Nearly 2000 more miles were added to our Long-term Nissan Frontier during the hot September month. It was toted out to desert for COTY testing, it hauled lumber for another home project, and took another visit to the dump.

As the days get shorter, I keep finding my late-night drive home from the office getting darker as the sun slowly fades away. I really wish the buttons on the steering wheel would light up at night. I keep hitting the wrong toggle switches when I want to lower the radio volume -- instead, I change stations. I do the same thing with the cruise-control and phone buttons, even though I know they are on different sides of the wheel. I second guess myself and end up turning on the interior light above to make sure I hit the button I want.

I have no problem sharing the truck with others in the office. In fact, I encourage people to put it to uses for which it's intended. Automotive.com associate online editor Trevor Dorchies took custody of the Frontier for a few days, and this is what he had to say:

"Unlike many trucks available today, the Frontier actually still feels like a truck. Everywhere you look (inside and out) and everything you touch inside the cabin reminds you of that. That's not entirely a bad thing, though many trucks today overdo it with the luxury and skimp on durability. I feel that the Frontier goes in the opposite direction, being more durable and not nearly as extravagant. Though, when you only have the Colorado and Frontier to really choose from (Tacoma has gotten a little too big now to really be called a midsizer), neither will overwhelm you with its lushness.

The most obvious trucklike characteristic the Frontier has is its wide-turning radius. Trying to turn into a parking space proved difficult sometimes because of it. The shifter is second on my list of most trucklike characteristics, every shift reminds you that you're in a truck, but I actually enjoyed that. Each gear provided necessary torque (which you can feel during each shift) to get the Frontier up to speed, and the length of the shifter is reminiscent of the old Frontiers from back in the early to mid-'90s (not sure if that's a good thing, though). The freeway exposed the Frontier to a lot of chop, and you bounce around on the cement. Asphalt-laden roads aren't as bad, though, and the ride is a bit smoother. There's not much of a purpose for sixth gear, though while cruising at highway speeds, it's loafy at best and doesn't provide any more noticeable pull than fifth.

I did like the interior -- very trucklike but more so than most (if not all) full-size trucks offered today. I took my dog to the park in it, and I didn't feel like I had to scrub every inch of the interior to get in back to pristine condition. You don't feel guilty getting this truck dirty. It's easy to clean and keep that way if it's just a daily driver. If you're using it for what it was designed for, cleaning the bed, interior, and exterior should only take you about an hour at most. That's what many trucks today are missing."


2012 Nissan Frontier 4X4 PRO4X
Service life: 5 mo/12,162 mi
Avg CO2: 1.11 lb/mi
Energy cons: 193 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $173.63 (oil change, rotate tires, inspection)
Normal-wear cost/: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: 15/20/17 mpg
Average Fuel Econ: 17.5 mpg