First Look: 2013 Nissan Frontier

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By Larry Edsall 

For 2013, most Nissan Frontier trims will see an uptick in fuel economy of 1 to 2 mpgs because of reduced engine friction and enhanced aerodynamics, according to the automaker. Specifically, Nissan tells us a seal has been added between the cab and bed, the front spoiler has been extended, and a wind diffuser has been added in front of the rear tires and on top of the tailgate. 

This new model year also brings a new Desert Runner model; a Value Truck Package with dual-zone air conditioning, a backup camera and parking sensors; and changes to the PRO-4X Package.

The 2013 Frontier King Cab 4x2 with Nissan’s 152-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission is rated at 19/23 mpg city/highway. With crew cab architecture, it gets 16/22 mpg.

The 2013 Frontier crew cab 4x4 with a 261-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 linked to a five-speed automatic gearbox gets an estimated 15/21 mpg.

The Desert Runner model is available in King Cab or crew cab 4x2 versions equipped with automatic transmissions. Special equipment for the Dessert Runner includes 16-inch off-road aluminum-alloy wheels, Bilstein-brand off-road shocks, fog lamps, unique cloth-covered seats with embroidered Frontier logos, Bluetooth hands-free phone connection, and Desert Runner badge and decals.

The new Value Truck Package, which replaces the SV Premium Utility Package, includes dual-zone air conditioning, a backup camera, rear parking sensors, sliding bed extender and trailer hitch, spray-in bed liner, Utili-track tie-down system, fog lamps and floormats.

Other new features for the 2013 Frontier include a satin chrome grille, fog lamps, revised logos and decals, updated contrast stitching and seat embroidery, a backup camera and parking sensors, dual-zone air conditioning, auto headlamps and an additional 12-volt power outlet for the PRO-4X models. The PRO-4X Luxury Package includes a navigation system and a display audio system with  an MP3 jack and a USB input.

Frontier SL models (available only in the crew cab configuration) get navigation, a backup camera with parking sensors, dual-zone air conditioning, auto headlamps and the additional 12-volt outlet.

Frontier SV models will come with satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, the display audio setup and an additional power outlet.

All 2013 Frontiers get slide-on-rod sun visors.

Eight colors will be available, including three new ones -- Glacier White, Graphite Blue and Cayenne Red. 

Pricing information is expected later this month.

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Mpg improvements and dual zone climate, aren't those both rarities in compact trucks? Far from yawn.

Dual zone climate control in a cab that size is stupid.

that is a nice looking interior..

It is a very modest update but I like it.

16/22 and 15/21 mpg is not going to cut it! Yawn.

theyre gonna have to do alot more than that to improve sales. On the bright side imho that interior in the pic is very very nice

the leather seats are already wrinkled to hell.. wonder what it will look like after 6 mos of ownership.

The desert runner is only available on 4x2 autos? Really Nissan? Whoever came up with that idea should be fired. Why would a 4x2 be a desert runner? When is a 4x2 ever going to use off road shocks?

Interior looks good (and I like the upper central dash area)... until you really look.
- horribly cheap looking gear shift
- dated buttons directly above gear shift
- nasty little 'dot matrix' digital temp displays for dual climate
- cheap looking park brake lever
- horrible (fake rivetted??) dimples around main dial cluster hood
I'd like to like the interior as much as I do the exterior - glad they didn't change it too much.

My Silvy Crew Can 4x4 is rated 15/21 with a 5.3 V8, this is pathetic.

Mr. Obvious, thats because the Chevy is made out of tin foil and stands four inches off the ground, this frontier has a lot more air going undernieth of it.

Mr. Obvious, thats because the Chevy is made out of tin foil and stands four inches off the ground, this frontier has a lot more air going undernieth of it.

Posted by: greg | Jan 4, 2013 7:48:00 AM

Daddy, I'm glad you are on here. I am sposed to give you a message. The ford dealership called and said that your truck is ready. They replaced the Ecoboost engine. It was too messed up to try and repair it. You can pick it up after work today. Love you daddy!

