Nissan Frontier Towing

tent2tttent2tt Member Posts: 46
I am trying to find a reliable truck with as good gas mileage as possible that can tow a maximum 5,500 lbs hard sided (not fold-down) travel trailer (that's the GVWR fully loaded up + 2 passengers) without overtaxing the engine going up hill and while still getting decent gas mileage towing and around town (particularly around town). Decent gas mileage to me is at least 20 mpg when NOT towing. I have now heard from three people who use a Tacoma to tow up to 5,000 lbs. and feel that it works quite well while still getting 12-17 mpg. A fourth said he white-knuckled it with a Tacoma until he bought a Dodge Ram 2500.

I just test drove a 07 NISMO 4 x 4 Crew Cab Short Bed Frontier last night and really liked it (sweeet ride), but I wonder if it could safely and comfortably tow a travel trailer, or if I should go with a Tacoma or Dodge Ram instead. For power and safety, the Ram seems to be in the lead, for reliability, the Tacoma.

I own a 00 Altima that has been a terrific car, so I do like Nissans, but I need the right truck for the job.

Can anyone out there speak to the real-world towing abilities and mpg (towing and not towing)of the Nissan Frontier with a hard-sided travel trailer?

Any input is much appreciated!


  • driver56driver56 Member Posts: 408
    Check out the 05 tough truck shoot-out by Edmunds. They drove both trucks up a pass, in mid-summer, in Death Valley pulling a 5000lb. trailer. They both performed admirably. I'm a Nissan fan myself, the Frontier is my truck of choice.
  • tent2tttent2tt Member Posts: 46
    Driver 56,

    Thank you for your response--I have spent days online trying to find all the reviews I could on each truck, but had not come across this review, which is exactly what I was looking for. The 07 Frontier doesn't get as good gas mileage as the Tacoma, but has more a little more HP and torque, so I wonder if it might have just a little more ooomph going uphill too. That's why I got my Nissan Altima over the other makers back in 00... it had the strongest engine in a 4 cyl. and still got decent mpg. I have never regretted that decision. The bottom line is I just want to feel safe and steady going up hills with that load... I don't need to outrace anyone.
  • driver56driver56 Member Posts: 408
    I think you'd find the gas mileage (real world) figures very close with these two trucks. I'm happy with mine after driving a Toyota Van for 9 years. The thing is, you really have to discipline yourself cause these babies have the torque! I found the Frontier to have more fun built into it.
    I can't respond in regard to the towing aspect, but I do know that these mid-sizers are very capable.
    Enjoy your search and good luck!

    p.s. I researched for 2 years before I bought. It pays to be patient.
  • tent2tttent2tt Member Posts: 46
    Test drove a Frontier this past week and the Tacoma yesterday--the ride of the Tacoma can't even begin to compare with the Frontier. It felt like a flashback to when I was test driving my Altima and competing brands: Toyota, Honda, Saturn. The Altima had the power and the smooth, easy ride. Felt the same in the Frontier. Now if I can just find an after-market product that will increase the gas mileage! :)
  • driver56driver56 Member Posts: 408
    Yea, that's how both my wife and I felt when testing both. I was more at one with the Nissan, she too. She preferred the Taco interior, I did not. There is also more headroom in the Fronty. Size wise, the Nissan makes more sense for our particular needs. I believe the Toy is a good truck.
    That said, I'm O.K. with the mileage figures, but I drive with a light foot 90% of the time, and we only put 9-10 K on our vehicles each year, and only have the one.
    This is a towing comparo thread, so enough said.

