Those nine years must have been something. And who cares if it was almost 160 years ago – those nine glorious years when Texas was a republic have remained a mark on the land and a source of pride for the people who live here.
It’s easy to see why.
Consider Johnson City: located off to the side of the interstate and hidden by a landscape of peach trees, Johnson City is a quiet and retiring place – barely a city, really, yet exactly the kind of place that would rear a President and tell you that no sir, the city is actually not named for LBJ – but his grandfather. That’s Texas. Homegrown, tall and tough – and in case you forgot, the only State in the Union that used to be a Republic. And sure, they may only be a state now, but the current President is a friend and they sure can pick a poser out of the crowd. Which is why import automakers come here when they want to see if their trucks make the grade. This is truck country, and if you can build one that beats the bush in West Texas, why, maybe you’re on the edge of doing some serious business with cowboys.
If that’s the case, better saddle up Nissan and their little upstart Frontier truck. The 2005 Nissan Frontier is a rock solid truck that handles highway and washed-out ravines with pluck, a truck with power and poise that’s destined to compete with the Toyota Tacoma and Dodge Dakota for its share of the mid-size territory.
First introduced three years ago, the Frontier draws its genealogy from the Hardbodies of the eighties, at least up until now. Now it’s based on the same F-Alpha platform as the full-size Titan, Pathfinder and upcoming Xterra, which a strong step forward and in between compact and full-size – the place where most serious competitors in the smaller truck segment seem to be playing today. This ain’t your Daddy’s Chevy Luv – in fact, it’s more a mini-Titan, a big, beefy truck that can haul, tow, go off-road and do all the things a full-size must do, in a more compact and urban-friendly size. It’s more than 9 inches longer than the previous version, much more powerful and designed for rugged travel, thanks to the fully boxed frame and fixed axle rear. It’s so much different, in fact, that there really is no point to comparing it to the 2004 Nissan Frontier.