mdb3930mdb3930 Member Posts: 9
edited April 2014 in Nissan
I have been searching the boards for some 2001 frontier owners to get some input. I am inching ever closer to buying an 01 SE Desert Runner. I have test driven the new Tacoma and even though I like the extra 20hp I get, the Nissan just "felt" better. I would love to have a Crew Cab but that's an extra $4K for the same options. I really like the stance of the DR too. What I need to know is if anyone else has a DR and are they pleased with it? Also, does anyone know what the best color to get is because I am looking at a red one but I am worried about the body color bumper on the front fascia. Will dirt and road grime chip away and discolor it?


  • consoleconsole Member Posts: 7
    First off, I'm a Toyota Camry and 2000 Nissan Frontier DR owner. (Had the Camry first.) I've test driven the 2000 Tacoma PreRunner, while I was shopping. And I would say, without hesitation, that the Tacoma (at least 4x4 and PreRunner) is a significantly better truck than the Frontier. I merely bought the DR as a matter of economics. To keep the Camry meant I couldn't afford a PreRunner as a 2nd vehicle. The Frontier is satisfactory for its purpose as a 2nd vehicle -- light offroading, to get to hiking trails, going over potholes, cattle gates, and dirt roads that I don't wish to subject the Camry to. (At 25,000 miles I already had to replace the Camry's front strut mounts on warranty, and I only took it to hiking trails a very few times!)

    Note my message in the "Nissan Frontier" thread, about the DR's suspension. If you are looking for some offroading, you're right in that a good driver can usually get by with a 2WD and some brains, but don't be fooled into thinking, as I did, that the DR is a 4x4 minus the tranny and driveshaft. I'm no mechanic, but the PreRunners I've looked underneath don't seem to use leaf springs but rather some (presumably better) method of suspension. And the biggest thing going for them is that they certainly look to the naked eye to be built the same as a 4x4 Tacoma right up to the driveshaft and tranny.

    Things to consider: if you think the Nissan just feels better, go with your instincts in a truck you feel most comfortable in. You are correct in that the Nissan's front fascia sucks [non-permissible content removed]. Get it in matte black (XE) and it's hideously butt-ugly. Get it painted, and it may chip away. In fact, I'd be even more concerned with those huge fender flares scratching and chipping (assuming you plan to take this thing offroad, in the brush) than the front fascia.

    Also, consider that you can get a Frontier Crew Cab 2WD for approximately the same price as a Tacoma PreRunner (NOT CrewCab). I haven't actually priced the 2001's to know the exact comparison; I speak out of what I know from the 2000 market I shopped almost a year ago.

    After owning my Camry and Frontier for a while, I am definitely a Toyota man. I will live and die by Toyotas. But if you want a 2nd vehicle for a different application such as off-roading, and you can't afford a 2nd Toyota, the Nissan makes a pretty good substitute.
  • mdb3930mdb3930 Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for some great input! I just bought the DR last night and I am very happy. I must admit that I do like the overall look of the Toy better, but the value has to be in the Nissan. I got the thing FULLY loaded for about $500 over invoice. This particular truck has been on the lot for a while so they wanted it gone. Now, my second question, I am by no means a rough driver. I will not be taking this truck off-road (to my knowledge) and I don't have any boats to tow (yet). I don't live in a harsh environment (Dallas) and I am meticulous about my vehicle upkeep. I just wanted a nice truck to get me around town and Home Depot and stuff like that with the occasional road trip to go biking or camping. I could have been just as happy with a new Accord but I really like trucks. Now, with that in mind, do you think I bought the right truck? Can I expect a long, happy relationship with my new vehicle based on my driving habits? Thanks again
  • alex17alex17 Member Posts: 35

    Dude you just bought a great truck that you really liked and can afford to own. Don't second guess yourself now about it.

    If I told you that you made the biggest mistake of your life and should have bought an Accord, what can you do about it.

    I know many people with 150k+ miles on a variety of Nissan vehicles. I also know of someone who has had very bad luck with Nissans. But I know a person who will never buy Toyota again b/c of his experiences with them.

    Don't let perception become reality. Nissan's manufacturing plant in Tenessee was ranked the best for least number of defects per 1000 vehicles. No matter what the Toyota people say Nissan is not head an shoulders below Toyota.

    My whole point is enjoy your truck. It sounds like a nice vehicle and considering how good you plan on treating it, it should give you many years of reliable service.

