Nissan’s new 2018 Rogue is soaring with Americans, but the Frontier pickup is crashing to earth. Nissan says Frontier is the “most affordable mid-size pickup in America, but is it the best? Frontier needs a remodel and mid-size truck buyers aren’t buying the old-generation model. The Rogue crossover received a complete remodel last year and Americans are buying them in record numbers.
The Nissan Rogue is up 47.3 percent for September, second only to the newly-remodeled Titan pickup (+51.9 percent). The Frontier is down 32.7 percent in September and it’s been in a continual slide this year. Frontier is down 20.4 percent for 2017. Why compare a Nissan Rogue crossover with a Frontier mid-size pickup?
To show how important these remodels are for automakers. One is setting records, while the other is dying in the stable. Nissan does have plans to revamp the Frontier but it’s not coming until next year. It’s badly needed because the Frontier is outdated in more ways than one.
Here’s why you should wait for the new-generation 2019 Frontier pickup. It’s not just about exterior styling, engine upgrades and technology. The Frontier is unsafe if you get in an accident, especially if you are hit in the front corner of the truck. Here’s what the most recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests reveal.
Frontier is marginal
The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab only gets marginal scores in the new small overlap front crash test from IIHS. What does it mean in the real world? The test replicates a common and deadly accident where the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or a pole at 40 miles per hour. When engineers measured how the lower leg and foot of crash test dummies handled the crash, the injuries were extensive enough to only merit a “marginal” score for the Nissan Frontier King Cab and the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab.
In contrast, the new-generation 2017 Nissan Rogue gets a Good rating in the same IIHS test and Superior ratings in front crash protection. We would hope Nissan will fix the safety issue in the next-generation Frontier pickup. The new Nissan Navara pickup, sold in Australia and other parts of the globe, earned a five star rating from ANCAP, but they don’t administer the most recent small overlap front crash test.
The Nissan Frontier needs a complete remodel and also a redesign for its structure. The 2018 models are arriving now with no structural changes, and the new-generation model won’t arrive until next year as a 2019 model. Hopefully Nissan makes major changes to the architecture. You might want to wait for the next-generation 2019 Nissan Frontier. It will likely be safer in the event of a collision.
Photo credit: Nissan USA