2011 Nissan Frontier Review
2011 Nissan Frontier Review
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Nissan Frontier model years
Nissan Frontier types
- Crew Cab
- King Cab
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Sturdy chassis, strong V6
- easy-to-use cabin controls
- comfortable front seats
- stout bed lining and tie-down points
- agile handling.
- Regular cab body style not available
- inflexible options packages
- uncomfortable rear seats.
The 2011 Nissan Frontier returns without any major changes other than new names for existing models and a couple of new option packages.
The 2011 Nissan Frontier is a top pick in the compact-pickup segment thanks to its brawny nature, relatively nimble handling and innovative features.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2011 Nissan Frontier S 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$188/mo for Frontier S
Avg. Compact Truck
Quite simply, the 2011 Nissan Frontier does an awful lot of things well. Whether you need a no-frills four-cylinder truck for your business, a rough-and-ready off-road model for hitting the Pismo Beach sand dunes or a loaded crew cab comfortable enough to do double duty as the family car, the lineup of Frontier trucks has something that will fill the bill. Its combination of a gutsy V6 engine, solid build quality, nimble handling and a long list of standard features and options delivers a well-rounded pickup, regardless of cab style or trim level.
To put the Frontier's well-rounded nature in perspective, it helps to take a look at its competition. While the 2011 Chevrolet Colorado and 2011 Dodge Dakota may have one or two advantages -- a more powerful V8 engine and a roomier backseat, respectively -- their other shortcomings make them hard to recommend. The ancient 2011 Ford Ranger is completely outclassed, while the 2011 Honda Ridgeline has a carlike ride and handling but lacks true workhorse abilities.
True, the well-regarded 2011 Toyota Tacoma pretty much matches the Frontier's abilities, but even so, the Nissan has a stronger work ethic while the Toyota emphasizes comfort and style.
Performance & mpg
The 2011 Nissan Frontier is available with two engines. The extended-cab S and SV trims come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder good for 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. Rear-wheel drive is mandatory. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 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 PRO-4X 4x4 can be equipped with either a standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic, while the PRO-4X 4x2 and SL are automatic only.
The V6 comes with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Properly equipped V6 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. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined with two-wheel drive and the automatic, while the ratings change to 14/19/16 for a 4WD automatic.
Every 2011 Nissan Frontier comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side 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 2WD 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.
While it hasn't been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedure, the Frontier King Cab's 2010 frontal crash-test scores (which aren't necessarily comparable) were four out of five stars for driver protection and five stars for front passenger protection. The Frontier Crew Cab earned just four stars in these same tests. Both scored a perfect five stars in side-impact tests, although the King Cab was not tested for rear side protection. In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, both Frontier body styles received the best rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Most will find the powerful V6 engine the best choice for the 2011 Nissan Frontier. With its abundant torque, this engine greatly improves the truck's performance and capability, including improving towing capacity to more than 3 tons. The automatic transmission is also a good match for this engine, delivering well-timed shifts whether you're negotiating a rugged backcountry trail or just driving home from work.
The driving experience is enhanced by precise steering that offers good feedback. The Frontier's ride quality is also better than you'd expect. The off-road-oriented PRO-4X feels harsh in comparison, of course, but then it can tackle everything from ruts to rocks when the pavement runs out.
As with virtually all pickups, the 2011 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. 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 either 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.
When it comes to hauling cargo, the rear seats in both body styles flip up or fold down to provide a place for valuable items you don't want to leave in the cargo bed. When it comes to that bed, we'd strongly suggest opting for the longer 6-foot version if you expect to be hauling much more than a couple of beach chairs and an ice chest. The movable tie-down anchors that come with the available Utili-Track cargo rail system are also recommended if you plan on using the truck to do a lot of schlepping.
2011 Nissan Frontier models
The 2011 Nissan Frontier is a compact pickup truck that's offered in an extended cab (King Cab in Nissan-speak) with a pair of flip-down seats in back, and a crew cab with a full 60/40-split-folding three-person bench. A 6-foot cargo bed is standard on King Cab models, while Crew Cab buyers have a choice of a standard 5-foot bed or an optional 6-foot version.
For 2011 the trim level designations have changed. Now the base S model is complemented by the midrange SV, off-road-oriented PRO-4X and the top-of-the-line SL (crew cab only).
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. Opting for the S Preferred package gets you air-conditioning and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player.
Stepping up to the SV trim level adds 16-inch steel wheels with the inline-4 engine and alloy wheels with the V6, plus upgraded tires, a chrome front bumper, a sliding rear window, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories, upgraded cloth upholstery and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel. Options for the SV include a new Premium Utility package, which includes a spray-in bedliner with adjustable tie-down points, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an upgraded six-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer, satellite radio and steering-wheel controls.
For those planning on taking the road less traveled, there's the PRO-4X, which features 16-inch alloy wheels with off-road tires, a body-color grille, foglights, a locking rear differential, Bilstein off-road shocks, underbody skid plates and spray-in bedliner with Utili-Track tie-downs. Besides these hardware upgrades, the PRO-4X gets many of the SV's options as standard equipment, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way manual front seats, a two-tone interior, white-faced gauges, a trip computer, a first aid kit and a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. The PRO-4X Luxury package adds a sunroof, roof racks and cross bars, leather upholstery, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), heated mirrors and a rear center armrest.
The top SL trim, which is only offered as a Crew Cab, deletes the PRO-4X's off-road-oriented bits but keeps most of the Luxury package items (other than the separately optional sunroof). Additional standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and side steps for easier cab access.