  • fossilfinder66fossilfinder66 Member Posts: 2
    I work for the so called evil empire (oil business). We are in reality just working stiffs like everyone else trying to feed our families. As for gas mileage increasing wonder devices, there are none. If they existed the auto manufacturers would kill to add them to their vehicles. All the magic gas mileage pills do is take money out of your wallet. Go to the .gov website on how to save fuel. BTW I just bought a 2007 Frontier King cab and will trade my Tundra crewcab. Toy is just too big to park and maneuver as I go to a lot of meetings downtown. Ride in the Frontier was awesome and comfortable.
  • 81trekker81trekker Member Posts: 51
    The Fleetwood E-2 is an off-road popup that is more heavy-duty than the typical popup. Has a large front deck for hauling stuff, up to an ATV. The gross weight of the trailer is 4600 lbs. The Frontier's limit is 6100 lbs. so I'm within 3/4 of that limit. The issue is the tongue weight limit. For the Frontier, that's 600 lbs. The trailer's tongue weight with battery and two propane tanks is 540, so I'm close to the limit.

    I would not recommend towing a heavier trailer with a 05 Nissan Frontier 4x4 or similar vehicle. I would not try to tow an E2 with a vehicle having a lower towing rating.
    I could feel the presence of the popup (sort of a tension) except at cruising speeds of 65-70 mph on the Interstate. At all speeds, I could feel the impact on the suspension
    system as the bumps was more noticeable. Fortunately, I have the off-road suspension.

    I would use our Nissan Armada, with a towing capacity of about 9000 lbs., if I were driving a much longer distance. Need to get a brake controller installed in it first.

    The weight distribution system seemed to work fine. I did drive off-road without it since this is at speeds 10 mph or less. Otherwise, the arms would not be hitting the bumps and humps. I had to remove the wheel since it was hitting everything. I asked Fleetwood why they used this design and they said due to the weight of the trailer.

    I was not pleased with the extended hitch attachment that connects with the E2 tongue.
    It is an adjustable model and is currently using the setting best suited for the Frontier which means the lower part of it is about 4 or 5 inches off the ground. It hits every bump and hump, but given its construction, I think it can take it. Even without it installed, the trailer hitch occasionally hits in some places. I have had to have the electrical connection replaced once, and I’m now more careful.

    When I got the brake controller installed in the Frontier, the Nissan installed wiring would not work. Trailer dealer had to redo it at 2 hours labor cost to me.

    When I took the E-2 camping last week in the GW National Forest, my only problem was that the battery was defective and died. Had it replaced for free this week. The Frontier had plenty of power for towing the E-2 up steep hills. However, I wonder about the strain it's putting on the suspension and transmission.

    Regarding gas mileage, I normally get 19-22 on the Interstate averaging around 70-72 mph. With the E-2, it dropped to 12-13mpg. I had expected a drop of up to 50%, so
    this was not a surprise.

  • pahunterpahunter Member Posts: 5
    I bought my 2008 Nissan Frontier CC 4x4 LB to tow my 2001 Ford Windstar from Littleton, CO to Winston-Salem, NC. I found out that Uhaul will not rent a tow dolly to me because the truck is not 750lbs heavier that the Windstar. I assumed just because the Frontier can tow 6100lbs that it could tow 6100lbs!!!! Found out also after buying the truck that according to the owners manual that Nissan does not recommend towing over 1000lbs without electric brakes. So your warranty would be invalid if you are towing a 1001lb trailer without electric brakes. If you are looking at buying and using this vehicle for towing within it's parameters , alot more is involved than simply hooking up and plugging in the trailer lights. I am disgusted by Nissan advertising that the Frontier can tow 6100lbs and not qualifying their statements.
  • moparbadmoparbad Member Posts: 3,870
    Crew Cab 4WD Frontier will safely tow a 4,000 lbs Windstar with the proper towing equipment.
    No problem.

    Under Uhaul rules they could not knowingly rent a dolly for towing a Windstar as the Windstar exceeds the 3,450 lb max wt. of the vehicle (FWD) being towed. This is true even if the tow vehicle was an F350.

    A flat bed (auto transport Uhaul definition) from Uhaul would not have been an option either due to required weight ratios.