Boooooorrrringggg. That looks like a Ford redesign. Make insignificant changes and call it an all-new truck. If you want a completely fresh truck these days you have to go to a RAM lot.


I like the Frontier. I had a Nissan Hardbody for awhile back in the day and have a soft spot for the them. It is too bad you can't get the crewcab LB like they use to offer.

Hopefully this is just a mild refresh before a new one comes out--unless Nissan pulls a Ford/Fiat and abandons the midsize market... .

The interior would look good if this was 1997.

As a former Titan and Frontier owner, it pains me to see how little attention Nissan pays to updating these models.

Would it kill you to put in a six-speed transmission?

It appears that Nissan and Mitsubishi are still working together to bring out a new global mid size platform.

From what I've read Mitsubishi still have a couple of years to go before its Triton runs out of life. This works against Nissan which is already outdated.

Hopefully the US doesn't have to wait until 2017 to get the proposed new 2015 model like you are doing with the Colorado.

I can't see Nissan waiting until 2017 to bring out a new mid sizer. And judging by the number of sales dropping the Titan wouldn't be a bad idea.

The 2013 is only a mild facelift by Nissan. From this article there would be a good chance of getting a new Frontier by 2015.

Bring the Navara with the Diesel ... then we'll talk :)

Do you sell Ram trucks? Also I used to own a Nissan Frontier it was a great truck it just needed a better interior and FE (6-speed auto).

Do you sell Ram trucks? Also I used to own a Nissan Frontier it was a great truck it just needed a better interior and FE (6-speed auto).

Posted by: 5.3L LOL (name may change when numbers are released) | Jan 4, 2013 10:43:26 AM

No I just drive them and speak the truth. RAM is the best looking and most fresh truck on the market.


I really love this truck


My guess is that Nissan is last to the party to update either truck but they'll make it worth the wait. When the original Titan came out it had more of everything than the competition, just didn't have the 80 year track record.

Nissan has done a lot of work on powertrains and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Frontier use the chain driven CVT of the Pathfinder since it is rated for towing moderate loads. It may not have the same max capacity of the current Frontier but it would help the seperation of the two truck lines to have one focused on fuel economy and modest capacities and the other for full on capability with at least class matching fuel economy.

What an odd looking truck,every angle it looks gay !

I always liked the look of this truck.

I don't think much needs changing but the fuel economy is still pathetic. Too bad they won't give us that diesel they sell in every other country on earth.

Here is an a recent review on the Navara V6 diesel.

I already get 16 city/22 highway out of my 4wd 2008 Sport Trac. Color me not impressed.

who in their right mind would pay this much $ for 3/4 of a truck, that only gets the same mileage as a GM twin? and has less room and towing and hauling? crazy! the only thing this pos will do is fir in a smaller garage.

@one room school

People who dont need something as big a a full-size buy these trucks. Why buy it? Why not? Why buy a 1/2 ton truck when a 3/4 ton truck tows and hauls more? Why buy a 3/4 ton truck when a 1 ton truck tows and hauls more? Its all based on what people need. For many people, a midsize is exactly what they need to get their respective jobs done.

Nice refresh. I would have preferred a little more but it's alright. I will consider this as my new vehicle when I get ready to trade my Ranger as I don't need a large, tank pulling monster. I surely wouldn't even think about that ugly RAM.

I would consider the Pro-4x if I was looking for a mid-size/compact crew cab as I see not one thing wrong with it. Not so great mpg is expected, but I'd better see 20% off in rebates though.

To anyone hating on the Frontier, all I've got to say is: test-drive it. That 4.0, still one of the stoutest engines in the market 6 years later, will change your mind. Especially if you find one linked to the 6-speed manual. Can't wait to see which new engine Nissan produces for the next-gen Frontier. Hopefully a small v8 is in the works.

@ Hemi_4U... You say the Ram is the most current and freshest truck... what will you say in a few months when GM and Ford update?? You may think the Fiat trucks are great, but you are definatly in the minority crowd on that one. And with all the crap you post about Ram/Fiat, it is driving would be Ram owners away, they are afraid if they drive a Ram they will turn into you........ Enjoy your Ram, but by posting it is the best will not change the fact that is last of the big 3.

The Nissan Frontier is a 'compact' truck? Really? At best it's a mid-size and I would say that's beside the point what with using an I-4 as its base engine. An engine that size, even at 175 hp, needs to be in a true compact truck. At least then you could fill the bed and maybe get that 1/4-ton capacity to look like it's doing something.

Looks better than that horrible looking global Colorado. That's about it. I'd rather have a Tacoma or that global Ranger.

@JK hotshotter service Only a homosexual retard like you could make such ridiculous comments. If you were here I would put a serious beating on you.

23 highway, with an air cleaner and muffler change I get 23 highway with a V8 ford F150 @ 70 mph!

@@JK hotshotter service - looks like you hit a nerve with sheep herder extraordinaire Hemi_4U.
@Hemi_4U - anyone who says something against Ram is a homosexual? A retard?
I guess staring at the back of the head of a Ram er sheep all day makes you ........... what........... a beastie boy???

It must be true what those old sheep herders used to say," once you have tried sheep you don't want to go back" ;)

Sorry for the baaaaaaaa....d joke.

The frontier is smaller than the big 3 but how does it horses to weight ratio compare. Smaller engine, bout same mileage but is it faster 0-60 etc? If you need a big bomber, get one. If not, get the fighter.

Interesting how fanboys of other makes are quick at trolling. You cannot compare some of the trucks mentioned with this one, not because this one is particularly better, but simple because they might not serve the same purpose. I read an article where they compare the PRO4X with a Ford Raptor, Toyota Baja edition and some RAM. Really? Of course the Frontier won't stack up. Imbeciles.

I'm glad I have my 2012 PRO4X because I do not like the revised logo for that at all. The yellow and bolder typeface makes it look too cartoony, where the red and more of a serif-looking type made it look serious. The interior is perfect. Whenever the interior starts looking like say, a Tacoma, will be the end of Frontier. Well, maybe not. It is designed to be that way. It is supposed to be simple, it's a damn truck to use for work or off road. It isn't a luxury car. To get a truck and expect that, or even worse, attempt to pimp it out with such things as rims completely defeats the purpose of owning a truck.

Had a hardbody fronty 4x4 14 years, only repair was an alternator and reg. maint. I now have an 07, and wouldn't trade it for any stinkin' chev or dogdge, and I've owned both. That said, Nissan is a weird company-much smaller than Toyoter or US companies. You still can't get a 2013 until they try to sell the leftover 2012s. They could easily take this great truck to higher heights and better milage, and were planning on it I think, until the economy tanked. Majestic blue is the only good Nissan color although the new red looks good. The only frontys that look right are the 07-08 king nismos with all chrome, a brush guard, and a bit of lift.

I have a 2003 Frontier. I get about 26mpg... Try to beat that one with this new truck!

Its a Nissan, great power, good looks. I've owned Nissan trucks for almost 20 years now and have seen more than my share run over 300,000 miles with basic maintenance.





I on a2011 pro 4x I lover my truck to bad the gas milage suck

Call me when it has the diesel sold elsewhere in the world. Otherwise, it's not interesting at all.

this has been a funny read! the article was about a nissan frontier if you recall but i guess everyone just likes to go off topic about ford vs GM vs RAM when ever possible. This is a great little truck that does just what it was designed to do and is the only truck other than the tacoma that you can get with a manual. i don't want a full size truck because i don't need one and i prefer to select my own gears. this truck will tow 6500 lbs which i bet is more than 90% of full size truck owners will ever tow. as for fuel economy you are kidding yourself if you actually believe your full size truck gets over 20mpg. these little trucks get 20 mpg without trying even with some city driving thrown in. If you want to hate on this truck do it on your respective forums, why are you reading articles about compact trucks anyway if you have nothing but hate for them?

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