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2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab

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2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

Unless you work in construction or have a need to tow massive objects, a mid-size pickup is preferable over a full-size model and will likely fill most of your moving and hauling requirements. While there are a number of options from which to choose, in the world of mid-size pickups, there is no finer example than the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup. As ideal for hauling a massive mulch pile as it is ferrying dirt bikes, jet skis or a single snowmobile, the Frontier Pickup is a versatile and well-rounded vehicle that is as comfortable on road as it is off. With a fully boxed frame for maximum rigidity, the Frontier feels solid and rattle-free. The available spray-in bedliner and Utili-track Bed Channel System place the Frontier a step above its competitors, as does its powerful V6 engine. Then again the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Dodge Dakota all offer a standard-cab model, whereas the entry-level cab configuration for the 2012 Nissan Frontier King Cab pickup is an extended cab. Still, as the King Cab's pricing starts well below the $20,000 mark, we don't think too many customers will complain about the extra space.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for the simplest, smallest and least expensive mid-size truck, not to mention one you won't care about if it gets beat up, the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup probably isn't the best choice. Those who need to tow more than 6,500 pounds should look to a full-size V8-powered truck such as the Nissan Titan, Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, Nissan adds a new Sport Appearance Package on King Cab and Crew Cab SV models; Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) are made standard on Frontiers with the 4-cylinder engine.

Driving the Frontier Crew Cab

Driving Impressions That the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup's 4.0-liter V6 engine is a variation of the award-wining V6 found in the 370Z had us hoping for Z-like performance in a modern pickup....

Instead, what we found was a powerful pickup geared more toward pulling, climbing and hauling, but still capable of putting down some very respectable zero-to-60 times. The 4.0-liter engine is surprisingly refined, offering plenty of power without harsh vibrations or loud mechanical gear noise. With 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque on hand, we had no problem with the chores assigned by our editor, and our fuel economy hovered between 18 and 22 mpg highway, a variation that was dependent upon speed, elevation and cargo. With the exception of the wind noise emanating from the large side mirrors, the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup's cabin is serenely quiet and comfortable. In day-to-day driving, Nissan's Frontier Pickup handles as well as any mid-size SUV we've driven, although the ride over rough pavement is noticeably harsher. Opt for the PRO-4X package with its big BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires, and the Frontier becomes an off-road king. During our test, we challenged our PRO-4X-equipped Frontier Pickup to tackle some serious terrain, which, thanks in large part to its stiff frame and powerful engine, the Frontier negotiated effortlessly.

Utili-track Bed Channel System
Movable and removable cleats make it easy to transport even cumbersome cargo loads safely.

PRO-4X trim
Where some pickups just look the part, the PRO-4X is the real deal, turning the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup from light-utility vehicle to mud-slinging weekend warrior. Toss in the PRO-4X Luxury Package, and you can pamper yourself while punishing your truck.

2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Details
Interior

Inside the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup is a cab that is both versatile and comfortable. Clever features such as the dual-stack glove boxes and numerous 12-volt power points speak to the Frontier's pickup truck purpose, while 1-liter cup holders show a keen understanding of the Frontier's target audience. But Nissan knows a modern pickup must also be a very livable daily driver, so the Frontier can be equipped with such high-end luxury trappings as leather seats, a power glass moonroof, power and heated front seats and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. Crew Cab models feature a standard-size rear bench seat and full-size rear doors, while the King Cab is equipped with smaller rear-hinged half doors and a flip-up rear jump seat. Both models can be equipped with a flat-folding front passenger seat and both come standard with removable storage boxes beneath the rear seats.

Exterior

With its raised fender flares, "angled-strut" grille and oversized tires, the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup clearly draws inspiration from its full-size big brother, the Nissan Titan. But, while the aptly-named Titan seems a colossus, the smaller Frontier has a sportier, more athletic attitude, one geared more toward play rather than work. The 2012 Frontier Pickup offers a choice of King Cab or Crew Cab configurations with a long or short bed and, to keep things looking new, an available spray-in protective bedliner. Underneath the bed and cab, factory-available skid plates protect the Frontier's most vital bits from being damaged while off-road adventuring, while the optional Utili-track bed tie-down system with five movable cargo hooks helps keep precious cargo safely in place.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In base S trim, the 2012 Nissan Frontier Pickup is equipped with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, a 5-speed manual transmission, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags, and 15-inch steel wheels. Five- and 6-foot bed lengths are available on the Crew Cab, while the Frontier King Cab offers only a 6-foot bed.

