Zeca Pagodinho exalts simplicity and humble origins in “Let life take me”, one of his most famous songs. The music would certainly serve as the soundtrack for the Nissan Frontier S, the most basic configuration of the average pickup.
It is stripped of virtually all luxuries. Its wheels are made of steel and do not even have hubcaps. Marine canopy, bucket protector, side stirrups, mirrors and door handles in the vehicle's color also reinforce the list of absences.
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Mirrors and door handles are in black plastic on Frontier S – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1
Even the Pioneer radio that illustrates the interior photos is sold as an accessory by Nissan.
Not even the engine has escaped widespread “simplification”. Instead of two turbines, the 2.3 diesel 4-cylinder has only one. That means 30 horsepower and 4.9 kgfm less torque, adding up to 160 hp and 41 kgfm. For the simplest configuration, no automatic transmission. Frontier S is the only one to leave the factory with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Table of competitors of Nissan Frontier – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1 and Disclosure
Frontier S may have been born for hard work. But can it be used as a leisure vehicle? The G1 evaluated the simplest configuration of the Nissan pickup.
For R $ 140,900, it doesn't mistreat the buyer's pocket so much. Its price is R $ 57 thousand lower than Frontier LE, the most expensive option in the line.
Little more than the basics
Nissan Frontier S interior – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1
But it must be said that the basic Nissan brings at least equipment that guarantees comfort for the occupants.
There are power steering, air conditioning, on-board computer, electric mirrors and electric windows on the four doors. The safety package includes traction and stability controls, descent control and ramp assistance.
The group in the back seat has cup holders in the central backrest and ventilation outlet. In addition to these “perks”, Frontier still has a door panel with partial fabric lining – even better than the Volkswagen Jetta, for example.
Rear door panel has fabric strip – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1
If desired, the customer can include some accessories. The Pioneer radio, with Bluetooth connection and USB input, costs R $ 418, while bucket protector and marine canopy cost R $ 2,441. If you want to improve access to the cabin, for R $ 846 it is possible to include side steps.
However, essential is the parking sensor, which costs R $ 1,132. After all, even the most skilled drivers will have difficulty maneuvering the 5.26 meters in length.
Although the absence of the sensor makes maneuvering more difficult, the handling of the Frontier S surprises positively. It is the redemption of the “basicona” pickup.
Even though its steering is not so light (only Ranger and S10 have electric assistance in the segment), Frontier captivates by its smooth behavior. The long 6-speed manual transmission hitches are not a surprise. But their hitches, contrary to expectations, are quite accurate.
6-speed manual transmission has long lever, but with easy couplings – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1
As it is the lightest of all Frontier, with 2,030 kg, the 30 hp less does not seem to be missing. Performance is very good, mainly because the driver can better manage power by slowing or anticipating gear changes.
The Frontier S still retains the peculiar architecture of the rear suspension, of the multilink type – quite unusual for pickups mounted with bodywork on chassis. It guarantees greater comfort to the occupants, bouncing less when passing through uneven terrain.
Radio is optional on Frontier S, but pickup truck offers ventilation outlets in the rear seat and 4×4 traction with descent assistance – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1
Another Nissan trademark, the seats are quite comfortable, even though the fabric looks not so good.
Despite being a less equipped version, the sound insulation is good for a vehicle of this category and that runs on diesel, which is normally noisier.
Even better is consumption. During the test, Frontier S recorded a great urban 12 km / l, going from 13 km / l on the road. The figures are even higher than those reported by Nissan: 9.3 km / l on the urban cycle and 10.2 km / l on the road.
Fronter S is doing well, has good fuel consumption, and although it has a modest “packaging and content”, it is pleasant to drive.
Its price also places it as one of the best options in the segment.
Its major competitor is the Ford Ranger XL 4×4 with manual transmission – as well as Nissan, one of the few options on the market that combines these gear and traction configurations.
The simplest Ford pickup costs less, R $ 135,690, but has no electric windows. On the other hand, it has electric steering and radio with controls on the steering wheel, besides being able to carry 118 kg more in the bucket. Its 2.2 engine has similar power, 160 hp, but a little less torque – 39.3 kgfm.
Among the other medium-sized pickups, only the Mitsubishi L200 Outdoor comes close in price. Sold for R $ 139,990, it delivers more equipment, in addition to a more powerful engine (a 2.4 of 190 hp). S10 (R $ 171,690), Hilux (R $ 151,990) and Amarok (R $ 156,290) are much more expensive.
Who also ends up "meddling" in this price range is the Fiat Toro, which features a 2.0 diesel engine with 170 hp and 35.7 kgfm, but 9-speed automatic transmission. Its entry version, with this mechanical set, costs R $ 134,990.
Nissan Frontier S does not have a bucket protector; pickup can carry up to 1,000 kg – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1
Only it is much smaller. They are 4.95m long and 2.99m between wheelbases. The load capacity, of 1 ton, is practically the same, except that the volume of the bucket is much smaller. And the type of construction is also different.
Toro is a monoblock pickup – architecture similar to that of automobiles. It ends up being more comfortable than pickup trucks, made with bodywork on a chassis. But it doesn't do so well when it comes to hard work.
This is where Frontier stands out. It has a great balance between strength and comfort of the occupants. Even though it is simple, bordering on the Spartan, Nissan's pickup truck is pleasant to drive, in addition to having equipment and finishes that match its price.
Considering that diesel pickups are not difficult to get close to R $ 200 thousand, it is a relief to see that there are options with more friendly prices. Although, for that, it is necessary to give up chrome and leather.
Nissan Frontier S – Photo: Guilherme Fontana / G1