2012 Nissan Frontier King Cab Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Nissan Frontier King Cab

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Frontier Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 152 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Nissan Frontier

  • The 2012 Nissan Frontier is a top pick in the compact-pickup segment thanks to its brawny nature, relatively nimble handling and innovative features.

  • Safety
  • Pros

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

  • Cons

    Regular cab body style not available; uncomfortable rear seats.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Nissan Frontier SV gets a new Sport Appearance option package, while four-cylinder models get standard stability control.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



2011 frontier 4x4 with 50,000

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Frontier

I bought my 2011 Frontier in June of 2011 and traded my F150 in on it. The truck is driven for work on the highway a lot but also in the field from time to time. I just went over 50,000 miles on this truck and have had only 1 minor fault with it this past winter. Once I did the recommended service on the transmission (Auto) that cleared up as well. I find my truck very comfortable and easy to drive on the highway. I also use the 4x4 from time to time in the woods or afield. I have had no issues at all with that. The only complaints that I would have is the reduced bed size & the gas mileage could be a little better. I could have purchased the longer bed though.




I got the right truck

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Frontier

Bought it brand new... now 1 year later going on 9k miles. Great truck always gets 19 mpg.. Great engine. 4x4 works great, tows very well. I have only a couple minor complaints... The passenger fold down seat rattles and drives me crazy. The turning radius is Terrible. My Armada U-turned Much better than this Frontier. Other than that I love the truck. It is a keeper for sure. I've owned a Ford Ranger and a Chevy Colorado. This Nissan is by far the nicest truck of all them.




It does exactly what i

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Frontier

I purchased this truck new about a year and a half ago. I have driven it nearly 17,000 miles in that time. There are a few complaints, but mostly good comments to make. This truck does exactly what I need it to do. The engine is powerful enough to accommodate standard needs, and still gets decent, for it's class, MPG. The 4WD system and HDC all work smoothly, and the brakes certainly get the job done. The one negative I have overall is the transmission. It's not horrible, but on long trips through mountain passes you will notice it can be a bit of a gear hunter unless you try and tame it down by taking OD off. If you do that, it is much smoother, but revs higher and it will reduce your MPG.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great truck, but as always

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Frontier

Overall I am mostly satisfied with this truck. I've driven this one for just over 8,000 miles. I like the exterior styling except for the excessive amounts of "chrome" or bright shiny metal/plastic. I'm fine with the bumpers being shiny, but the front bumper along with the bright grille is simply to much in my opinion. Not a big deal, I'm paint the grille and that problem is solved.They also attempted to solve this in the 2012 model with the sports package. I'm nearly satisfied with the interior. The materials could have been a bit better, but aren't bad overall. It just seems as if the plastics scuff up pretty easily. Lastly the automatic transmission is a bit of a gear hunter.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great deals on 2011 frontiers

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Frontier

After shopping around and considering everything from a hatchback diesel Golf to a small SUV/crossover, I decided on the Frontier as my primary vehicle for a mix of highway and city commuting. In the end, as for so many others, it came down to the Frontier vs. the Tacoma. Due to several rebates and discounts the 4x4 King Cab V6 with premium package ended up being cheaper than a 4 cylinder regular cab bare bones (not even power windows) Tacoma would have been. So far I love it! Paid $22,700 out the door bottom line price for the King Cab 4x4 V6 with premium package in Night Armor with Graphite interior.



11 of 11 people found this review helpful

Glad i made the switch

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Frontier

After owning a 96 4x4 Ranger for 207K miles I was ready for something new. Had been looking at the Frontier for some time and finally bought. Glad I did. I opted for the 4.0L V6 with a 6 speed manual as the automatic proved to be quite a dog upon acceleration. I'm 3500 miles in and gas mileage is running about 20-21 when running the AC.



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Nissan Frontier Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Nissan Frontier SV gets a new Sport Appearance option package, while four-cylinder models get standard stability control.

Introduction

Back in the days of the Old West, the frontier was a rough-and-ready kind of place. It's also a pretty apt way to describe the 2012 Nissan Frontier.

In practical terms, that means this compact pickup can handle the rough conditions a truck owner is likely to throw at it. As for the ready part, the Frontier is offered in enough different variants that it's capable of filling a wide variety of roles: affordable work truck, tough off-road explorer and occasional family transporter.

Credit for this flexibility goes in part to the Frontier's rugged construction, powerful V6 engine and relatively agile handling. The long list of standard features and available options also makes it possible to tailor the basic vehicle to match your intended use. If there's a significant downside, it's that the rear seats are rather upright and consequently uncomfortable, especially in extended-cab versions.

Admittedly, a big reason the 2012 Nissan Frontier looks so good is the shortage of worthwhile alternatives. The Dodge Dakota has been discontinued and the current-generation Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins leave a whole lot to be desired. The Honda Ridgeline is an intriguing choice for buyers looking for a carlike ride and a comfortable cabin, but it's less rugged and far more expensive than the Frontier. That leaves the Toyota Tacoma, which is very comparable to the Frontier but places more emphasis on style and comfort over get-'er-done capability.

