base model of the Frontier. All models now use a new nine-speed automatic. Every Frontier is powered by a 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that outputs 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque.
From the base model of the Frontier on up, standard features include push-button start, alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (wired), and forward collision warning with emergency braking. Things improve from there with each successive trim package, which can add things like dual-zone climate controls, better audio, a sunroof, LED headlamps, etc. The Pro-X and Pro-4X packages add off-road gear like a locking rear differential, Bilstein shock absorbers, and more.
The new Midnight Edition for the 2023 Nissan Frontier builds off the SV crew cab to add black alloy wheels, black exterior badging, LED lighting up front, and black interior accenting.
The new Nissan Frontier is a much better drive than its predecessors in terms of on-road presence and comfort. Much of this comes thanks to the higher-geared transmission and smarter chassis. Off the road, the Pro-4X model is still a strong goer with a good design for general off-road use. It’s not a rock climber or big jumper, but it’s definitely good at most of the off-pavement things people tend to do in their small pickups.
Price-wise, the 2023 Frontier is in line with most of its competitors, starting at about $30,500 plus delivery. Most buyers are going to be in the $40,000 range after they’ve added packaging and upgrades. This is slightly cheaper than chief rivals from Toyota and General Motors, but still in the same ballpark.
Towing in the 2023 Nissan Frontier is rated at up to 6,690 pounds, with most models hitting at right about 6,200 pounds. Cargo is rated at up to 1,620 pounds. Actual numbers depend on configuration, of course. But these numbers are more than consistent with the average in the mid-sized pickup category.
The Frontier is unabashedly a pickup truck. This, to us, is the most appealing part of its entire design. Its persona is clearly fixed on going places and doing things, whether it’s hauling some lumber for a home project or bouncing up a trail to get to a prime fishing spot. And that’s what we love about it.
This review originally published on CarNewsCafe.com.