Nissan’s 2018 Frontier mid-size pickup has the best prices in its range

Mid-size pickup trucks like the Nissan Frontier are today’s true utility vehicles, equally suitable for work, commuting, shuttling family and friends with their stuff, and toting sports equipment to your favorite sites. Clean one up and you’re good for date night. Two 2108 Frontier trims are set up for desert racing or rock-crawling, respectively. And regardless of how you use a Frontier, the starting cost is way below competitors.

Mid-size trucks are good for the same tasks as full-size trucks, but on a slightly smaller scale and at much lower price points. A perennial favorite, the Frontier is the bargain of the mid-size pickup pack. The base Frontier starts at $18,900, more than $2,000 less than the least expensive Chevy Colorado ($21,195) and $6,000+ less than the least costly Toyota Tacoma ($25,200). The price differential continues up the trim lines. You’ll pay north of $8,000 less for the highest level Frontier ($32,780) than for the top model Colorado ($41,355) or Tacoma ($41,500).

The 2018 Frontier lineup continues from 2017 without much change. The few changes Nissan did make with the latest version of its midsize pickup truck reflect the functional and style trends in the overall truck market — where changes aren’t treated lightly.

The new Midnight Edition, available on 4×2 and 4×4 Frontier SV trim with the 5-seat Crew Cab, adds spiffed-up gloss and semi-gloss black accents and components for the blacked-out look that’s currently in fashion. Starting with the 2018 trucks, all Frontiers now have rearview cameras. The standard equipment list also includes air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free phone operation, a 5.0-inch color display for infotainment access, and Siri Eyes Free.

The Frontier sold in the U.S. is still in the second generation that began with the 2004 model year. A basic re-do may be on its way, but for now, the Frontier holds its own in the U.S. midsize truck market. In 2017 the conventional body-on-frame Frontier was the third best-selling midsize truck, following the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado. The Nissan was also the eighth best-selling truck overall, including the much higher sales volume and dollar cost full-size pickups such as the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Ram 1500.

Which 2018 is best for you?

Two body styles, two engines, two drivetrains (4×2 and 4×4), and five trim grades make up the 2018 Frontier lineup. Selection isn’t as confusing as it might seem, however, because the body styles and trim levels determine the other factors.

The Frontier’s two-door King Cab (what others call an extended or double cab) and 4-door Crew Cab each come with a single, different box length, with one exception. All King Cab models have a 6-foot, 1-inch box. Crew Cabs all have a 5-foot box, except the Crew Cab with SV trim which also offers an optionally longer wheelbase for the 13-inch longer, 6-foot 1-inch box.

The trims include the base S truck, slightly upgraded SV, and fanciest SL trim (Crew Cab only) all available in 4×2 and 4×4 versions. The 4×2-only Desert Runner and 4×4-only PRO-4X complete the lineup. The S and SV grades are powered by a  2.5L inline 4-cylinder engine in the King Cab configurations. Other King Cab trims and all Crew Cab trucks are powered by a  4.0L V6 engine. The SV King Cab is available with the V6 as an option but the Frontier S is restricted to the 4-banger.

2018 Nissan Frontier King Cab models

Frontier King Cab models have flip-up rear seats for two passengers. The King Cab trim starting prices range from $18,990 for the Frontier S 4×2 with 5-speed manual transmission to $32,780 for the 4×4 Frontier PRO-4X.

2018 Frontier S King Cab

The least expensive Frontier S King Cab, starting at $18,990 with the manual shifter ($22,410 with the automatic), has four seats and four doors and is EPA rated to average 19 mpg in the city, 23 mpg in highway driving, and 21 mpg combined. The S King Cab can tow a maximum 3,760 pounds.

The S trim standard equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels, cloth seats,  AM/FM/CD audio with four speakers, and removable rear under seat storage with lids. The only option package available for this trim is the Frontier S Work Truck Package ($750), which adds a spray-in bed liner, bedrail caps, and rubber floor mats and splash guards.

2018 Frontier SV King Cab 4-cylinder

Slightly more equipped than the S, the Frontier SV 4-cylinder King Cab trim starts at $23,210 ($24,260 with automatic transmission). The SV gains 16-inch steel wheels, power door locks and windows, remote keyless entry, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and upgraded cloth upholstery.

