With pickup trucks replacing sedans in many of America’s driveways, manufacturers are working overtime to make these once work vehicles more family-friendly. And there’s no more family friendly feature than four real doors. But is a 4-door pickup like this new Nissan Frontier Crew Cab still a real pickup, or just a sedan with a very open-air trunk?

Well, that depends on your point of view. The compact Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is indeed part pickup, it has a 4 foot cargo box, and part family sedan, it has four car-like doors, and with four-wheel drive available, part SUV.

Built on a rugged Frontier 4x4 chassis, both two and 4-wheel-drive Crew Cabs have a stout, aggressive look that will appeal to truck and SUV fans. But with a length of only 193.1-inches, and width of 71.9-inches, it’s as easy to park as any sedan.

However, with 20-inches less bed length than the standard Frontier, big loads are not on the agenda. On the other hand, you needn’t worry about messing up the carpeting in your trunk or cargo area when loading the results of your next fishing trip.

And thanks to the true 4-door configuration, you can finally take the whole family along without half-an-hour of wrestling the kids into the back of a traditional extended cab.

Rear seat room is adequate for adults, and plentiful for kids. And offers provisions for installing a child safety seat. While up front, the adults get a Frontier cockpit that’s roomy, clean and utilitarian.

The dash is plain truck, but well fitted with clear, easy-to-understand controls, especially the large heat-and-ventilation knobs. But while we like the sound of our SE-grade truck’s standard CD-equipped stereo, it’s set too low in the dash for easy use while driving. Something that you won’t mind doing a fair bit of, once you’ve settled into the very supportive bucket seats.

To haul both family and cargo together, the Frontier Crew Cab gets Nissan’s 3.3-liter V6 engine as standard equipment. It releases 170 horsepower, and 200 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices are either a 5-speed manual, or our test truck’s 4-speed automatic. Which let it stroll to 60 in a leisurely 11.0-seconds flat and through the 1/4-mile in 18.2-seconds at 75 miles-per-hour.

But while hardly a rocket at the track, that V6 allows a manual trans Crew Cab to tow up to 3,500 pounds on the road. A capacity that rises to 5,000 pounds with the automatic gearbox.

The ride is firm, but this Crew Cab feels much more solid than last year’s Frontier. Hopefully a feel that carries over to all 2000 Frontier models. Handling is more car-like than many small pickups, with quick turn-ins, smooth lateral transitions, and good steering feel. While braking is handled by front discs and rear drums, with standard ABS. We averaged 132 foot stops from 60. Acceptable for a pickup, SUV, or car. But it’s versatility, not performance, that will draw buyers to the compact Nissan Frontier Crew Cab. That and price! The Crew Cab’s price range starts at $17,810 for a 2-wheel-drive with a 5-speed manual. 4x4 prices begin at $20,410, or about the same as most smaller, less versatile mini-sport-utility vehicles.

It’s handy and affordable. And while it may not meet every truck buyer’s needs, the 2000 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is the most family-friendly pickup to have hit the market yet, and an early example of the first hot new trend in trucks for the new millennium.


  • Engine: 3.3-Liter V6
  • Horsepower: 170
  • Torque: 200 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 11 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 18.2 Seconds @ 75 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 132 Feet