2012 Nissan Frontier Review from Windsor Nissan


Overview of 2012 Nissan Frontier

Strengths
Maneuverability; affordability; fuel-saving 4-cylinder base model; very capable V6; innovative storage solutions
Changes
Nissan’s Frontier compact truck gets a newly available Sport Appearance Package for 2012. It is available on either King Cab or Crew Cab SV models, it adds Dark Hyper Silver-finished wheels, appearance upgrades and Bluetooth. Throughout the lineup there are three new exterior hues: Brilliant Silver, Lava Red and Metallic Blue. Also for 2012, a 2-wheel Brake Limited Slip system and electronic stability control are now standard on all Frontiers.
Value
The Nissan Frontier is one of the lowest-priced pickups available; and with the discontinuation of the Ford Ranger for 2012, it’s also one of the few compact trucks remaining on the market. Four-cylinder Frontier models fill most needs for a basic truck–provided you have only light-duty tasks like hauling firewood or appliances–while V6 models are the way to go for those with serious towing in mind. In any of its guises, the Frontier is more maneuverable and easier to park than full-size pickups, while Crew Cab models have enough space for four adults and compared to other small trucks the Frontier line still offers some innovative storage features, such as removable rear-seat storage boxes, and the Utili-track adjustable tie-down system. Off-road purists will also like the complete set of go-anywhere equipment and interior comforts in the PRO-4X models, while in general, the Frontier can handle heavier-duty tasks than some other compact trucks because of its shared frame and structure with the larger Titan.
Overview
The Nissan Frontier is a family of compact or mid-size pickups, powered by 4-cylinder or V6 engines. Throughout the model line, you can get King Cab or Crew Cab body styles and most of the model line–all but base S and SV 4-cylinder models–is available with a choice of rear-wheel drive or part-time 4-wheel drive. The Frontier model line consists of S, SV, SL and PRO-4X models. Frontier S King Cab and some SV models can be had with an economical 152-horsepower, 2.5L in-line 4-cylinder engine, but the rest of the Frontier lineup includes a 261-hp, 4.0L V6 engine. With either engine, a manual gearbox is the base transmission (5-speed with 4-cylinder, 6-speed with the V6), but in either case a 5-speed automatic is optional. Those who haul heavy loads–or plan to tow–will be happy with the plentiful torque and strong, smooth character of the V6. When properly equipped, some versions can tow up to 6,500 pounds. Built on a sturdy platform, with its frame design borrowed from the larger Titan pickup, the Frontier is perhaps better-suited to off-roading or heavier hauling than other compacts. For the trail, Frontier 4×4 models include Hill Descent Control, to help moderate speed down steep slopes when off-roading, while Hill Start Assist helps the driver get a smooth start on an incline. Additionally, rear-wheel drive models get a new Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) system that helps gain traction and stability. While front seat accommodations are just as spacious in either body style of the Frontier, King Cab models, with their rear-hinged back doors, include flip-up rear seats that would work fine doing temporary duty for kids, while Crew Cab models have adult-size back-seat space and easy entry and exit. King Cab models come with flip-up rear seats, as well as removable storage boxes under the seats, while all models have center-console storage plus a locking dual glovebox. Crew Cab models can be had with either a standard-length bed–for the best maneuverability–or a Long Bed for more cargo capacity. Because it shares the same underlying design and frame structure with the larger Titan, the Frontier doesn’t break a sweat for heavy hauling tasks. The suspension–a double wishbone design in front and overslung leaf springs in back–is also built for serious work without sacrificing too much ride quality. Critical components, like brake lines and other underbody hardware, are tucked inside frame rails, and 4×4 models get at least 8.9 inches of ground clearance as well as approach and departure angles that will lessen the chances of scrapes and dents when off-roading. Frontier S, SV, SL, and PRO-4X models cover a wide span of prices, equipment, and needs. The PRO-4X model is kitted out with Bilstein high-pressure off-road shocks, skid plates, a 4-wheel limited-slip system, and tough off-road wheels and tires, plus keyless entry, cruise control, power windows and locks and a red-stitched leather interior with leather trim and white-faced gauges. Top Crew Cab PRO-4X trims also get a power driver’s seat moonroof, heated front seats, and a roof rack with crossbars.
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