In the Texas hill country near Austin, I climbed rocks with the redesigned more powerful Nissan Frontier mid-size truck and Xterra SUV. During the rainy season you can take your chopper or your Frontier to pull the cows out of the river. I figured out why the trees didn’t grow very tall, rocks, rocks and rocks. Which is good with the November flood season filling in the low spots in the roads. Even drove through Luckenbach Texas, but didn’t see Willie Nelson. Did see a bunch of bats in Austin flying out of a bridge on the (Texas) Colorado River. Back to trucks, Nissan gave both the Frontier and Xterra a larger 4.0L V-6 with more room and longer wheel bases. The Frontier is now more like big brother the Titan, sharing its boxed frame rails. You will see boxed frames in all trucks someday. The nose of the Frontier is more refined and balanced than the Titan. I hope the future Titans have less nose chrome. The previous Frontiers had plastic cladding and looked like a transformer toy. Great improvement all around here.
All new from the frame up. The Frontier is over engineered, using the Titan 5-speed automatic transmission, Dana 44 rear axle and frame rails. With the most horsepower in the midsize class, the Frontier sits low with great off-road capability. You can get 16″ or 17″ tires. Another technical advancement, you will see more of, is the variable intake cam on the Frontier and Xterra 4.0L for more torque and better emissions. I like the folding passenger seat for my laptop. And you think people driving using cell phones are dangerous, wait till you see me driving and reading email.
Awesome off road Nismo package with electronic locking rear differential, 4-wheel limited slip, Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, Bilstein shocks and Dual throttle mapping when using low range. Vehicle Dynamic Control keeps you going in the intended direction when the road has other ideas. Transfer case and driveline is tucked up above the frame for great protection. Hill Descent Control uses ABS, torque converter lockup and controls throttle to keep truck at 3.5 mph without input from you. You can speed it up, great for rock climbing. Hill Start Assist will hold the truck still when you stop for a couple seconds.
Wishbone front suspension instead of the strut that’s common to this size of truck, allows more room in the engine compartment. Longer rear leaf springs and longer wheelbase improve the ride over last years model.
Big improvement over the previous model in size, power and looks with the 4.0L 265 HP 284 torque on both Frontier and Xterra, 6500#’s towing with Frontier, 5000# towing with Xterra. 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual. Wheelbase for the Frontier is 125.9″. The bed on King Cab is 6.1″ and Crew Cab is 5′.
Cargo Management, don’t loose your load when I’m following you.
Utili-Track bed channels, sides, front and floor are great. The adjustable cleats adjust to cargo size. With small fines for cargo blowing out of trucks, a lot of folks don’t tie their cargo down. I’m glad to see Nissan address this issue on the Titan in 04 and now the Frontier. The bottom rail comes with a plastic cover when you don’t need it. I tried it on several size cargos and they stayed put. The cleats loosen up easily with a thumb roller.
With over 70 SUV’s to choose from, the loyal group of Xterra owners will be happy to see the changes for the 2005 Xterra. It’s still small enough for the true off-roading with some electronic help as described above on the Frontier. Both the Xterra and Frontier are quieter this year with less wind noise. The lockable lid in roof rack is new too. The step on the rear bumper corner makes loading the roof rack easier. The Xterra is made for camping and off-road exploring with 10 hooks to tie everything down. Utili-Trak on the rear vinyl floor with 2 channels and adjustable cleats.The recognizable bump on the rear tailgate as before is for the first aid kit. The second row seats back pops out, you know, they tell you on airlines that your seat cushion is a flotation device. During the Austin flood season, it might come in handy. With the front folding passenger seat, you have 9 ft inside for your ladder so you can measure the water crossing the road on Thanksgiving.. The double doors on the glove box is unique, gives the kids something to do.