    There are many tow dolly with electric brakes that would safely and legally tow the Windstar behind the Frontier.

    See your owner's manual or Nissan Towing Guide for specific towing information.

    It is your responsiblity to know the specifics of your individual towing requirements and compare them to specified Frontier capabilities, not Nissans.

    About 2/3 of all vehicles I see on the road that are towing are towing at improper speeds, equipped improperly, or overloaded. An endorsement on drivers license and rigourous qualifications to obtain it are needed to be added for towing IMO.

    I've used Frontier CC 4WD to tow a tractor on a flatbed (combined weight 5200 lbs) over 700 miles. Frontier handled the task very well.
  • moparbadmoparbad Member Posts: 3,870
    When transporting tow dolly empty I use a partially filled w/ water 55 gallon plastic drum very securely strapped to the dolly to prevent bouncing of the dolly and damage to it from bouncing. I empty out the water and put the empty drum in truck bed when I arrive and need to load a vehicle onto the dolly.
    Much safer than using bricks with bungee cords that I've seen people use.
  • gonvales2000gonvales2000 Member Posts: 1
    I am trying to figure out what size trailer can I pull. Is it safe to pull a trailer that the dry weight is 3,200 lbs. Any advice would be great. Thank-you
  • vwsellhvwsellh Member Posts: 1
    I move large trucks and would like to tow my 2001 Frontier with automatic trans. behind them. Can this be done, and if so, are any modifications/additions needed such as a trans. oil cooler? Thanks.
  • crh47crh47 Member Posts: 20
    I pull a 17 foot ski boat with my 2001 Frontier and have no problems. I've pulled everything from hardwood to furniture. It never slacks up...just remember to take the auto tranny out of overdrive.
  • smitty26smitty26 Member Posts: 2
    I have a new 26ft Jayco trailer (4500lbs dry) and I am looking at the Frontier as a means to pull it. I know that the Frontier will pull 6100lbs however would this trailer with some gear in it be pushing the vehicle? Would I be better off with a full size truck?

  • moparbadmoparbad Member Posts: 3,870
    First, what trim and equipment of Frontier would you be using to tow?

    I have a 4WD CC with automatic and have towed between 4,000 and 5,500 pounds several times on a flatbed trailer with electric brakes.
    No problems and I felt the power was adequate. I never went over 60 mph and I did feel that the tail was wagging the dog but not to the extent I would not tow the load again.
    I can't say how the Frontier will do with the 26ft Jayco as that is a large trailer in addition to a sizable weight.

    Frequency of towing, distance to be towed and tongue weight are questions that are important.

    Yes, you are better off with a full size truck to tow the Jayco.
  • smitty26smitty26 Member Posts: 2
    I am looking at the LE for towing.

    The trailer of course would have the electric brakes but I was hoping to be able to get the Frontier over a full size just because of the gas mileage as a regular vehicle.

    the tongue weight is about 540 lbs
  • zhampton21zhampton21 Member Posts: 27
    What works best for towing...

    Manual or Auto transmission?
  • laserdoc85laserdoc85 Member Posts: 1
    Just got this truck. It already had a hitch on it along with a wiring harness for the trailer. Problem is my trailers lights did not work. So I went to Autozone and bought a universal harness. Hooked it up to my wires like the last one. I get dim turn signals and dim brake lights. Even one of the trailer side lights come on when I hit the breaks. Its not the trailer because when I hook my Ford up to it it works just fine. How do I fix this one?? Have seen some posts about a wiring harness that talks about the power windows?? 126 bucks!!! But it looks like I have to run it the whole lenght of the truck!! Isn't there a easier way!!!!
  • kyimbakyimba Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2008 Nissan frontier. I HATE the after market strap on mirrors I have for towing. :mad:

    Are there any towing mirrors out there for the Nissan Frontier?