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Old Florida Cracker, 05/27/2019
2011 Nissan Frontier SV 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I have a 2011 Frontier. Every thing they say here is pretty much true. It is a little old fashioned, not the most comfortable vehicle I have ever owned but one thing stand out for me. I have 125,000 miles on mine, and I have yet to spend a dime on a repair. Usual maintenance items like oil changes, new brakes at about 100,000k, wipers 2 new batteries and nothing more. When I think back … on my other trucks, which needed transmissions, air conditioners, timing belts, etc, there is no comparison. Other than a tight fit for my 3 German Shepherds in the back seat, it hauls everything I need and pulls a light trailer with ease, even if the gas mileage drops a bit. I will happily trade years of reliable, trouble free service for any high tech gadgetry any day. I love driving my truck now as when I bought it 8 1/2 years ago. This is my update: My Frontier continues to deliver. Did start running a little rough, had to replace the spark plug wires and plugs. I consider that routine maintenance, so as for as I am concerned, still not a single issue. Update 2020. Still going strong. No new issues, continues to run strong with no problems. I have not driven it much this last year as I work at home and like everyone else, staying home. This has been a GREAT truck. 2021: Retired now, (me, not the truck) truck still going strong, no mechanical or maintenance problems. Everything still works, no rattles, no squeaks. Sure, it would be nice to get a newer model truck but really, how would that be worth it? This has, far and away, been the best vehicle I have ever owned as far as value and reliability go. Still chugging along, 130,000 miles still no maintenance, engine or drive train issues. I did finally get a tiny tear in the passenger seat seam. Full disclosure, I have 3 German Shepherds who insist on taking turns sitting in the front seat so I don't see this as a fault of Nissan! This has truly been an outstanding vehicle in every regard. This truck continues to do its job. I don't drive all that much, but it is always ready. I have about a 15 mile drive into town, usually to pick up animal feed or building supplies. Still no mechanical issues, continues as reliable and dependable as always. This has been far and away the most dependable vehicle I have ever owned. I see no need to replace it. Just a great truck. Still running fine. At 136,000 miles now with no mechanical issues. Did have a spark plug go bad, which caused some rough running although still very drivable. The mechanic suggested replacing all the plugs and wires, which I did just for peace of mind. I had replaced then several years ago, and like the last time, I consider spark plug and wire replacement routine maintenance. NGK spark plugs are not cheap anymore I found out. But overall, the truck continues to perform. I have never had a mechanical failure with this vehicle in 12 years. Still going strong. Did have the ABS, Slip and VDC warning lights come on (when my wife was skidding around in a muddy campground), possibly a bad wheel sensor. But the light went out after a few days and hasn't been back on since. Will have it checked out since she is due for some new tires anyway. I love this truck.
5 out of 5 stars
Love my Frontier!
2011 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I purchased my Frontier PRO-4X in Jan '12 for $26,500. It was a slightly used 2011 model with 5700 miles. I couldn't be happier. The only thing I have had to do to it after putting 20k miles on it is change the battery which was replaced under warranty. The gas mileage is my only gripe, but I can live with that as I only have a 5 mile drive to work both ways (average 15.8, mostly city … driving). I went with the Frontier over the Tacoma and F150 V6 mostly becuase of value but also because I just think it's a much better looking truck than either of the latter two. The 4-wheel drive system is second to none (Maybe Jeep, I suppose). It has great get-up. UPDATE 3/27/2016: Truck has been wonderful. I have almost 95k miles on it now and I haven't had the first issue with it. I actually just sold it due to the fact that we're having another child and two car seats in the back of this thing is not going to fly. Unfortunate. I absolutely love this truck. Would recommend to anyone. I will miss it dearly.
4.63 out of 5 stars
2011 Nissan Frontier SV 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I bought a new 2006 Toyota Tacoma V6 Prerunner and never really liked it. It was way too sensitive to any wind. It took a tight grip on the steering wheel to keep it on the road on a windy day. If it had been windy the day I test drove it, I would never had bought it. The Frontier drives great on windy days and very little wind noise compared to the Tacoma. It rides better, gets better … fuel mileage, better transmission and has more power. The only gripe is the interior scratches easily and the turning radius is not as tight as the Tacoma. I went from a truck I hated to a truck I love to drive. That says it all.
5 out of 5 stars
My brilliant silver king Frontier
Carol Neal, 07/09/2015
2011 Nissan Frontier S 4dr King Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
Great space for groceries, travel chairs, luggage, purse and endless possibilities behind the driver and passenger seat. Great 4 cupholders for all sizes. Large console between seats and space for change. Do not know the exact name but a bar on each side to pull yourself up more. I have had my 2011 frontier king cab since July 2014, two years. No repairs have been needed! I love the … pull up bar.. Also good size cubby hole on bottom of all four doors and double dash doors. I paid $14,500 at modern Nissan in Winston Salem, nc. It is 5 gear Manuel. Also rear cab light stays on long enough to get to house door. Just make sure you shut all doors or the light stays on. Has brilliant silver finish. Water still beads up. Wipers work smooth and quite. I also have a 2008 Nissan rogue crossover purchased 2010. Still has not needed any repairs in 6yrs! On a scale of 1-10 I give a 9.9 July 13,2016 still no problems and still enjoying the king cab truck - Frontier. Thank you.
2011 Frontier Highlights
|Combined MPG||17 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$219/month|
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||6,300 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover21.2%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintAcceptable