The 2012 Nissan Frontier received an excellent Total Car Score in the compact truck segment, despite a mixed bag of comments from automotive critics.
Reviewers appreciated the fact that the Frontier can be ordered in so many ways, from a crank-window, four-cylinder, bare-bones model to a luxe-oriented sport truck and even a stout off-roader (the Pro-4X) with Bilstein shocks and a locking rear diff. They also liked the powerful V6 that offered as an option. Finally, the Frontier’s stout F-Alpha frame (shared with Nissan’s fullsize trucks) makes it a capable work truck if needed.
Where the Frontier lost ground was in its cabin. Critics felt there was too much cheap-looking plastic inside; and backseat passenger room, even in Crew Cab models, is tight. Some also felt the Frontier looked stale, as it has soldiered on without a redesign since 2004.
Nissan has made a few revisions to the 2012 Frontier, including the addition of a new Sport Appearance Package for SV models, standard Two-Wheel Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) on four-cylinder models, and three new exterior colors: Brilliant Silver, Metallic Blue and Lava Red.
The 2012 Nissan Frontier is offered in King Cab and Crew Cab body styles, each with 2WD or 4WD powertrains and distinct, if similar, standard and optional equipment.
Three trim levels are common to both -- S, SV, and Pro-4X -- while the top-tier SL is available for the Crew Cab only. S models have steel wheels and crank windows; SV models add power windows and locks, premium cloth upholstery and remote keyless entry. Pro-4X models, with their beefier suspensions, skid plates and rear locking differentials, are built for hardcore off-roading. SL versions come with 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats and premium audio.
King Cabs can be powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine making 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, or a 4.0-liter V6 good for 261 hp and 281 lb-ft. Crew Cabs get the V6 only. A five-speed manual transmission is standard behind the four-cylinder; a six-speed manual comes with the V6, and a five-speed automatic is available for both.
Fuel economy ranges from 19 mpg city, 23 highway and 21 combined for a four-cylinder 2WD model to 14/19/16 for a V6 4x4.
Properly equipped, the 2012 Nissan Frontier can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
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