It's been a general consensus among all who get behind the wheel of our Nissan Frontier -- everyone loves the exterior but the old drab interior design lacks that new-car trendy appeal. The truck's exterior hasn't changed much in the past few years, but it's still a great looking compact truck. This truck has taken many of its drivers down memory lane, whether that's a good or bad appeal for this somewhat outdated pickup is up to you.

"It's been about 20 years since I drove a compact 4x4 truck with a manual transmission," explains Ron Kiino, Motor Trend's executive editor, "so driving the Frontier was a blast from the past for me."

"In high school, I had a Toyota XtraCab 4x4 with the 3.0-liter V-6 and five-speed manual. It had only 150 hp, but it was peppy enough and had plenty of grunt for off-roading. This Frontier reminded me a lot of my old Toyota though, of course, it was quicker (thanks to over 100 extra hp), more refined, and more solid (20 years of progress and a Titan-based frame can do that)."

"From my one-day drive of the Frontier, I found the following pros: nice, carlike steering with good feel and linearity; an easy-to-shift gearbox that was rewarding to use; pleasant ride for an off-road-biased truck; good ergonomics, with high marks for comfort and usability. Cons? This thing needs a standard backup camera. I wish the pedals were closer together for easier heel-and-toe downshifts. Otherwise, a solid, fun-to-drive truck I wouldn't mind having in my garage."

2012 Nissan Frontier
Service life: 10 mo/22,115 mi
Avg CO2: 1.13 lb/mi
Energy cons: 197 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems: None
Maintenance cost: $538.15 (2-oil change, rotate tires, inspection; 1-cabin-air filter; 1-engine-air filter)
Normal-wear cost: $0
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ: 15/20/17 mpg
Average Fuel Econ: 17.1 mpg