2012 Nissan Frontier

MSRP $23,300 - $25,860

Ranked #2 in Pickup-truck

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8.1

Overall Rating

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2012 Nissan Frontier Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The compact pickup truck segment has been a popular option among buyers who want the practicality of a truck but are not looking to throw it in extreme conditions. The 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is one such example as it offers everything you expect from the segment pretty well. There are enough options to choose from depending on your use case. Whether you want a truck to tackle the tough terrains or you are looking for a vehicle to tow some decent weight, the Nissan Frontier has got you covered. 

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Pros

Potent V6 powertrain

Rugged build-quality

Comfortable front seating 

Agile handling

Cons

Small rear seats

Not the most fuel-efficient powertrain in the class

What's New?

Sport Appearance package made optional for the SV trim

Stability control becomes standard


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$23300

bodystyle

4dr Crew Cab

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

rear wheel drive

engine type

displacement

241 cu.in.

horsepower

261 hp @ 5600 rpm

torque

281 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

6 speed manual w/OD

chassis

suspension front

Independent front double wishbone suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Rigid axle rear leaf suspension

dimensions

wheelbase

125.9 in.

length

205.5 in.

width

72.8 in.

height

70.1 in.

curb weight

4232 lbs.

ground clearance

9.8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

101.1 cu ft.

towing capacity

6300 lbs.

payload capacity

1457 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.8 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

15.5 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

16/18/20 mpg

highway range

422 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

powertrain warranty

5 yr./ 60,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Videos


Trims

S$23,300 onwards

  • 15-inch silver styled steel Wheels
  • ABS and driveline Traction control
  • Cloth Seat trim
  • Radio prep Radio

SV$24,390 onwards

  • 16-inch painted aluminum Wheels
  • 16-inch silver aluminum Wheels
  • AM/FM stereo
  • AM/FM/Satellite-Prep
  • Front manual air conditioning
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Seek-Scan Radio

Ratings

Pricing and Features

8.0

Pricing and Feature

7.0

Features

9.9

Engine and Performance

8.0

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

9.0

Safety

8.0

Competition

8.0

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.1

Overall Rating


The Nissan Frontier in its Crew Cab body style can carry passengers along with carrying cargo and towing weight. The 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab will appeal to people who want an all-around pickup truck and also looks familiar with Nissan’s family design language. The powertrain is also good enough for the segment. The 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab competes against the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon.


9.9/10
Features

8.0/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

9.0/10
Exterior

8.0/10
Safety


2012 Nissan Frontier Features

9.9/10

The 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is offered in four trim levels S, SV, Pro-4X, and SL. The standard features with the Frontier Crew Cab include 15-inch steel wheels, front bucket seats, and cloth upholstery. The SV trim adds 16-inch wheels, upgraded tires, air conditioning, a 4-speaker sound system with a CD player, chrome front bumper, keyless entry, and cruise control. The Pro-4X trim adds off-road-oriented features like 16-inch alloy wheels, locking rear differential, off-road tires, Bilstein off-road shocks, and Body-color grille. The top-of-the-line SL trim adds bigger 18-inch alloy wheels and convenience features like automatic headlights, side steps, heated mirrors, and heated power front seats.

Trim

S

SV

Pro-4X

SL

MSRP (Manual)

$26,000

$27,090

$29,920

N/A

MSRP(Automatic)

$27,050

$28,560

$30,970

$32,990

Key Features

15-inch steel wheels

In addition to S:

In addition to SV:

In addition to or replaces Pro-4X features with:

 

Front bucket seat

16-inch wheels

16-inch alloy wheels

18-inch alloy wheels

 

Cloth upholstery

Upgraded tire

Locking rear differential

Automatic headlights

 

Air-conditioning (Optional)

Chrome front bumper

Off-road tires

Side steps

 

4-speaker sound system (Optional)

Keyless entry

Bilstein off-road shocks

Heated mirrors

 

CD Player (Optional)

Cruise control

Body-color grille

Heated power front seats

We recommend

The base S trim of the Nissan Frontier is pretty basic and even lacks some of the basic features that you need daily like air conditioning. Although you can add these features as an option, we recommend going for the Pro-4X trim. The Pro-4X trim level offers the best value for your money. It is a capable off-road truck that will give you peace of mind while going on rough terrains. It also gets all the basic features as standard with the package. 

