2012 Nissan Frontier

The 2012 Nissan Frontier is designed as a compact pickup truck. Anyone looking for a Pickup with top notch safety features and reliable performance should go for this particular model.

The diversity of pickups has undeniably dwindled in recent years, with only a few makers focusing on this vehicle type.

The Frontier shows great promise in particular areas in performance compared to its competitors but also suffers some drawbacks when it comes to interior design.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Truck Base Price: $19,010.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 21.1 gallons (54L) MPG: 19 city / 23 hwy
Length: 205.5 in. (521.9 cm) Wheel Base: 125.9 in. (319.7 cm)
Height: 68.7 in. (174.5 cm) Width: 72.8 in. (184.9 cm)
Curb Weight: 3686 lbs (1672 kg) Ground Clearance: 7.6 in. (19.3 cm)
Max Payload: 971 lbs Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 16 Valve 4 Cylinder DOHC Displacement: 2.5 Liter
Horsepower: 152 HP Max RPM: 5200 RPM
Torque: 171 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Max Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs (1587 kgs) Maximum Speed: NA
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Frontier SV King MSRP: $22,300; MPG: 19 city / 23 hwy
Option:SV V6 King MSRP: $22,890; MPG: 16 city / 20 hwy
Option:Pro 4X 4×4 King MSRP: $28,780; MPG: 15 city / 20 hwy
Option:Crew S 4×2 MSRP: $23,050; MPG: 16 city / 20 hwy
Option:Crew SV V6 4×2 MSRP: $24,140; MPG: 16 city / 20 hwy
Option:Crew Pro-4X 4×4 MSRP: $29,670; MPG: 15 city / 20 hwy
Option:Crew SL V6 4×2 MSRP: $29,540; MPG: 15 city / 20 hwy


This model comes with 2 engines. Frontier models fitted with the 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine boasts 152 horsepower. Frontier trims fitted with 4.0 liter V6 engines run at 261 horsepower. The Frontier also comes with either a 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive.


The 4-cylinder engine comes with a 5 speed manual transmission while those equipped with the V6 come with the standard 6-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy is generally better with the V6 engine.

The additional cylinders that go with the 2 liter model pose a significant drawback to fuel economy. However, the 5 speed automatic transmission that comes with the highest model trim, the SL Crew Crab boasts a fairly stable performance compared to other brands within the vehicle class.


The 2012 Frontier is definitely one of the best looking modern Compact Pickups. Everything from how the fenders are designed against the wheel wells to the distinctive grille, this model features a sleek modern look from the outside.


Seating, on the other hand, has always been a touchy issue with Compact pickups. The Frontier does indeed suffer from terrible feedback when it comes to the spacing and comfort for the rear seats, especially with the 4 seat King Crab trim.

You should be aware of the seating limitations of most pickups. The 5 seat trims, however, are significantly more comfortable in the back seat area.

The interior features of the Frontier are adequate albeit somewhat cheap plastic look and feel of the materials. To be fair, most pickups do suffer from such complaints. However, when compared to its competitors, the Frontier is a step behind when it comes to style and standard in interior design. To get standard functionalities seen in other brands, shoppers will have to go for the higher Frontier trims. Despite all this, the Frontier still boasts a handy and easily accessible layout.

Safety & Reliability

The Frontier scores pretty well when it comes to highway safety standards. Roof strength, side impact and frontal offset scores for the Frontier are “Good” while it ranks at “Acceptable” when it comes to rear crash testing.

Generally, the four wheel drive models score much better compared to the two-wheel drive models in rollover risks tests. Safety functions include dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags as well as side curtain airbags.

The Frontier also comes with front-seat active head restraints. Furthermore, the Frontier scores 4.5 out of 5 in Reliability according to the standards set by J.D. Power.


The Nissan Frontier is reliable. It has the best safety features available and scores well in several standard safety tests. It is one of the best looking Compact Pickups in the market. Interior features are substandard but are accessible.

Engine performance is top notch. However, fuel economy may not be a strong point for particular engine models. Anyone looking for a straightforward, safe and reliable design may find all the essentials in the Frontier.

Overall Rating
67 out of 100

What others say:

“If you’re looking for a compact pickup with big aspirations, the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup makes a good choice. Able to tow up to 6,500 pounds, the Frontier Pickup is a rugged workhorse that just also happens to be rather fashion savvy around town.”KBB

“Nicely balanced for a pickup truck. The steering feels weighty and direct, but is slow to react in tight U-turns and parking spots. Body lean is evident in corners but is not excessive for a vehicle of this type.”Consumer Guide

“You may not need to go full-size–the 2012 Nissan Frontier pickup truck can cover a lot of the same ground a bigger pickup can.”Car Connection

“Sturdy chassis; strong V6; easy-to-use cabin controls; comfortable front seats; stout bed lining and tie-down points; agile handling.”Edmunds