Nissan built its second-generation Frontier, a mid-size pickup, on a solid, fully-boxed frame and paired it with a powerful lineup of engines that pleased trailer-toting buyers in 2007. But among the available trim levels -- base XE, upgraded SE and fully-loaded LE -- the XE, despite its low $16,050 starting price, offered little value for those looking to tow.
Factors Affecting Tow Rating
The XE's siblings, the SE and LE, received a 4.0-liter V-6 engine that put out 261 horsepower and 281 foot-pounds of torque, but the base model was far less powerful. Under its hood was a 2.5-liter inline-4 powerplant that made 152 horsepower and 171 foot-pounds of torque, mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the upgraded models, the XE didn't include a limited-slip differential or optional four-wheel drive. It also was burdened by a less generous 8.7-inch minimum ground clearance and a 21-degree departure angle. Compare that with the standard 9.8-inch minimum ground clearance and 19.8-degree standard departure angle of the upgraded models.
Nissan rated the 2007 Frontier XE for a 3,500-pound maximum towing capacity with a 350-pound trailer tongue load. The upgraded SE and LE models, by comparison, received ratings of between 6,100 and 6,500 pounds, based on options. Nissan recommended a Class IV weight-distributing hitch ball mount be used for the heavy-duty models.
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