Nissan Frontier LE

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Keywords: automotive reviews, automotive news, 2005 chevy colorado vs. 2005 dodge dakota, 2006 honda ridgeline, 2005 nissan frontier, 2005 toyota tacoma car review, new 2005 chevy colorado vs. 2005 dodge dakota, 2006 honda ridgeline, 2005 nissan frontier, 2005 toyota tacoma

Description: Car and Driver offers exclusive car comparison tests. Here's one now: 2005 Chevy Colorado vs. 2005 Dodge Dakota, 2006 Honda Ridgeline, 2005 Nissan Frontier, 2005 Toyota Tacoma - Comparison. (Page 5)

Although the Tacoma's chassis bumped a very useful pickup to a third-place finish, the Frontier chassis carried Nissan's entry up to second.

Among the others here, the Nissan is a little short on practicality. The bed, despite having a grippy, durable coating and some useful, movable tie-down points, is only slightly larger than the small bed on the Chevy. The Frontier has the weakest back seat, too, with a nearly vertical backrest and a low, short bottom cushion that supports maybe a postage-stamp portion of your lower cheeks. It's no place to spend quality time. The only true pickup asset the Frontier has is its 6100-pound towing capacity.

But the logbook was filled with comments like "best steering of the bunch" and "the body sets in a corner and there's no excess motion." For a truck, the Frontier was remarkably frisky.

Don't look to the test results to support our logbook scribblings on this. The Frontier was the slowest through the lane-change course, and it weighs 4572 pounds, only 215 pounds less than the pudgy Dakota. It was second quickest to 60 mph, hitting the mark in 7.6 seconds, a half-second slower than the Tacoma.

But if you'd been on as many comparison tests as we have, you'd know that numbers don't tell the whole story. During a run down a curvy mountain road, the Frontier was composed, communicative, and even a little fun — a driving condition that was in short supply with this gang. And on the upward crawl to Barker Ranch, the Frontier drew nothing but praise for its sure-footedness.

As for the weight issue, chalk it up to a truckload of features. The Frontier was the only vehicle here with a leather interior, power front seats, a sunroof, and hill-descent control. It also had side and curtain airbags. The roof rack might come in handy, but it whistled with a distracting noise at any speed above 40 mph. It's a standard item that should be optional. And even with all the gear, the Frontier's as-tested price of $31,630 was $190 cheaper than the bare-bones Dakota (although at press time the Dakota offered a $2000 rebate).

So there are better utility trucks out there, but for the kind of driving you might do every day, only one vehicle is better.



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