2019 Nissan Frontier: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
This October, the current Nissan Frontier will have been on the market for 14 years, and it shows no signs of going away.
Year, Make, Model: 2019 Nissan Frontier
Topline: Nissan announced Tuesday that its Frontier pickup will continue for at least one more model year, outlining the changes that will come with its 2019 update.
What's New: Lower-trim S and SV model Frontiers now have the seven-inch infotainment screen as standard, and Cayenne Red Metallic paint will also be available. The Midnight Edition variant, which was introduced in the 2018 model year returns with gloss black 18-inch alloy wheels and grille, plus semigloss black step rails, mirrors, door handles, and badges. Only automatic transmission crew cab models can be specified with this package, which comes in Magnetic Black, Gun Metallic and Glacier White paint schemes, each featuring color-matched bumpers.
What You Need to Know: The current Nissan Frontier has been in production since October of 2004 and was actually succeeded in other markets by a newer generation in 2014, upon which the Mercedes X-Class pickup is based. Its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine has been in use since 2002 on the Altima, where it is still used today, though the Altima has been redesigned three times since, while the Frontier has received just one facelift in 2009 to keep it relevant.
Nissan told The Drive that its updated Navara sibling was meant to be a global market vehicle, one not destined for sale in the States, and pointed to the Frontier's continuing market presence as the reason not to replace the vehicle. Despite its advanced age, Frontier sales have never really decreased. It has ridden the rollercoaster from a low of 28,415 in 2009 back to a high of 86,926 in 2016, and sales in 2018 are actually 1.8 percent up from 2017 figures year-over-year. It ain't broke, so Nissan has no reason to fix it.
Fans of Nissan's compact pickup trucks holding out for the updated model (or the return of its Xterra counterpart) may need to sit tight, as the Frontier's sales show surprising vitality, likely aided by its status as the cheapest pickup available on the American market. $18,990 gets a manual, four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive Frontier, while the cheapest competitor—the Chevrolet Colorado—butts in at $20,500. Despite the pending return of the Ford Ranger, Nissan showed no concern for the future of the Frontier's market share.
"Despite many new competitors coming into the segment over the past few years, sales of the Frontier have not been negatively affected," a Nissan spokesperson told The Drive. "In fact, they are up almost two percent for the year. Frontier remains the most affordable pickup in America, and an ideal size for people looking for a true mid-size truck."