Should You Take the 2005 Nissan Frontier Nismo Off-Road?

The 2005 Nissan Frontier Nismo is a top contender when it comes to tackling trails with finesse.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Nissan Frontier
was already a great compact pickup truck, but the 2005 Nismo version—also called NISMO Off-Road—took its off-roading capability up a notch.
Almost all ads for pickup trucks feature the truck on a rugged mountain and talk about its rugged capability—but not all of them fit the bill for major off-roading. With the Nismo configuration, the Nissan Frontier is more than ready to hit the trails. 
Here to lay out all of the crucial details of the 2005 Nissan Frontier Nismo is
, the car insurance expert and car
super app
. We’ll cover everything that makes it an ideal off-roader—like ground clearance and torque—and give you some alternatives if the Frontier isn’t your jam. 
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Can the 2005 Nissan Frontier Nismo go off-road?

Totally! As far as pickup trucks go, the Nissan Frontier Nismo is one of the most capable options around. The standard Nissan Frontier can handle a fair bit of off-roading, but the Nismo version was made for it. With special shock absorbers, undercarriage-protecting skid plates, an active traction system, hill descent control, and hill start assist, the Nismo’s got it all. 
NISMO—standing for Nissan Motorsport International Limited—is Nissan’s performance division. The idea for the Frontier NISMO version was birthed from the brand’s off-road racing trucks. The 2005 Frontier Nismo has a fair purchase price of $7,785 for the
Crew Cab
, making it a great option for a used vehicle with off-road ability. 
Don’t just take our word for it—check out the off-roading specs of the Frontier Nismo yourself here. 

Ground clearance

One of the most important details to look at when deciding on a vehicle’s off-roading ability is its ground clearance—and the 2005 Frontier Nismo has a whopping 10.1 inches of ground clearance to play with. 
It’s recommended to have between 8.8 and 10.8 inches before hitting any serious trails with a vehicle, so the Frontier Nismo makes the cut beautifully. Vehicles with higher ground clearance make it easier and safer to go over rocky or bumpy terrain without damaging the important parts underneath. 
When you put the Frontier Nismo’s 10.1 inches of clearance up against major off-roading vehicles like the
Jeep Wrangler’s
9.7 inches, the Frontier Nismo can clearly hold its own on the backroads. 


Ground clearance isn’t the only number worth checking when considering an off-roader. Vehicles best for off-roading have low-end torque, or higher torque at lower rpm. When you’re on twisting trails, turning power matters more than sheer speed, and a low-end torque enables the car to go over rocks or other obstacles at lower speeds. 
The Frontier Nismo’s 4.0-liter V6 engine cranks out 284 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm. While low-end torque is preferably between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm, this Nissan’s torque is definitely practical for rougher terrain. 


The Frontier Nismo doesn’t play around when it comes to its standard tires, either; the 2005 models came set with P265/75R16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail A/T off-road tires on 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
All-terrain tires
, or A/T tires, are created for a blend of both highway driving and off-roading. Their open tread provides better traction and grip for rougher roads—though they do tend to wear out faster than other tires. 


No vehicle is built for the trails unless it has a four-wheel or all-wheel drive. Luckily, the 2005 Frontier Nismo was offered in both 2WD and 4WD. Four-wheel-drive models included a four-wheel limited slip differential, redirecting torque to the non-slipping wheels on surfaces with lower traction. 


One last must-have for a good off-road companion? Angles—the approach angle and departure angle to be specific:
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle a vehicle can descend without interference
The Frontier Nismo has a 31.5-degree approach angle and a 22.6-degree departure angle. While these angles are decent, they don’t come close to the 40-degree+ angles of the most heavy-duty off-roaders. 

Off-road rating: Trail boss

Taking all of these specs into account, we’ve rated the 2005 Nissan Frontier Nismo using
super-technical DIRT system outlined below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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The 2005 Nissan Frontier Nismo earns a T rating: the Frontier Nismo
compact pickup
can tackle just about any landscape out there. It’s not only rugged and capable, but it’s also affordable. You’ll have a hard time finding a more nimble and suitable option for an off-roading pickup. 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2005 Nissan Frontier Nismo

The Nissan Frontier Nismo may be a beast of a pickup on the trail, but that won’t matter if that’s not what you’re in the market for. In that case, you have plenty of alternatives to choose from.
Average Price
Best SUV alternative
The Jeep Commander can handle a fair bit of off-roading *and* carry up to seven passengers.
Best easy-driving alternative
The Ford Explorer Sport Trac can still haul passengers and cargo, but it’s built more for the paved roads than backroads.
Best alternative for heavy off-roading
Obviously the Wrangler can’t carry as much as a pickup, but it’s the best option for any major off-roading expeditions.
MORE: Cheap off-road trucks
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Off-road vehicles may promise more adventure and fun, but they tend to come with higher ownership costs—from replacing tires more often to higher insurance costs. You’re not stuck with expensive insurance rates forever, though—not when you use
, anyway. 
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