This week I tested the 2003 Nissan Frontier 4WD SC V6 Supercharged Crew Cab Pickup. Boy that’s a mouthful, but it is a lot of truck made especially for the kind of trip I made into Mexico.
The venture gives meaning to “Off Road”. But that is where the poor of Mexico live. In general, in fact, we in America seldom get off road. Here in Mexico you spend more time off road than you do on road when it comes to the small towns and villages.
And wouldn’t you know, not a few hours after crossing the border I saw the sister to the one I was driving. It was silver and had Baja California plates that made me think the 5 year 60,000 mile Powertrain warranty will be greatly challenged here in Mexico.
All things considered, this truck performed wonderfully here in the rugged country dirt roads and even smoothed out the otherwise poorly paved highways.
Parts – N/A
Assembly – Smyrna, TN, USA
Class: – SUV Special Purpose Vehicle
Cars: – 350Z, Altima, Frontier, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Sentra & Xterra.
I was thrilled to see Toyota is building a plant not 3 miles from this building site half way between Tecate and Tijuana. Thrilled because it’s about time we began to shore up the border communities of Mexico. As much as we think America is a better place to live it has more to do with the economy. If we did more of what Toyota is doing less would go to countries like China and south of the border would flourish. Bravo Toyota. Thanks.
Handling & Performance:
I’ve been off road for fun, but this was business and the erosion ruts were deep and wide and it was a big help to have the assurance I could handle anything Mexico could throw at me. 4-wheel high was great for the terrain and getting labor, materials and tools to the building site was a delight. I wasn’t impressed with the gas mileage however. But there were a few times the Supercharger gave a boost to safe driving. Big buses and trucks in Mexico are more ominous than in the US.
Rough and tumble is the image all truck manufacturers are trying to portray. That is true of this Frontier that was restyled in 2001, after its introduction in 1999. Nissan produces state of the art designs that are the sign of the time and very different from the cars and trucks they produced in the early 1960’s when I bought my first “Datsun”.
2001 redesigned. 2000 Old design.
Fit and Finish:
Outstanding for a truck. It is a very comfortable ride in part because it is relatively quiet and well screwed together.
More than a truck should have. It is almost undignified for a workhorse to be so well endowed. But it didn’t have a tape player. CD is the thing these days, but tapes are still in huge supply.
Competitive with all in its class. Equipped the way mine was pushes the price up the almost $27,000 and if you add leather, upgraded stereo and vehicle security you can push the price up to over $29,000.
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles you can keep the cost way down. But in any case this is the top dog of the competition in my view.
Nissan Frontier $13-27,000, Chevrolet S10 $15-24,000, Dodge Dakota $16-26,000, Ford Ranger $14-25,000, GMC Sonoma $15-25,000, Toyota Tacoma $12-22,000.
Comfortable ride, supercharged and attractive.
Poor fuel consumption, side rails look cool but are appendages in my view, long turning radius in the 4-WD models, no cassette player, 4-cylinder version is way under powered so you will likely opt for the V6.
3.3 liter V6 210 hp Supercharged engine, 5000 lb towing capacity, limited slip differential, Power front disc with rear drum ABS brakes, auto trans, independent front and solid rear axle suspension, 2-speed transfer case with auto locking hubs, 74 ft 6 inch double wall cargo bed with locking quick release removable tailgate, 17 inch alloy wheels, fog lights and cargo light, tubular roof rack and step rails, air conditioning stereo with 6 CD player, remote keyless entry, cruise control and tilt leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, compass and temp display, brushed aluminum interior trim, center console with 3 DC power outlets, 4-door crew cab, power mirrors, 8-way power driver seat, 5 passenger seating, dual air bags, 3 child seat anchors, skid plates for engine and 19.4 gallon fuel tank.
15 City and 18 Highway MPG.