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2018 Nissan Frontier SV V6 Midnight Edition 4X4 Test Drive

There’s a comfort in consistency. For years, there have been companies you can rely on for certain things. Brooks Brothers has been making suits for two centuries. Coca-Cola has been quenching thirsts since the late 19th century. Many of the biggest films of the last 94 years have literally roared onto the silver screen thanks to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

Nissan introduced the current generation of its Frontier pickup for the 2005 model year… and is still manufacturing it. It’s still a body-on-frame mid-size truck. It’s still available in King Cab and Crew Cab configurations. And it still offers four- and six-cylinder power as well as two- and four-wheel drive.

Of course, the Frontier hasn’t been around this long without receiving occasional cosmetic and technological updates. The latest round of those came in the 2018 model year and brought better content for base models – which includes standard air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth phone, a five-inch color display, and Siri Eyes Free capability – and a standard RearView Monitor for all Frontiers.

The Frontier’s 2018 MY updates also include the availability of the Midnight Edition package. According to Nissan, “It is available in Crew Cab SV 4×2 and 4×4 automatic transmission models and in a choice of Magnetic Black, Gun Metallic and Glacier White exterior colors.”

We recently spent a week in a four-wheel drive 2018 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab SV V6 Midnight Edition. We counted on it being a simple, honest-to-goodness midsize truck. It did not let us down.

2018 Nissan Frontier SV Midnight Edition Exterior

A lot has changed since 2005, but the Frontier is still as handsome and rugged as it was back then. It’s based on a fully boxed ladder frame made out of high tensile-strength steel. The angled grille has a solid, industrial look to it. On our test truck, that pointed toward a chunky front bumper that housed a pair of fog lights and flowed into the bulging front fender flares. Four full doors spanned most of the Crew Cab’s 126-inch wheelbase, which helped make the Frontier nimble in traffic and easy to park in the city. The cargo box was flanked by another pair of bold fender flares and protected by a spray-on bedliner. Nissan’s versatile Utili-track Channel System with four adjustable cleats and a sliding bed extender made the five-foot box capable of transporting up to 1,350 pounds of payload no matter how it was arranged. Given how our truck was configured, it was capable of towing 6,370 pounds.

As you can probably guess from its name, the Midnight Edition Package adds a variety of dark accents, ranging from a gloss black grille to black mirror caps and door handles to gloss black 18-inch wheels to semi-gloss black tube steps. Those small additions looked just right set against our press loaner’s Gun Metallic paint and gave it a sleek and modern appearance. It’s too bad the Midnight Edition package wasn’t available years ago because it makes the Frontier look downright cool.

2018 Nissan Frontier

2018 Nissan Frontier SV Midnight Edition Interior

These days, properly equipped trucks can be as luxurious as some high-end sedans. However, many potential truck buyers just want a basic midsize truck with cloth seats. If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck. Our Frontier Midnight Edition press loaner kept things simple and functional. All of the seats were covered in a sporty mesh fabric; the buckets up front were manually adjustable four ways. Hooking up a smartphone to the Frontier’s Bluetooth system was as easy as tapping a few times on the five-inch color touchscreen. Knobs controlled the six-speaker audio and dual-zone climate control systems. With the turn of a dial, we could put the Frontier’s transfer case in 4HI or 4LO. Thanks to the dual glove boxes, we had plenty of room to store small objects. USB and aux ports allowed us to connect and play different media devices; two 12-volt DC power outlets let us charge them. If we didn’t want to connect an iPod to listen to music, we could just stream our favorite tunes through Bluetooth. We didn’t have to worry about getting thirsty because our Frontier had four cup holders and four bottle holders.

The 60/40-split backseat offered plenty of headroom for this 5’10” writer, but came up a little short on legroom. Flipping the bottom cushions up revealed handy storage trays.

2018 Nissan Frontier

2018 Nissan Frontier SV Midnight Edition Performance

Our test vehicle was equipped with a 4.0-liter V6 that generated 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. Despite its age, the 4.0 felt more than strong enough. It fed its power through a five-speed automatic. That combination enabled the Frontier to get up to speed with a satisfying – and slightly surprising – quickness.

The Frontier’s fuel economy ratings were what we expected them to be, given its lack of direct injection and automatic start/stop. According to the EPA, our media special was capable of getting 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined.**

2018 Nissan Frontier

2018 Nissan Frontier SV Midnight Edition Safety

Safety equipment on the Frontier included the basic necessities, such as a multitude of airbags, active front head restraints, a backup camera, and door beams that protected against side impacts. It had a rear sonar system, as well. Then there were the acronyms: ABS (anti-lock braking system), EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution), VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), and TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System). The Frontier also had safety features that were useful on and off paved roads: Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.

2018 Nissan Frontier

2018 Nissan Frontier SV Midnight Edition Overall

There’s no getting around it. In the modern truck world, the 2018 Nissan Frontier Midnight Edition is an oldie – but a goodie. It combines bold, attractive styling with a no-nonsense interior, a powerful V6, and useful cargo management solutions. Prices for the 2018 Frontier start at $18,990*; our test truck had a price tag of $33,560. If you want a Frontier of your own, you can rely on an AutoNation Nissan dealership to have the one that’s right for you.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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