2018 Frontier SV V6 King Cab

The Frontier SV V6 King Cab, $24,970 to start, has the 261 hp-V6 and is available only with the 5-speed automatic transmission. Also a four-seater, the SV V6 is EPA rated for 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway/19 mpg combined and can tow up to 6,710 pounds with the 4×2 version. The 4×4 EPA rating is 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway/17 mpg combined. The SV V6 has 16-inch aluminum wheels,

The SV V6 Value Truck Package ($1,890) adds rear sonar, dual-zone auto A/C, fog lights, two extra speakers, heated front seats, vehicle security, a sliding bed extender, trailer hitch, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

2018 Frontier Desert Runner King Cab

If you like to drive fast, especially on dirt and desert off-road trails, and you don’t intend to crawl rocks or dig through mud or deep sand, the 2-wheel drive Frontier Desert Runner King Cab could be your ride. Equipped with the V6 and automatic transmission at its $25,650 base price, the Desert Runner King Cab has the same features as the SV V6 plus Bilstein shocks, 16-inch off-road aluminum wheels, white-faced gauges, and Desert Runner cloth seat trim.

2018 Frontier PRO-4X King Cab

The Frontier Pro-4X King Cab, $32,780 to start, and available as a 4×4 only, ups the off-road performance ante and dares you to find places it cannot handle. The PRO-4X adds to the SV V6 standard equipment with extras on the Desert Runner plus an electronic locking rear differential, and skid plates on the fuel tank, oil pan, and transfer case.

Frontier Crew Cab PRO-4X models can add the optional $2,100 Premium Packagewhich features leather-appointed seating with a PRO-4X logo, 8-way power driver’s seat, 4-way power front passenger’s seat, dual heated outside rearview mirrors, rear fold-down center armrest, a moonroof, and a roof rack with crossbars.

Trim  2018 Frontier S King Cab 2018 Frontier SV King Cab 4-cylinder 2018 Frontier SV V6 King Cab 2018 Frontier Desert Runner King Cab 2018 Frontier PRO-4X King Cab
Base price 4×2 $18,990 (manual), $22,410 (automatic) $23,210 (manual), $24,260 (automatic) $24,970 $25,650 N/A
Base price 4×4 N/A N/A $27,860 N/A $32,780
Base engine 2.5L Inline-4 2.5L Inline-4  4.0L V6 4.0L V6  4.0L V6
Base horsepower  152 hp @ 52,000 RPM 152 hp @ 52,000 RPM 261 hp @ 5,600 RPM 261 hp @ 5,600 RPM 261 hp @ 5,600 RPM
Base torque 171 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM  171 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM  281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM 281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM 281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission  5-speed manual/5-speed automatic 5-speed manual/5-speed automatic 5-speed automatic 5-speed automatic 5-speed automatic
Fuel  Regular gas  Regular gas  Regular gas  Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity   21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons
Fuel economy 4×2 MPG city/highway/combined  19/23/21 19/23/21 16/23/19 16/23/19 N/A
Fuel economy 4×4 MPG city/highway/combined N/A N/A 15/21/17 N/A 15/21/17
Maximum towing weight 4×2  3,790 pounds 3,790 pounds 6,710 pounds 6,690 pounds N/A
Maximum towing weight 4×4  N/A N/A 6,510 pounds N/A 6,450 pounds
Base wheels  15-inch steel 16-inch steel 16-inch aluminum  16-inch aluminum  16-inch aluminum
Box lengths 6-foot 1-inch 6-foot 1-inch 6-foot 1-inch 6-foot 1-inch 6-foot 1-inch

2018 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab models

Crew Cab Frontier trucks seat five, with a 640/40 split rear bench seat that folds flat for easy storage. All Crew Cab models use the 261-hp V6 and the shorter, 5-foot truck box, except the SV V6 model which can be configured with the longer, 6-foot 1-inch box. Starting prices for 2018 Frontier Crew Cabs range from $24,300 for the 4×2 Frontier S Crew Cab with a 6-speed manual transmission to $36,160 for a 4×4 Frontier SL Crew Cab. The SL, which includes niceties such as standard leather seating and a power moonroof, is not available in a King Cab configuration.

