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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Nissan Frontier Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Nissan Frontier Overview

Rugged and Ready

The Nissan Frontier is more than just a basic utility vehicle, it's full of attitude, power and creature comforts that place it in a league all its own. Ever since Nissan started its "hard body" advertising campaign back in the mid 80's, their pickup truck line has drawn an almost cult-like following. With the Frontier, you get a truck that says as much about your sense of adventure as it does about your sense of good taste.

Though the Frontier is offered in a variety of trims and configurations, we chose to test the top-of-the-line King Cab model. For the record, the Frontier does not offer a regular cab, so the line-up for all trims begins with the extended King Cab, expands to the long bed version and ends with the four-door Crew Cab model. The SE trim has been dropped from the line this year. We were fortunate enough to spend some time playing with the most powerful of the Frontier trucks, the King Cab 4x4 V6 SC. The SC stands for supercharged, but we'll get to that bit of excitement all in good time.

A quick walk around the Frontier is all it takes to get the feel for this truck's true mission in life; it's an eye magnet, drawing stares from all types of people both young and old. If you like to be noticed wherever you go, this is the truck for you. Of course, it helped somewhat that our Frontier was painted a brilliant metallic silver that, when combined with the Frontier's riveted wheel arches, aggressive blunt-nose front end and big five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, practically screamed, "hey, check me out!"

Lest you get the idea that the King Cab is all for show, we direct your attention to the very useful six-foot bed, complete with standard bed liner. The double-walled box keeps objects inside the bed from punching through to the outside sheet metal and features four tie-down hooks in addition to a set of vertical grooves that allow you to section off parts of the bed using simple wood planks as dividers. Should you opt for a shell top, the rear gate can be locked, securing your valuables inside. The Frontier also features a standard rear cargo light, bright enough to illuminate every corner of the bed.

Inside, you'll find more storage space behind the front seats—a useful space for storing valuables or delicate items not fit for an open bed. Although Nissan does provide a third rear jump seat in the cab area, the Frontier's extra cab space is not really suitable for carrying passengers for any extended period. Front seat passengers, on the other hand, will love their accommodations. The Frontier's wide bucket seats are thickly padded with firm foam for good support all around; the driver is extended an additional dose of comfort with an eight-way adjustable seat and manual lumbar support. In between the driver and passenger is a full console complete with cup holders, map storage and two 12-volt power points. The dash design mirrors the outside of the truck, with broad curving lines and industrial silver-faced paint adorning the instrument cluster and center stack. The thick four-spoke wheel features a tilt function as well as controls for the cruise and audio functions. Speaking of audio, the Frontier's optional Rockford Fosgate system is not to be passed up. With 300-watts pumping through nine speakers and a built in subwoofer, your music will never sound better.

At the heart of the Frontier truck is the supercharged 3.3-liter V6. This engine pulls just fine without the additional hardware and is the standard engine in the XE models. By bolting on the supercharger, the 3.3-liter gets an additional helping of horsepower to add to its already potent torque rating. With 210 horsepower and 245 lbs-ft. of torque (automatic transmission) there isn't much to stop the Frontier from lighting up its rear tires at every intersection. The V6 provides all the low-end torque to start the Frontier moving and then passes the baton off to the supercharger, which comes to life right around 1600 rpm. Nissan says that the Frontier SC can tow up to 5000 pounds with the automatic transmission and up to 3500 with the five-speed manual.

On the road, the Frontier definitely displays its basic truck roots. The ride is stiff and reacts strongly to bumpy pavement, dips and potholes. The big tires seemed to have a mind of their own, requiring constant minor inputs to the steering wheel to keep the Frontier on track. The power steering is a bit too light and over assisted, further distancing the driver from the road. This setup may seem flawed, but in off-road situations where you have to do a lot of sawing back and forth, the Frontier's power assisted steering is ideal. For those who do venture beyond the confines of the curb, the Pathfinder offers a basic four-wheel drive setup that includes a high/low transfer case and shift-on-the-fly controls. Although the Frontier's four-wheel drive cannot be used under normal driving conditions, Nissan does offer its VDC traction control and stability program that helps the driver regain control of the vehicle should it begin to slip or lose traction.

In addition to the long list of standard features, you can equip your Frontier with a host of options that include leather seats, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, pop-up sunroof, bed extender, skid plates and a collapsible bed storage box round out the Frontier's list.

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