Every so often I get the opportunity to buy a new car. I say every so often as I have to pay off the previous car before I buy my next. This time I went with an Asian brand and again one that is built in North America.
I said to myself about five years in to owning my, admittedly pretty sweet, 2012 Honda Civic Si sedan that as much as I like to go fast, I’d like to sit up higher and tackle a different kind of challenge. Dirt and rocks. Something for which my Civic Si is not particularly suited.
I do like driving quickly but over the last eight years I have been wanting something a bit more relaxing to drive on my way home from a week to two on the road driving a transport truck. The Civic Si is fun, but I wanted a truck.
So, with my tax return in hand, I decided to look into a pickup truck.
As you know there’s really only a limited amount of options out there. Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, Ram, Nissan and Toyota are what you have to choose from. Ford has the F-150 and the Ranger, Chevrolet/GMC have the Silverado 1500/Sierra 1500 and the Colorado/Canyon, Ram has the uh Ram 1500, Nissan has the Titan and the Frontier and Toyota has the Tundra and the Tacoma. Oh and yes I am blatantly ignoring the Jeep Gladiator which is the ugliest vehicle on the market right now until Tesla drops the Cybertruck.
Immediately the half-ton trucks were axed as my budget did not allow for them. That left the Ranger, Colorado/Canyon, Frontier and the Tacoma.
Digging further I wanted to get something that was pretty competitive off-road from the factory so I didn’t have to do a lot of aftermarket modifications. This crossed off the Canyon and the Ranger leaving us with the Colorado, Frontier and the Tacoma.
Right now you are saying, well if you want resale value you have to go with the Tacoma. I cannot deny the fact that Tacoma resale value is incredible. There are examples on Autotrader and Kijiji Autos of Tacomas that are piles of rust and their owners still want over eight thousand dollars for them. It’s nuts.
That said, I don’t care for resale value. I will most likely keep this truck until it’s dead.
The other problem with the Tacoma is the TRD Pro double cab model of the truck is incredibly expensive starting at $56150 CAD and with tax that is an incredible $65676 CAD. That’s a lot of money. Nearly double what I wanted to spend. Not to mention, my local Toyota dealer only had a TRD Off Road in stock (which technically could have been fine though it was not a double cab).
Next there was the Colorado. Well, I wanted the most off road capable so that meant the ZR2 package. Love the look of that truck but again, no local dealers had one. Not even a Z71 which I would have considered. It was also a bit out of my budget range as well ($44871 CAD) but I would have done it if there was one around.
That leaves us with the Frontier. Our local Nissan dealer was offering deep discounts on their in stock 2019 Frontiers (we aren’t getting the newly re-powerplanted 2020 Frontier here in Canada so we have to wait until the newly redesigned 2021 model) so I went and took one for a drive. Yep, it is old school. I may be a tech guy but I like my tech in my computers at home and my cell phone. I don’t need my vehicle to be a cell phone with a built in car which so many cars are nowadays.
I ended up with a fully optioned 2019 Nissan Pro-4X with a tonneau cover that ran me $36500 CAD. That is an incredible price compared to that Toyota. Almost half the cost. Of course the value at the end won’t be nearly as much but that doesn’t matter to me as I mentioned before.
So far I have put 850KM on the truck. Pretty happy with it. I would say though, while the old school 4L V6 is a bulletproof engine, it likes it’s gasoline. On the highway I am getting around 13.5 to 14L/100KM (16.8 to 17.42 US MPG; 20.92 to 20.18 IMP MPG) so don’t buy one of these for mileage (this truck gets less than half the mileage my Civic Si gets). I gotta say though, the exhaust note is awesome which I appreciate.
The truck performance, even with the antiquated five-speed, is pretty good. It has a lot of immediate down-low power which I appreciate. My Civic doesn’t hit its power until you are above 4500RPM. It is very aggressive at punching up to its highest gear if you don’t stay on the throttle and it takes a decent amount of punching the accelerator to get it to pop down a gear when already at speed. This could also be partly me as I am so used to driving a manual transmission and having immediate power when I ask for it.
This truck is not for corners. Don’t take it into tight drive-thrus. I had to make a 3-point turn to get around one in London Ontario a few days ago. I am super glad that no one was behind me. I mean I could have jumped the curb but I want to at least hit my first oil change before I start scuffing the tires up.
The interior is very conservative. It was Nissan’s interior design fifteen years ago but (thankfully) they have moved on. I don’t hate it though. Everything is easy to see and easy to use. No flipping around on a screen to find a billion settings that could have just had a button or nob. I appreciate that. I like tactile feedback. Hence why I have mechanical keyboards. The seats are powered in the front which is nice. I am a big guy, seriously, just over six feet tall and large around so this truck fits me but if I was any bigger I would have needed a seat that goes further back. as it is right now I am fine. The leather seats are perforated and so you don’t seem to get stuck to them too easily though the bolstering is not on par with my Civic (my Civic’s seats are the best I have ever felt in a car).
There is not a lot of storage inside the truck but you do get the truck box that is covered by a tonneau cover. This is great and since the tailgate locks (though it is not a powered lock) you can keep things there in relative security. There is no light in the bed but I have remedied that with a battery powered LED strip.
One thing I didn’t think I would miss from the Civic is having the power door lock remote built in to my key. The Frontier still uses a separate key fob (and absolutely you have to use you key to start the truck, which I like). I have never had a vehicle with a key fob in my life. It feels weird after having the fob built into my key for so long.
With the 16 inch rims mated to some really beefy tires this truck looks like it means business. Thankfully the Frontier can back up these looks being capable of doing almost everything a Jeep Rubicon can. Not everything though of course since it does not have that front axle locker and dis-connectable sway bar (the Frontier has independent suspension up front). The Frontier does have that rear axle locker and that along with 4 high and low it is incredibly capable with it’s factory equipped Hankook Dynapro ATM tires.
While I haven’t been able to take it off road yet I do plan on doing so next year when all this corona-blah has went away. My brother and I plan on taking his old school awesome Nissan Titan Pro-4X and my Frontier Pro-4X up in to the mountains of Colorado for some camping fun.
All in all I am pretty happy with this truck. Time will tell how much I will stay in love with it but I know, especially with it’s long history, it has been proven to be a very reliable truck and I expect it will be around for a long time to come.