Optional Equipment

Features not included at base sticker price are the 4.0-liter 6-cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission, 4-wheel drive, Utili-track Bed Channel System, factory-applied spray-on bedliner, single-disc CD sound system, 6-disc in-dash sound system with MP3 playback, air conditioning, power door locks/windows/mirrors, keyless entry, and Bluetooth. The PRO-4X off-road model includes the Utili-track system, an on-demand electronic locking rear differential, skid plates and Bilstein performance shocks. The PRO-4X Luxury Package adds power driver and passenger seats, heated leather front seating surfaces, a roof rack with crossbars and a power glass moonroof. The new Sport Appearance Package includes 18-inch SL aluminum-alloy wheels in dark hyper-silver finish, dark grille treatment, body-colored front and rear bumpers, PRO-4X style seats with gray seat bolsters and stitching, foglights, body-side "Frontier" sport graphic, white-faced gauges, and Bluetooth.

Under the Hood

The economical 4-cylinder engine is offered only on the 2-wheel-drive S and SV King Cab, which might become an issue if gasoline prices start to soar again. Nissan's 4.0-liter V6 is plenty powerful and does offer the choice between a manual and automatic transmission, but all that power and performance comes at the expense of fuel economy.

2.5-liter in-line 4
152 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23 (2WD, manual), 17/22 (2WD, automatic)

4.0-liter V6
261 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20 (2WD, manual), 15/20 (2WD, automatic), 15/20 (4WD, manual), 14/19 (4WD, automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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2012 Nissan Frontier Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 531 Ratings for the 2005 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Beware the Transmission Recall!

By on Monday, June 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Cheaper than Toyota"

Cons: "You won't get over $125,000 without spending $$$$"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"A known issue with these trucks is that the radiator fluid leaks INTO the transmission and vice versa. I have spent about $5,000 now trying to get the damage fixed and am still having troubles. I will never buy another Nissan again. They told me it wasn't covered because I had surpassed the mileage of my warranty, yet they knew about this problem and nobody told me when I could have gotten it fixed long ago, when it was still covered. The turning radius is worse than any truck I've ever owned, even far larger ones. It turns like a boat. The interior is pretty basic compared to most vehicles of the same year and price range."

8 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Great family truck

By on Monday, June 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Reliable and handles well."

Cons: "Requires a large turning radius"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This truck has served our family well in providing a 4-door vehicle that has great carrying capacity. We have an aluminum cover over the bed so we have lockable storage, which makes it even more versatile. I haven't had any mechanical problems and we have moved from Utah to Texas in the truck. It rode great and handled well totally loaded."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Reliable

By on Saturday, June 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "payload"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Have not had a single issue in 5 years. Very quick and great power. Good mpg if driving to conserve."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

2012 nissan frontier sv v6

By on Sunday, May 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,400

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Good power fun to drive"

Cons: "Gas milage poor , Confort of interior not good"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"It has been a good truck, My dislikes are gas milage is not that good as i could get same milage n fullsize truck. Interior seat material is not that good as i have 40000 miles ad material starting to wear out. The metal that Nissan uses is very thin compaired to american trucks as it gets dents very easy. Its ok but next truck will not be a Frontier"

10 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Best truck I have ever owned.

By on Thursday, May 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Lots of power and a great price."

Cons: "Needs replaceable batteries for the valve stems."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This truck should get more notice by buyers. Its beats the Toyota trucks by a long shot and as most after market parts builders and magazines say, it is not a Toyota. What a bunch of bad stuff. This truck is all I could ever want in a truck and it rides like a Cadillic in the woods with all the power you would want, plus good MPG's to boot. The only thing I have did to this truck is replace the radiator and the valve stems because the batteries went dead. A better truck at a great price."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

I purchased my 2013 frontier v6 brand new!

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "love the back up camera/and price"

Cons: "needs better rim syles"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this truck! I looked at many trucks, and for a female (that has no clue about whats under the hood) this truck fit perfect! It drove so smooth, and wasn't a monster and did its job for anything from driving kids to cheer to long drives to southern and northern cali! Unfortunately, recently I was in a four car accident, when somebody rear ended me and I collided into a suburban. Though I'm sad that my Frontier is totaled, I couldn't be happier this truck saved me! I am looking into purchasing another frontier soon. Not only the comfort, style, and its does the job from point A to B with kids. I feel safe to know this truck can also with stand accident like I experienced! I would really recommend this truck to mothers/fathers for safety!"

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?