  • mdb3930mdb3930 Member Posts: 9
    You guys all sound like my wife! She said what good is a new truck if all I do is worry about it. My problem is that I am a perfectionist and I absolutely will not buy something unless I feel that I am getting what I want at the price I want. This is the 1st new vehicle I have ever purchased (I'm only 24) and to be honest, it's scary. But I totally love my truck. My only complaint is that I haven't been getting enough looks from all the girls in convertables! Could be my face as opposed to the truck!
  • eric2001eric2001 Member Posts: 482
    If it is your face scaring them away, why not just tint the windows?

    PS No offense meant by comment...
  • onlyoneonlyone Member Posts: 39
    I know it's a little late, but...

    I ordered my SE Desert Runner back in September, and it arrived the very end of January. 7 weeks and 3100 miles later, I'm still pleased with it. I am averaging 21 miles per gallon around town, with my very best tank near 24 miles per gallon.

    My only gripes? When it's really cold outside the rear slider window sqeaks, and the rear axle gearing is a bit too low for highway cruising. other than that it looks sharp and attracts lots of attention wherever I go.

    As to that whole "not a 4x4 minus the axle and transfer case thing", I think console needs to look again. While I will agree that having the rear springs setting above the axle is better for some additional ground clearance, it doesn't mean it's not a 4x4. Do you think the Chevy S10 ZR2 is a real 4x4? I sure do and it's suspension is just like the Frontier's and it sets even higher off the ground. Jeep CJs and Wranglers with leaf springs had them perched below the axle. I guess those weren't real 4x4s either. On that note, the Tacoma was the only compact truck I can remember that had a severe problem with the rear springs cracking. Next time you are behind one watch when the driver steps on the gas. The spring wrap is pretty surprising to say the least.

    Now I am not Toyota bashing, I probably would have bought one if they offered a PreRunner with a manual tranny. They have coil sprung front ends, a DOHC V-6, stainless steel exhaust, bigger tires, and an available rear locker. All advantages over the Frontier. But in the end I bought my Frontier because I got what I wanted in a truck at a fair price and have been no more the happier.

    Good luck with her and she'll treat you well.
  • mdb3930mdb3930 Member Posts: 9
    I now have around 200 miles and no complaints to think of. She drives like a dream and the best part is, I know I got a great price. I loaded up an old entertainment center in the bed and drove it to my in-laws'. Handled and drove like nothing was there. I look forward to many years of reliable service.
  • endorfaholicendorfaholic Member Posts: 1
    I own a '01 DR/SC. From the truck standpoint, its what I expected for its class,intent. Solid ride feel with good feedback from all four corners, steering is better than my '96 4wd Tacoma. I have felt John Deer tractors with better power steering than the Toy, but it was a good truck. I purchased the Nissan for the same reason that a lot of us did, value.
    Now as far as the Supercharger goes, it made a huge difference in the fun' factor for what is an under powered(over designed for reliability,under tuned)V6. I test drove both non-SC, SC in the same basic truck and if you are willing to pay the gas bill(the more you use it the worse it gets, big suprise...) then its a must have, and Nissan will still cover it for 100K miles. The best tank I have had so far was 21 mpg of mixed city/road miles, of course this was during the break in 1000. But make no mistake this is no "hot rod" like the GM forced induction prods(cyclone, typhoon), but I didn't buy it to stoplight race(besides my '67 GM V8 product does it better) but if you purchase the Frontier for its value, fit, feel etc... it will be a great truck. Oh yea, lets not forget reliability. I also own a '75 Datsun that is being held together by the Imeron paint that is on it(you can stick your finger through the finder at will)but it still starts every time and loves 'running' through the woods and on the farm.
  • pedaltometalpedaltometal Member Posts: 3
    Just purchased new 2001 Desert Runner-EX, Auto in salsa red. Got it for $2500 under factory invoice. Really happy with the purchase. Does anyone know of a cheaper place to purchase ad-ons. Attempted to purchase add-ons from dealer and they were unwilling to budge on the price at all. I am specifically looking for running boards, push bars and bed extender.
  • consoleconsole Member Posts: 7
    mdb3930... Congrats on the DR. Of course it's a fine truck, and doesn't stand head and shoulders apart from the PreRunner, tho if you really need offroad performance, I stand by my statements. ;-) I wouldn't have bought the DR myself if I didn't believe in it. Sorry for the belated reply; I've been busy for about the past month.
  • yellowdryellowdr Member Posts: 41
    I just picked up the DR. I wondered if I would miss the "87" hardbody that I traded in. Not so far. Ride is great, and buddy with a 4x4 king cab thought that I had brought a 4x4 home.
    Still interested in hearing from anyone who drives in the snow with a DR 4x2.
    Let me know what to expect. PA winters get interesting. THanks,
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