Put it all together and you have a small pickup that's as well-suited to life on the frontier as it is the urban jungle.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Nissan Frontier is a compact pickup truck that's offered in extended-cab (King Cab in Nissan-speak) and crew cab body styles. King Cab models come with fold-down rear seats and a 6-foot cargo bed, while crew cab versions get a 60/40-split-folding rear bench and a choice of a standard 5-foot or optional 6-foot bed. There are also four trim levels available: S, SV, PRO-4X and SL.

The entry-level S is a rather bare-bones affair, with a standard equipment list that includes 15-inch steel wheels, front bucket seats and cloth upholstery. The S Preferred package adds air-conditioning and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player.

Stepping up to the SV trim level includes the Preferred package items along with 16-inch wheels (steel on models with inline-4 engines and alloy on V6-powered versions), upgraded tires, a chrome front bumper and a sliding rear window. Inside you'll find upgraded cloth upholstery, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories and a tilt-only steering wheel. Options for the SV include the Sport Appearance package that bundles 18-inch alloy wheels, dark grille treatment and body-colored bumpers, foglamps, eight-way manual front seats, upgraded "sport" cloth upholstery, Bluetooth and an upgraded stereo with six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The Premium Utility package adds a spray-in bedliner, adjustable tie-down points, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and the upgraded stereo with six speakers and satellite radio (automatic transmission only).

For those planning on taking the road less traveled, there's the PRO-4X, which features a standard V6, 16-inch alloy wheels, off-road tires, a locking rear differential, Bilstein off-road shocks and underbody skid plates, along with a body-color grille. Besides these hardware upgrades, the PRO-4X gets most of the SV's options as standard equipment, plus two-tone upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, white-faced gauges, a trip computer, a first aid kit and a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. The PRO-4X Luxury package (crew cab models only) adds a sunroof, roof rack and cross bars, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger) and a rear-seat center armrest.

The top SL trim, which is only offered on crew cab models, loses the PRO-4X's off-road-oriented equipment but retains most of the items in the PRO-4X Luxury package except for the sunroof, which is available as an option. Additional standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and side steps that make for easier access to the cab.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Nissan Frontier is offered with a choice of two engines. Extended-cab S and SV models come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder good for 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual and rear-wheel drive are standard, and a five-speed automatic is available as an option. EPA fuel economy estimates are 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with the manual transmission, and 17/22/19 with the automatic.

Optional for the SV extended cab and standard for all PRO-4X and crew cab models is a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. The S, SV and four-wheel-drive PRO-4X can be had with either a standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic, while the two-wheel-drive PRO-4X and SL are automatic only. Also available is a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15/20/17 combined for two-wheel-drive automatic-transmission-equipped models, while the ratings change to 14/19/16 for four-wheel-drive models fitted with the automatic. The manual achieves 16/20/17 with rear-wheel drive and 15/20/17 with four-wheel drive.

Properly equipped V6-powered models can tow up to 6,500 pounds. In Edmunds performance testing, a V6-powered PRO-4X Crew Cab went from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds.

Safety

Every 2012 Nissan Frontier comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. Also, V6 models have a brake-activated limited-slip differential. Hill descent control and hill-start assist are included with the automatic-equipped two-wheel-drive SL and PRO-4X. In Edmunds brake testing, a Frontier PRO-4X came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet -- impressive for a truck.

The Frontier received the top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Interior Design and Special Features

As with virtually all pickups, the 2012 Nissan Frontier's interior is a compromise between utility and comfort. King Cab models feature reverse-opening rear doors that offer access to a pair of fold-up jump seats behind the front buckets, although their combination of vertical seatback angles and limited legroom means they're really only useful in a pinch. Open the Crew Cab's front-hinged rear doors and you'll find a backseat that's wide enough for three adults, though it's not all that comfortable due to its upright backrests and low seat bottoms. In short, if a roomy rear seat is important to you, you might want to have a look at the Honda Ridgeline or Toyota Tacoma.

Of course pickups are all about hauling stuff, and here the Frontier gets high marks. Folding the rear seats in both body styles creates a good amount of space for items you'd rather not leave unsecured in the truck bed. Speaking of which, we'd strongly recommend crew cab buyers spring for the optional 6-foot cargo bed if they plan on transporting anything bigger than assorted beach or tailgating paraphernalia. The movable Utili-Trak tie-downs also make securing items of all sizes a good bit easier.

Driving Impressions

The notably better fuel economy of the four-cylinder engine aside, we think more people will prefer the 2012 Nissan Frontier's gutsy V6 engine. In addition to more lively performance in everyday driving, this engine also ups the Frontier's towing capacity to a very healthy 6,500 pounds. While it's nice to see manual transmissions still offered here, the automatic transmission is a good match for this engine, delivering well-timed shifts whether you're negotiating a rugged backcountry trail or just driving home from work.

As mentioned earlier, the Frontier's precise steering and well-tuned suspension make for a satisfying driving experience by truck standards. The ride quality is also surprisingly good on most models, except for the relatively harsh ride of the off-road-oriented PRO-4X.

Talk About The 2012 Frontier

Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific