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7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.5
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Nissan Frontier Review

Reviewers agreed that the 2012 Nissan Frontier has nimble handling, a comfortable ride and quick acceleration with its available V6 engine.

Pros & Cons

  • Strong acceleration with available V6
  • Agile handling for the class
  • Helpful available Utili-Track tie-down system in bed
  • Small rear seats in King and Crew cabs
  • Low fuel economy for the class

2012 Nissan Frontier Overview

The 2012 Frontier comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, but reviewers recommended upgrading to the more powerful V6, as most said it makes the Frontier feel quite energetic in day-to-day driving. With either engine, the Frontier is available with a manual or automatic transmission. According to the EPA, a four-cylinder, rear-wheel drive 2012 Frontier with an automatic transmission gets 17/22 mpg, which is a bit low compared to similarly equipped compact trucks. The V6 model gets up to 15/20 mpg, which is also low for the class. Reviewers said the Frontier feels nimble for a pickup truck, with accurate steering and well-controlled body lean during cornering. They added that the Frontier’s ride is smooth and compliant, though the off-road-focused PRO-4X model is less comfortable. The 2012 Frontier can tow up to 6,500 pounds when properly equipped.

Test drivers said the 2012 Nissan Frontier has cheap materials throughout its cabin. The King (extended) Cab body style can seat four while Crew Cabs can seat up to five. Reviewers said the front seats are comfortable and supportive. They added that the two fold-down rear seats in the King Cab are very cramped and while the Crew Cab's rear bench seat is larger, it still is not especially spacious or comfortable. Reviewers mentioned that the available Utili-Track tie-down system makes it easier to secure cargo in the bed. Reviewers also liked the 2012 Frontier’s straightforward dashboard controls. When it was new, the base Nissan Frontier didn't come with any notable standard features. Available features include a CD audio system, air conditioning, keyless entry, power door locks, power windows, power-adjustable mirrors, Bluetooth, satellite radio, leather upholstery and heated front seats.

Other Trucks to Consider

Reviewers liked the 2012 Toyota Tacoma’s first-rate interior materials and build quality, and said the Double Cab has spacious rear seats. The Tacoma gets better fuel economy than the Frontier and it was named our 2012 Best Compact Pickup Truck for the Money.

Automotive journalists said the 2012 Honda Ridgeline has a comfortable, car-like ride and more poised handling than most trucks typically have. They also appreciated the Ridgeline’s spacious rear seats and useful lockable compartment underneath the truck bed.

Compare the Frontier, Tacoma and Ridgeline »

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