Nissan Frontier

Car Review: Nissan Frontier D40 (2005-2013)

Pickup trucks have been round for decades and have been the popular choice for tradesmen and tradeswomen throughout the land. They are also the choice of workers on the farm. However, dual-cab pickup trucks, especially mid-size are fast becoming the ‘latest’ in cool street vehicles alongside SUV’s and ‘hot hatches’. So let’s take a look at one of the ‘in crowd’ – the second generation Nissan Frontier D40.  

Nissan Frontier

The Good

1. Tons of headroom – a friend of mine has one and still has space above his head – and he’s 6 ft 7 inches

2. Has won plenty of awards including the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Highest Side-Impact Safety Rating of 5 stars.

3. Plenty of engine sizes and transmission types available across the whole range

4. Very sturdy, these pickup trucks will last for well over 300,000 miles when looked after

5. Great use of storage under the rear seats with storage cubby’s featuring a flexible mesh cover

6. Features include the optional Nissan Utility Tie Down System including four heavy-duty cleats and five channels allowing for better stability when securing loads as well as the bed-extender and a bed-mounted tool box

7. Other optional extras include heated seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, Nissan Connect Infotainment System and a great Rockford Fosgate Stereo System

8. Many Packages available including the ‘Work Truck’, Midnight Edition’, ‘Moonroof’, ‘Premium’, and ‘Desert Runner’

9. Value for money – much cheaper than other mid-sized rivals Toyota and Chevrolet

Nissan Frontier

The Bad

1. The interior is basic in its design and didn’t change much over the years. It may not appeal to those wanting the latest gadgets and upmarket features

2. Transmission fluid mixing with and contaminating the coolant fluid (see below in ‘The Essentials’ for more information)

3. The ‘Blue’ paint Nissan used had a problem of flaking/peeling off – so make sure you take a close look at the paintwork if buying a blue model

The Essentials

When looking at an automatic model to buy, make sure before you test drive that you take off the cap to the coolant reservoir and look at the color of the fluid. If it looks like a ‘strawberry milkshake’ in color then this shows signs that the transmission fluid has mixed and contaminated with the coolant in the radiator which could cause premature transmission failure and a new radiator which can be costly, but necessary repairs. That was one of the main issues of the D40 between 2005-2010, caused by a radiator seal failure. Also check for any oil residue under the radiator cap or strange discoloration when you look at the dipstick. Check for tears in the driver’s seat as this can be a common problem. Make sure to do a thorough inspection under the truck for signs of corrosion from the elements or knocks to the frame from off-road adventures. If you’re buying through a dealer, then check any warranties for what is covered and for how long. This could be to your advantage if something costly went wrong. 

The Alternatives

Toyota Tacoma (2004-2015), Chevrolet Colorado (2004-2010), Honda Ridgeline (2006-2016)

The Verdict

8 out of 10

I know of people who have done more than 300,000 miles and up towards 800,000 miles who claim the Frontier is the best investment they have ever done. There’s even a delivery driver called Brian who is featured on Youtube with his 2.5 liter 4-cylinder 2007 King-Cab model with 5-speed manual transmission that has driven over one million miles on the original engine and transmission! As they say, it’s all about regular maintenance and servicing, as well as driving in a respectful way to your vehicle so you don’t deliberately cause any unwanted wear and tear or breakdowns. If I were to buy one, I would definitely purchase one with a manual transmission to avoid the automatic problems.

Comments are closed.