THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2009 Nissan Frontier 4X2 Crew Cab LE midsize pickup.
DOWN THE ROAD: Based on a body-on-frame construction, the 2009 Frontier undergoes minor exterior restyling, visibly on the front grille and halogen headlights. Regardless of the makeover, the rear-wheel-drive pickup retains significant off- and on-road capabilities.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 4.0-liter DOHC V-6 engine produces a healthy 261 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 281 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. It's mated to a flawless 5-speed automatic transmission. A quick and precise power rack-and-pinion steering system makes for a stable, solid ride. An all-steel double wishbone front and a multi-leaf rear suspension with solid axle soaks obstacles with ease. The pickup boasts lots of stopping power, thanks to two-piston front and single-piston rear vented disc brakes. Tow capacity is a respectable 6,300 pounds.
LOOK & FEEL: Chrome is sprinkled abundantly on the angled strut grille, mirrors, door handles and front and rear bumpers. Large vertical taillights, tubular step rails and a roof rack with crossbars grab your attention. The cabin is airy, opening up even more storage space as the 60/40 rear bench and the front-passenger fold flat, too. There also is a removable rear under-seat storage area and dual glove boxes. The overhead mirror offers compass and outside temperature readings with an oversize sunglass holder. The eight-way driver's seat can be useful for multiple users in the family. Though the instrument panel is packed with readings and gauges for speedometer, tachometer, fuel level, coolant temperature, oil pressure, volt meter, digital odometer, clock and trip computer, it's easy on the eyes.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, three-point front seatbelts with pretensioners, front and rear crumple zones, front seat active-head restraints, electric rear locking differential and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $27,040, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 265/60R18; wheelbase, 125.9 inches; length, 219.4 inches; weight, 4,371 pounds; fuel capacity, 21.1 gallons; city, 15 mpg; highway, 20 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Whether you need a vehicle to head outdoors or the daily convenience of a sizeable ride, the Frontier will get the job done. The pickup flaunts potent performance backed by a laudable towing capacity. Lending further credence to the truck is the Nissan brand of reliability and durability.