Should You Take the 2008 Nissan Frontier Nismo Off Road?

The 2008 Nissan Frontier Nismo has what it takes to tackle any trail with ease.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Nov 21, 2022
2008 Nissan Frontier Nismo
took the average compact pickup to the next level when it came to off-road capability. Fit with the right specs, the Frontier Nismo can take on any terrain. 
Nearly every pickup truck ad boasts about their off-roading potential and brawniness, but not all are actually up for the challenge. When fit with the Nismo trim, the Nissan Frontier doesn’t just talk a big game—it plays it, too. 
Here to go over all the specs of the 2008 Nissan Frontier Nismo is
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made to save drivers money on
car insurance
. We’ll touch on what it takes to make a great off-roader—like ground clearance and torque—as well as provide some other choices if the Frontier isn’t your best fit. 
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Can the 2008 Nissan Frontier Nismo go off road?

Absolutely! While the standard Nissan Frontier probably shouldn’t handle any intense terrain, the NISMO trim level bumped up the pickup’s off-roading potential. If you can score a Frontier Nismo fit with the Traction Package, it’s even better for the trails: it provides stability control, hill-start assist, and hill-descent control. 
NISMO—which stands for Nissan Motorsport International Limited—is Nissan’s performance division, so the NISMO trim on the Frontier was inspired by off-road racing trucks. With an average purchase price of $8,621 for the
King Cab
2D and $9,873 for the
Crew Cab
4D, the Frontier Nismo is a solid and affordable choice for a used off-roader. 
What makes the Frontier Nismo so great for off-roading? Here are the details:

Ground clearance

The key to a good off-roading vehicle is decent ground clearance, and the 2008 Frontier Nismo has a ground clearance of 10.1 inches—an ideal number for good trail trekking. 
The best off-road vehicles have a ground clearance between 8.8 and 10.8 inches. Taller vehicles allow you to traverse tough terrain without worrying about your car’s undercarriage. When comparing the Frontier Nismo’s 10.1 inches to top off-roaders like the
Jeep Wrangler’s
9.7 inches, the Frontier Nismo is obviously capable of rivaling even the toughest vehicles.


Off-roading vehicles need more than just decent ground clearance—they also should have low-end torque—higher torque at lower rpm. Torque is an engine’s turning power—what knocks you back into your seat after flooring the gas pedal—and gives cars the power to move over obstacles at lower speeds.
While the Frontier Nismo’s 2.5-liter inline four-engine cranked out just 171 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm, the alternative V6 engine puts out 281 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm. Low-end torque is ideally between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm, but the Frontier Nismo’s torque isn’t too shabby if you go for the V6 engine. 


Another place where the Frontier Nismo shines is its standard tires: P265/75R16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail A/T off-road tires on 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
All-terrain tires
, or A/T tires, are specifically made for a mix of serious off-roading and driving on paved roads. They typically wear down faster, but their grooves provide you with better traction for any adventure. 


Every off-roading vehicle needs either all-wheel or four-wheel drive. The 2008 Frontier Nismo came in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive models were fit with  electronic locking rear differential and limited-slip differentials for both the front and rear, helping the truck keep its traction on more precarious surfaces. 
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One more important number to take into account? Angles—the approach angle and departure angle to be exact:
  • 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’s set with a 31.5-degree approach angle and a 22.6-degree departure angle. These are better-than-average angles but don’t compete with top off-roaders angles in the 40-degree range. 

Off-road rating: Trail boss

Considering all of these details, we’ve given the 2008 Nissan Frontier Nismo an official rating using
hyper-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
The 2008 Frontier Nismo trim gets a T rating: for a
compact pickup
, the Nissan Frontier Nismo can handle as much or more than your average pickup when it comes to craggy landscapes. When it comes to capability and affordability, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option for an off-roading pickup

The best off-road alternatives to the 2008 Nissan Frontier Nismo

It’s clear the Nissan Frontier Nismo is a solid option for a compact pickup that can handle itself in the great outdoors, but if that’s not exactly what you’re looking for, there are plenty of alternatives. 
Average Price
Best cheaper alternative
As a fellow compact pickup, the Dodge Dakota is a good choice if you want to save a few thousand—just don’t expect to off-road much with it.
Best fuel-efficient alternative
The 2007 Tacoma gets better gas mileage than the Frontier Nismo, and as a Toyota, it’s sure to hold up for years to come.
Best alternative for major off-roading
It won’t haul as much as a Frontier, but for any intense off-road excursions, you just can’t beat the Wrangler.

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Off-road vehicles may be more versatile and capable than your average car, but they’re often more expensive to insure. Even with the most beefed-up modifications and safety features, trailblazing involves a greater risk of damaging your car, leading to higher insurance premiums. 
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