First Impressions: 2018 Nissan Frontier Midnight

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2018 Nissan Frontier Midnight

This compact truck gets a little extra edge.

By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018

Tucked among the hundred or so vehicles available to drive at the 2018 Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally, the Nissan Frontier Midnight wasn’t hard to spot. It’s hard to picture a compact pickup truck compared to a full size pickup — or even a full size SUV — until they’re right there in front of you, but then it becomes clear: Yes, this truck really is small. However, the Midnight Edition package gives the Frontier a distinctive look and feel, particularly compared to the bright and bold colors on most other vehicles in attendance. Can this special edition help the Frontier truly stand out from the crowd?

Since the Midnight Edition is mainly an appearance package, let’s start there. The package is available on three exterior colors: white, gray, and black. It adds exclusive 18-inch black alloy wheels, body color bumpers, and black front grille, step rails, side mirrors, door handles, and Midnight Edition badges. Since the Frontier is a pretty understated truck to begin with, the Midnight Edition elements add visual interest without overdoing it.

Our driving impressions of the Frontier Midnight Edition were solid. It’s known for being one of the older trucks in the segment, but in some ways, that works in its favor. For example, the simplicity of the infotainment system was very refreshing. After a day of being bombarded by ever more complicated and confusing interfaces, it was nice to hop in this truck, simply turn on the music, and go. For 2018, Nissan added a rearview camera and Bluetooth to all Frontiers as standard equipment, which help bring it up to date without adding unnecessary complexity. The Midnight Edition gets the Frontier’s optional 4.0-liter V6 engine and 5-speed automatic transmission, rated for 261 horsepower. It’s a basic, easy to drive, reasonably comfortable truck with solid acceleration.

The Midnight Edition package is available across most of the Nissan lineup, and if the Frontier is too small of a truck for your needs, the package is also available on the larger Titan and Titan XD trucks (which were not available at the rally). The 2018 Nissan Frontier starts at $18,990. The Midnight Edition is based on the SV trim level and available only with Crew Cab configuration. The Midnight Edition package adds $995 to the cost of the truck and starts at $27,345.