2012 Nissan Frontier Engine and Performance

8.0/10

The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab comes standard with a 4-liter V6 engine. It skips the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that comes with the Extended Cab models. The V6 engine is quite a capable engine for the class. The engine produces a maximum power output of 261 horsepower and a peak torque of 281 lb-ft. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, you can get the optional 5-speed automatic transmission. The automatic transmission comes standard with the RWD Pro-4X and SL trims. 

The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is available in either an RWD drivetrain or 4WD drivetrain for those who want better off-road capabilities. The performance of the Nissan Frontier is among the best in the class. It is quite a capable powertrain and also offers good towing capacity. The Nissan Frontier can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.2 seconds which is up there with the rivals.

Models

Nissan Frontier

Chevrolet Colorado

GMC Canyon

MSRP

$26,000

$28,460

$29,125

Engine

4.0L V6

3.7L I-5

3.7L I-5

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

RWD

Transmission

6-speed manual

4-speed automatic

4-speed automatic

Power (hp)

261 hp @ 5600 rpm

242 hp @ 5,600 rpm

242 hp @ 5,600 rpm

Torque (lb.ft.)

281 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

242 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm

242 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm

0-60 MPH (seconds)

7.2 seconds

6.9 seconds

7.2 seconds

Quarter Mile (seconds)

15.2 seconds

15 seconds

13.7 seconds

Top speed (MPH)

118 MPH

115 MPH

115 MPH

The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab comes with the most powerful engine in the competition. The acceleration figures of the Frontier Crew Cab are also up there among the best in the class. The acceleration timings of the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon are not available for reference. Still, the difference should not be big when you compare the three pickup trucks. 

2012 Nissan Frontier Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The fuel economy might not be a big factor for big pickup trucks but buyers of light-duty pickup trucks consider fuel economy as one of the crucial factors. The 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab does not offer excellent fuel economy for the segment and performs decently in this area. The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab manages to return a fuel economy of 15 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg of combined fuel efficiency. The Nissan Frontier comes with a 21.1-gallon fuel tank which allows it to offer a maximum highway range of 422 miles on a full tank. 

Models

Nissan Frontier

Chevrolet Colorado

GMC Canyon

MPG (City)

15

16

16

MPG (Highway)

20

24

21

MPG (Combined)

17

18

18

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

21.1

19

19

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

317/422/359

304/456/342

304/399/342

The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is not the best option in its class when it comes to fuel economy. In fact, it offers the worst efficiency when you put it against its rivals. Still, it is not far behind the rivals. The Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon get pretty similar fuel economy figures which are expected as they are powered by the same engine. However, the Chevy gets ahead of GMC in the highway economy. 

2012 Nissan Frontier Interior

9.0/10

The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab does not come with an extraordinary cabin that will draw your attention when you get inside the truck. However, the simple cabin of the Nissan Frontier grows on you as you spend more time in there. The best part about the cabin is the controls that are easy to navigate and use. Nissan Frontier comes with a practical cabin layout. The quality of materials is not top-notch but does not feel cheap either. 

The front row of the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab offers impressive space for the class. It gets bucket seats that provide good support to the driver and the passenger. The design of the dashboard looks simple and the plastic quality looks good enough. However, the space in the rear row of the Frontier Crew Cab is not that good. The small rear seats make the experience even worse as they do not provide good support to the passengers and can get uncomfortable on long trips. The cargo area is quite decent for the class at 27.1 cubic feet.