    Is it possible to take the extened towing style mirrors from a Titan and install on the frontier?
  • onoffroadonoffroad Member Posts: 17
    Have a 27' travel trailer,brake control,sway control,weight dis. hitch ! Weight around 5400lbs(guess)! My frontier,se,cc,4wd tows great! Can tow in or out of OD ! Tow to mountains of western N.C. ! Will tow were friends(full size trucks) won't! What a motor and tran. ! Thinking about getting larger trailer because it tow so good !
  • mrcharlesbmrcharlesb Member Posts: 3
    I towed a Uhaul 16ft trailer with my 2000 Nissan Frontier and it struggled. Kept heating up on hills, my cooling system is in good condition but it's not large enough for towing anything other than a boat or small trailer. I would definitely get a full size truck for heavy towing.
  • onoffroadonoffroad Member Posts: 17
    Full size Trucks;Chevrolet,GMC 1500 LS with 4.8V8-5500 lbs.,with 5.3 V8-6000lbs. Ford F150 STX 4.6 V8,5.4 V8-5700 lbs. towing.These are 4x4 extended cab trucks! My 4x4 Frontier 6100 lbs.Frontier came with oil and trans.cooler.Just plug brake control under dash ! IF you are into it !!! Frontier will out run them too !!! Trucks change from 2005 up ! They are about the same size as 2004 Tundra ! Got my truck for Edmund's price !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Had Ford and Toyota trucks ! Like them,but this 09 Frontier has one heck of a motor and tran.!
  • steelydanfansteelydanfan Houston Member Posts: 134
    edited September 2011
    The 2005 and later Frontiers are larger , have bigger engines/ they will tow more loads than your 2000 Frontier..........

    Most of these posts on this thread refer to the current generation ( 2005-2012) Trucks.
  • steelydanfansteelydanfan Houston Member Posts: 134
    Hi, new Frontier Crew Cab owner here , 1st pickup truck for me. This particular SV unit came with lots of "add-ons" but no trailer towing package.

    I will be towing a Boy Scout trailer for weekend campouts, also a Ford Model T on a flat bed trailer. Both are 5,000 lbs or less.

    I am reading the owner's manual but I just wanted to know what a typical trailer hitch installation would entail that would be cost effective and allow the Frontier to tow at it's maximum ratings.

    Also, I am going to get the wiring harness from the Nissan dealer. Doesn't it make sense to just get the 6 or 7 pin harness even if I don't use all of the capabilities of that harness right now?

    Down here in Texas, I got the 4 X 2 Frontier, it is rated at 6300 lbs, 200 lbs MORE than the 4 X 4 model. It doesn't snow down here ( or rain :cry: ) , and off roading is not my deal, not to mention the mechanicals down the road....My .02 worth.

    Thanks for the feedback from those more experienced in the art of towing.......
  • 5ta7_ta3_i5ta7_ta3_i Member Posts: 3
    We recently bought a '12 LWB SL crew with the 4.0 V6 and are thinking of selling our class C motorhome and buying a trailer in the 3500-4100 dry weight range. Loaded we would come pretty close to the 6000 LB rating. My questions are:

    -What kind of MPG have you experienced? in what region, road and terrain?
    -What are you pulling?
    -What hitch equipment?
    -Any transmission or brake issues?

    In our class C we're happy when we get over 8mpg towing our Matrix, if the Fronty would be in the single digits, we'll probably stick with our current setup. Thanks for your help!
  • jayfrontierjayfrontier Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 with 57k miles. The previous owner didn't drive it much.

    I pull a pop up at about 1200 lbs and when I get to a steep hill I floor it and it feels like it won't make it. The engine is screaming. This is a v6 3.3 liter crew cab automatic. It seem like it could pull this kind of weight will little problems.

    I'm considering getting a bigger camper that weights 2700 lbs dry.
    I'm really afraid that this is going to be a problem.

    It seems that this truck is rated for much higher towing, but I do live in Colorado so maybe the altitude has something to do with it.

    Should I have it checked out or does this seem normal?

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