2018 Frontier S Crew Cab

The $24,300 base price 4×2 Frontier S Crew Cab is only available with the Nissan 261-hp V6. Standard equipment includes AM/FM/CD audio with six speakers, rearview camera, a 5.0-inch infotainment display, 16-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, a tailgate spoiler, and a rear window defroster. The 4×4 Frontier S trim starts at $28,840.

2018 Frontier SV V6 Crew Cab

The SV V6 Crew Cab, $26,100 starting price, adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and power outside mirrors to the S feature list. The SV also has a sliding rear window. SV models have a longer options list, including a tilt and sliding moonroof.

The SV Value Truck Package ($1,890) adds rear sonar, Dual Zone Auto A/C, two additional speakers, auto-dimming mirror with compass and temperature, spray-in bed liner, Utili-Track system with four adjustable tie-down cleats, heated cloth seats, fog lights, a vehicle security system), sliding bed extender, trailer hitch, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

2018 Frontier Desert Runner Crew Cab

Like its King Cab counterpart, the Desert Runner Crew Cab, starting price $27,080, has Bilstein shocks, a satin chrome grille, Desert Runner cloth seat trim, and trim-specific graphics and style accents. The Desert Runner is only available in a 4×2 configuration, but its mud and snow-rated all-terrain tires on 16-inch off-road aluminum wheels are set up for fun — just don’t get confused and get stuck thinking the Desert Runner can take you everywhere the PRO-4X with 4-wheel drive and additional off-road features can go.

2018 Frontier SL Crew Cab

The SL Crew Cab, $33,310 base price, has everything included with the SV V6 Crew Cab plus 18-inch aluminum wheels, the versatile Utili-Track Channel System for securing cargo, leather-appointed seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a standard tilt and sliding moonroof (new for 2018), body-color side moldings and step rails, fog lights, Nissan’s Navigation System and Mobile Apps, a Rockford Fosgate audio system with ten-speakers, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, heated front seats, and a rear sonar system.

2018 Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab

The Pro-4X Crew Cab, $32,490 to start, is the 4×4-only, go-anywhere setup with Bilstein shocks, electronic locking rear differential, and skid plates.  If you like a little more comfort while you’re crossing mountain ranges, the Frontier Crew Cab PRO-4X model, like the King Cab versions, can be ordered with the $2,100 Premium Packagewhich features leather-appointed seating with PRO-4X logo, 8-way power driver’s seat, 4-way power front passenger’s seat, dual heated outside rearview mirrors, rear fold-down center armrest, moonroof,  and roof rack with crossbars.

Trim  2018 Frontier S Crew Cab 2018 Frontier SV V6 Crew Cab 2018 Frontier Desert Runner Crew Cab 2018 Frontier SL Crew Cab 2018 Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab
Base price 4×2 $24,300 (manual), $25,350 (automatic) $26,100 (SWB),
$27,710 (LWB)
$27,080 $33,310 N/A
Base price 4×4 $28,840 (automatic) $32,130 (manual, SWB),
$29,290 (automatic, SWB), $29,710 (automatic LWB)
N/A $36,150 $32,490 (manual), $33,450 (automatic)
Base engine 4.0L V6  4.0L V6  4.0L V6  4.0L V6  4.0L V6
Base horsepower  261 hp @ 5,600 RPM 261 hp @ 5,600 RPM 261 hp @ 5,600 RPM 261 hp @ 5,600 RPM 261 hp @ 5,600 RPM
Base torque  281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM 281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM 281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM 281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM 281 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission  6-speed manual/5-speed automatic 6-speed manual/5-speed automatic 5-speed automatic 5-speed automatic 6-speed manual/5-speed automatic
Fuel  Regular gas  Regular gas  Regular gas  Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity  21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons  21.1 gallons
Fuel economy 4×2 MPG city/highway/combined  16/22/19 16/23/19 16/23/19 16/23/19 N/A
Fuel economy 4×4 MPG city/highway/combined 15/21/17 16/21/18 N/A 15/21/17 16/21/18
Maximum towing weight 4×2  6,640 pounds  6,640 pounds 6,640 pounds 6,480 pounds N/A
Maximum towing weight 4×4  6,370 pounds  6,370 pounds N/A 6,250 pounds  6,290 pounds
Base wheels  16-inch steel 16-inch aluminum 16-inch aluminum  18-iuch aluminum 16-inch aluminum
Box lengths 5-foot 5-foot, 6-foot 1-inch 5-foot 5-foot 5-foot