Go

2012 Nissan Frontier King Cab

Overview
Share this page
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?

2012 Nissan Frontier King Cab Review

By

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 King 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 King 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

Buying this car?

2012 Nissan Frontier Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 162 Ratings for the 2005 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Great truck, nice power, good rule economy

By on Friday, May 6, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value for the money. Lots of umpf."

Cons: "Transmission doesn't like cold weather."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have had this truck for a little over a year and use it for towing a boat, hauling stuff for the house, and commuting back and forth to work. Fuel economy is good for a truck with a 4L V6and I get 20-21mpg on my daily commute back and forth to work. I have gotten as high as 23.5 on straight hwy driving. Towing my boat I get a little better that 17mpg. It has plenty of pick up and go. So far I have only had to do regular oil changes. The OEM tires are holding up quit well and I think I will get about 40K miles out of them. The only con I have is in cold weather the transmission doesn't like to shift into a higher gear until the truck warms up. The nice grunt it has in warmer water goes away and I run about 2X the rpm. On hilly roads where it stays in high gear and running about 1100rpm in the summer the truck runs at 2000rpm which really lowers the fuel economy. Overall very good truck. The 4L V6 gets much better mileage than my old B2300 which only had a 4 cylinder in it. Still loving it after a year!"

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Good buy for the price

By on Friday, March 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Works as advertized"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I've owned this truck for 1 year, 8,100 miles. King cab S, 2.5L Automatic. My gas mileage is what it said it would get. 17-18 city, 22-23 highway. (This was after the first tank of gas). Plenty of power/pep. Has a little road noise on right side. Seats are comfortable. Overall great construction. Other than being a little rough on bumpy roads, the ride is very good. I like the fact that it's easy for me to get into.(I'm 68)"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Still Early, But So Far, So Good

By on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Power, Comfort, Handleing, Radio, MPG, Quiet."

Cons: "None really but Maybe Look's Too Good. :-)"

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

"This is my 2nd Nissan Truck. 1st one '93 4cyl KC AT 2WD, After 20 year's, replaced with this 2013 6cyl KC AT 2WD. Both Truck's bought New. The '93 was still running good when I sold it. After 20 year's, I just wanted a New Truck. The 2013 is Very Tight and Quiet. The Steering is starting to limber up. I prefer the steering to be too tight than too loose, so that's a positive. This is my only vehicle, so MPG is important, and I'm glad to report after over 20 Fillup's, My truck is averageing 20.6 MPG. My driveing is mixed with Traffic Light's, 2 lane 55mph and Interstate 65mph. If taken care of, these Nissan Truck's hold their Value Good. According to KBB, the '13 is still worth about what I paid for it. The '93, I paid 10K for it out the door; 20 year's later & 176K mile's, it brought 4K cash. That's OK in my book. I also gave the Tacoma a shot, but in the end, I just got more for less money with the Nissan Truck. I took care of the '93 and it paid me back with good service and resale. It's still early on the '13, but I intend to do my part, takeing care of it, and so far, I can report, so good. One thing that I can say about the '13, is that the 4.0 V6 has impressive power, and the 2WD, get's decent MPG, if driven modestly, and it doesn't look Half Bad either. A word of advice; If you want your Truck to last, don't go looking for the nearest Mud Hole that you can find, if you want your Truck to Last. All that marketing showing Truck's in the Mud, Pulling Stump's out of the Ground, and Climbing Bolder's is just Marketing Hype for Sucker's that will wind up with a Wore Out, Broken Down Truck, way before it's time, no matter what Brand you Get."

14 people out of 28 found this review helpful

Loud, runs rough,

By on Monday, October 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
2/10

Cons: "Runs rough, severe vibration at idle in gear."

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

"Loud, runs rough, at idle severe vibration in drive. Wanders back and forth on the road fatiguing to drive."

11 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Excellent truck for the money

By on Saturday, August 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good for long rides & great acceleration"

Cons: "Turning radius & somewhat bland interior"

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

"This is my second Frontier,(my first was a 2004)and love the power & acceleration the V6 provides.The seats are surprisingly comfortable especially for long rides. Another surprise is you can carry a conversation doing 65 mph without raising your voice. The only disappointments are the turning radius which is tight and a better job could have been done with the interior appointments.If you like changing your oil, it takes some getting used to although not as difficult as the 2004 and reading your transmission fluid is also awkward. Otherwise the truck feels solid and Nissan reliability shouldn't be a problem."

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Wonderful vehicle I had to move to a city.

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Wonderful for mountain roads and in the snow"

Cons: "Tire sensors for tire pressure do not work."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This vehicle has low mileage and is in excellent mechanical condition. There are a few minor dents/ Scratches that could be fixed. Interior upholstery is almost like new. Front tires are like new. Back tires have about 50% wear. It is a standard and so in the wintertime it will literally 'creep" down snowy mountain roads in four wheel low."

12 people out of 28 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
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?

Advertisement