2023 Nissan Frontier Performance

Nissan Frontier Performance Rating

2023 Frontier Performance

Nissan entered the midsize pickup truck segment with a bold claim. It states that its 3.8-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine has more power than any other truck in the segment. With 310 horsepower, that's entirely true, but if you know anything about trucks, you'll know that torque is far more relevant in this segment.

The Nissan V6, introduced as a last hurrah in the final year of the previous generation's existence, produces 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. The latter figure isn't bad, but the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado's turbocharged four-cylinders produce more twist with 310 lb-ft and 369 lb-ft, respectively. This is the main reason why both of these trucks are capable of towing more than the Frontier. Still, a maximum towing capacity of 6,720 lbs in the right configuration is plenty. But if towing is your thing, it's worth keeping in mind that the Ranger can manage 7,500 lbs, while the diesel Colorado can tow up to 7,700 lbs. The Jeep Gladiator manages up to 7,650 lbs.

Performance figures hardly matter in this segment, but it's worth noting that the Frontier has enough grunt to keep up with traffic. Nissan doesn't provide acceleration figures, but our bum dyno tells us that it takes around seven seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph and gets off the line at a reasonable clip. Top speed is not a concern for buyers in this segment, and nor should it be when there are other things truck folk find important.

Both 4x2 and 4x4 models are available. The 4x2 models send the engine's power to the rear wheels, and the 4x4 models do the same. The main difference between the 4x2 and 4x4 is the addition of a transfer case, which lets the 4x4 drive in 2WD (rear wheels only), 4 HI, and 4LO.

It's a rather rudimentary setup, which doesn't allow you to use the four-wheel-drive mode on tarmac since there is no center open differential enabling the front and rear axles to spin at different speeds. But since the Frontier comes with traction and stability control as standard, it's not really a problem. Nissan does include a shift-on-the-fly feature, which is helpful if your daily driving routine consists of both tarmac and gravel. You can switch from 2WD to 4WD without having to come to a stop.

2023 Frontier Performance Photos

2023 Nissan Frontier Rearward Vision CarBuzz 2023 Nissan Frontier Gearbox Controls CarBuzz 2023 Nissan Frontier Rim CarBuzz
2023 Nissan Frontier Rearward Vision
2023 Nissan Frontier Gearbox Controls
2023 Nissan Frontier Rim

Engine and Transmission

The 3.8-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine is carried over from the previous model, but since it was only introduced in 2020, it still feels fresh. It's your basic free-revving large V configuration engine that has upsides and downsides. No other engine options are available. It has a best-in-segment 310 horses, available from 6,400 rpm, and torque is rated at 281 lb-ft, but it only arrives at 4,400 rpm. That's the downside of these old-school engines and one of the main selling points of turbocharged four-pots. The Ford Ranger's 2.3-liter turbocharged four-banger might seem small in comparison, but its 310 lb-ft arrives at 3,000 rpm. The upside of the naturally-aspirated V6 is less complexity and a track record in longevity.

The entire Frontier range comes as standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission that's perfectly capable of being in the right gear at the right time. It has shorter gear ratios at the bottom for increased acceleration and longer ratios at the top for increased efficiency.

The power delivery from the powertrain combo is linear, and the torque curve is nice. The Frontier has no problems cruising at 75 mph at just above idle speed. It feels perfectly fine in the modern world, and you don't have to worry about holding up business people in their overpowered German sedans.

2023 Nissan Frontier Performance Specs:

Nissan Frontier TrimsNissan Frontier EnginesNissan Frontier HorsepowerNissan Frontier TransmissionsNissan Frontier DrivetrainsNissan Frontier MPG/MPGE
S3.8L V6 Gas310 hp @ 6400 rpm9-Speed Automatic4X4
19 MPG
20 MPG
SV3.8L V6 Gas310 hp @ 6400 rpm9-Speed Automatic4X4
19 MPG
20 MPG
PRO-X3.8L V6 Gas310 hp @ 6400 rpm9-Speed AutomaticRWD20 MPG
PRO-4X3.8L V6 Gas310 hp @ 6400 rpm9-Speed Automatic4X419 MPG

2023 Frontier Gas Mileage

The Frontier is not a model of efficiency, but it's no better and no worse than its main rivals. The EPA-estimated figures for the 4x2 are 18/24/20 mpg city/highway/combined. In 4x4 guise, these figures drop down to 17/22/19 mpg.

Every model is equipped with a 21-gallon gas tank, which gives 4x2 models an exceptional range of 420 miles. The 4x4 models can do around 400 miles on a single tank.

2023 Nissan Frontier Fuel Capacity

Nissan Frontier TrimsSSVPRO-XPRO-4X
Nissan Frontier Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)17/2217/2218/2417/22

2023 Nissan Frontier Trailering

Nissan Frontier TrimsSSVPRO-XPRO-4X
Nissan Frontier Maximum Trailering Capacity6,420 lbs.
6,550 lbs.
6,580 lbs.
6,720 lbs.
6,260 lbs.
6,370 lbs.
6,460 lbs.
6,500 lbs.
6,530 lbs.
6,670 lbs.
6,480 lbs.6,230 lbs.
Engine3.8L V6 Gas3.8L V6 Gas3.8L V6 Gas3.8L V6 Gas
Transmission9-Speed Automatic9-Speed Automatic9-Speed Automatic9-Speed Automatic
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