What's New for 2015:
- SV and Desert Runner get standard NissanConnect with Mobile Apps and 5-in. touch-screen display
- PRO-4X gets standard navigation system
- SL long-wheelbase version gets standard power sunroof
- Arctic Blue exterior paint color replaces Graphite Blue
Remember when car companies sold compact pickup trucks? Today, those don't exist, replaced by midsize pickup trucks that offer marginal fuel-economy improvements over modern full-size trucks and are purchased mainly because they are less expensive and easier to maneuver.
The 2015 Nissan Frontier is a midsize truck, available in extended-cab and crew-cab body styles, with a choice between a 4-cylinder or a V-6 engine, and available with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive (4WD).
Models and Features
The King Cab is the extended-cab version of the 2015 Frontier, and it comes in S, SV, SV V6, Desert Runner, and PRO-4X trim levels. Choose the Crew Cab model with 4 full-size doors and the Frontier is offered in S, SV, Desert Runner, PRO-4X, and SL trim levels.
The Frontier S is the work truck, and that's why the Frontier SV includes so many upgrades. Highlights for the SV include a NissanConnect with Mobile Apps infotainment system including a 5-in. touch-screen display, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and auxiliary audio input jack, and a USB port. The Frontier SV also has air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, power exterior mirrors, cruise control, and a tilt steering wheel. A set of 16-in. aluminum wheels is standard for this version, and the Frontier SV offers a number of exterior and interior trim and convenience upgrades above and beyond the standard Frontier S.
The Frontier Desert Runner is a rear-drive, Baja-style truck with off-road shocks, more aggressive tires, and unique 16-in. aluminum wheels. Fog lights, a satin chrome grille, and a body-color rear bumper dress up the outside, while the cabin is equipped with embroidered cloth seats with white contrast stitching, 8-way manually adjustable driver's seat, and a trip computer.
True off-roading capability comes in the form of the Frontier PRO-4X. This version has standard 4WD, skid plates, a locking rear differential, and off-road tires. Automatic headlights, splash guards, a reversing camera, and rear park-assist sensors are also standard, along with a cargo bed featuring a spray-on bedliner and a Utili-Track bed channel system with tie-down cleats.
Inside, the PRO-4X features a navigation system and upgraded NissanConnect features including a hands-free text-messaging assistant, Google online search, SiriusXM data services, and more. Dual-zone automatic climate control with a cabin air filter also comes standard, along with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, compass, outside-temperature display, upgraded trip computer, first-aid kit, and heated front seats facing a leather-wrapped steering wheel and white-faced gauges.
The Frontier SL includes many, but not all, of the PRO-4X model's upgrades but is designed to be an upscale truck equipped with leather seats, power-adjustable front seats, premium audio system, heated side mirrors, and more. The SL also gets side-step rails, additional chrome trim, and unique 18-in. aluminum wheels.
Under the Hood
A 152-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard for the Frontier King Cab in S and SV trim levels. A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a 5-speed automatic transmission optional, and these rear-wheel-drive trucks can tow up to 3,500 lbs. and carry up to 971 lbs. of payload.
All other versions of the 2015 Frontier are equipped with a 261-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 engine and a choice between a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Depending on configuration, maximum towing capacity is 6,500 lbs., and a Frontier with a V-6 engine can haul a payload of up to 1,524 lbs.
A 4WD system is optional for the King Cab SV V6 and most Crew Cab models, but 4WD does come standard in the Frontier PRO-4X. The Frontier Desert Runner models are offered only with rear-wheel drive.
Select the Frontier's 4-cylinder engine and this truck gets anywhere from 17 mpg in the city with the automatic transmission to 23 mpg on the highway with the manual gearbox. Compare that to the far more powerful V-6 engine, which is rated to return 15 mpg in the city with the automatic and 4WD and up to 22 mpg on the highway with 2WD and either transmission.
Safety and Technology
Frontiers equipped with 4WD have a 4-star (out of a possible 5 stars) rollover-resistance rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while the 2WD version is rated 3 stars. The NHTSA has not performed crash tests on the Frontier. Safety-related options include a reversing camera and rear park-assist sensors, offered only on Frontiers equipped with a V-6 engine.
In terms of infotainment technology, all 2015 Frontiers except the base S version feature NissanConnect with Mobile Apps technology, allowing the truck's owner to pair a smartphone to the system in order to enjoy Bluetooth music-streaming capability, access to popular social media platforms and Internet radio stations, and more.
When paired with the available navigation system, NissanConnect with Mobile Apps supplies voice-recognition technology, hands-free text-messaging assistant, Google online search, and numerous SiriusXM services including news, weather, local fuel prices, among others.