Models

Nissan Frontier

Chevrolet Colorado

GMC Canyon

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (inches)

40/58.3/42.4

39.3/57.1/42.2

39.3/57.1/42.2

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (inches)

38.7/58.3/33.6

38.3/57.1/34.8

38.3/57.1/34.8

Cargo Capacity (Cubic feet)

27.1

37

37

The Nissan Frontier offers pretty good space for the front passengers. The quality of the cabin is also on par with the rivals. The uncomfortable rear seats do not go in the favor of the Frontier Crew Cab. The Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon offer better space for the rear seat passengers. The Nissan Frontier also lacks in the cargo area where it has a significant disadvantage against the GM rivals. The seats are also more comfortable in the GM trucks compared to the Nissan Frontier. 

Standout interior features:

  • Front bucket seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Tilt-adjustable steering wheel
  • Air conditioning
  • Cruise control

2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Infotainment 

The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab does not come with anything impressive to take care of your entertainment needs inside the truck. It is more of a utility vehicle and we do not expect much in terms of infotainment and technology inside a budget utility truck. The Nissan Frontier offers only the basic features when it comes to infotainment features. You get a 4-speaker audio system along with a CD player which is optional on the base trim and standard on all the other trim levels. The higher trim levels get a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and satellite radio.

Standout infotainment features:

  • 4-speaker audio system
  • CD player
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Auxiliary audio input jack
  • Satellite radio
  • Optional Rockford Fosgate premium stereo

2012 Nissan Frontier Exterior

9.0/10

The exterior styling does not matter much to the buyers of light-duty pickup trucks in the segment. However, the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab will not disappoint the buyers with its exterior styling. It is for sure one of the best-looking pickup trucks in its segment. The Nissan Frontier is easily recognizable as a Nissan vehicle from the front. If you are looking for a light-duty pickup truck that comes with a strong chassis and also looks rugged, the Nissan Frontier is a great choice. 

The front of the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab gets plenty of chrome. The familiar front grille is wrapped in chrome from all around. The black parts in between the grille go well with the chrome design. The massive headlight housing is a common style for most trucks in the segment and the same goes with the Nissan Frontier. The sharp lines on the hood of the truck and roof rails at the top give it a rugged look. The side of the truck remains simple with some muscle on the fenders. 

Models

Nissan Frontier

Chevrolet Colorado

GMC Canyon

Curb Weight (lbs)

4,409

3,728

4,070

Length (inches)

205.5

207.1

207.1

Width (inches)

72.8

67.6

68.6

Height (inches)

70.1

65.2

67.9

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.9

7.7

10.4

Wheelbase (inches)

125.9

126

126

The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is significantly shorter than rivals and the wheelbase is also shorter. However, the width of the Nissan Frontier is better than the Chevy Colorado or the GMC Canyon. The Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is also the heaviest truck in the segment. The Chevy Colorado on the other hand gets the trophy for the lightest truck in the segment. 

Standout exterior features:

  • 15” to 18” wheels 
  • Automatic headlights
  • Side steps
  • Chrome front bumper
  • Keyless entry
  • Heated power mirrors

2012 Nissan Frontier Safety

8.0/10

The 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab comes with a rugged build quality and that is quite evident when you get inside the cabin of the Frontier. The list of standard safety features is also pretty good for the class. It gets features like child seat anchors, dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, stability control, and tire pressure monitoring system as standard.

The safety features include:

  • Child seat anchors
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution
  • Traction control
  • Stability control
  • Tire pressure monitoring system

2012 Nissan Frontier Final Verdict

The 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab is a rugged pickup truck that comes with decent capabilities for the segment. The Pro-4X trim offers a good value and has enough potential to take on the rough terrains with ease. The interior offers decent space and the practicality is also pretty good. Nissan Frontier Crew Cab lacks the convenience features that the rivals offer. You also do not get as many options as the competition. If you are fine with the available options, you can consider the 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab.

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