Can You Hear Me Now?
When we first picked up our Nissan Frontier 12 months ago, I was excited to have a vehicle with Bluetooth, which my previous daily driver didn't have. Getting my smart phone connected to the truck was easy and took only a couple of minutes to do. I love getting in and out of the truck knowing I'll never have to reach for my phone while in motion again. Up until a couple months ago, I had no issues when using the system. But recently my conversations with nearly everyone I call have not been so clear. I had no problems hearing who was on the other end of the line with the speaker system -- but I would hear the echo of every word I said. The microphone is located above my head near the center dome lights. Even if I turn my head to speak directly into the mic, the person on the other end had a hard time hearing me; no matter how loud I speak all they hear is muddled words. There is a lot of cab noise while moving, and the only time they can hear me is while the truck is at idle.
Running of the Charade
Motor Trend online production manager Kirill Ougarov hitched a trailer with a gutted Daihaitsu Charade to the Frontier with a bed full of track gear and headed to Buttonwillow Raceway Park, in Buttonwillow, California, for the annual Chumpcar Desert Dysfunction 24 race. "Plenty of power for pulling ~5000 pounds' worth of trailer with ~150-200 pounds'worth of stuff in the back," said Ougarov. "Brakes, however, are lacking if the road is challenging. I'd upgrade the pads if I were going to purchase the truck for frequent towing."
"Fuel economy no better than a V-8-powered full-size truck's, but without the range. 250 miles is about as far as it'll go with a trailer. Could really use an updated engine for efficiency's sake. Or a diesel. The manual was the saving grace, really. The automatic would have made the entire experience painful. Interior is dated but functional. Seats work, but aren't terribly comfortable. There's no getting around the reality that it's a dated design badly in need of a thorough refresh or even a ground-up redesign. Despite being a huge fan of smaller trucks, I don't see myself buying a Frontier unless it would be a steal of a deal."
Though our Frontier performed its duties as a tow vehicle, the poor Charade met its maker on the back turn and rolled its way off the track. Ougarov was unhurt, but the Charade was toast.
| 2012 Nissan Frontier 4X4 PRO4X |
|Service life: ||12 mo/26,614 mi|
|Avg CO2:|| 1.13 lb/mi|
|Energy cons:|| 197 kW-hr/100mi|
|Unresolved problems:|| None|
|Maintenance cost:||$607.14 (3-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:|| 17.2 mpg|