Rugged, dependable, practical and able to go just about anywhere, the 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X continues to give terrain-conquering compact pickup trucks a good name. Available in either the 4-seat King cab version with rear-opening back doors (actually Nissan’s euphemistic moniker for its Extended cab trims), or in the 5-seat 4-door Crew cab variation, this trail-blazing truck boasts standard shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive (4WD), as well as a standard 6.1-foot bed in King cab garb and a 5-foot bed in Crew cab versions.
Expect 16-inch alloy wheels, Bilstein shock absorbers and skid plates to adorn this tough mini-mover’s profile, while cabins boast cloth upholstery, front bucket seats with a fold-flat front passenger seat, full power accessories, cruise control, tilt-wheel steering and air conditioning. Posh-wise, look for a leather-wrapped steering wheel and simulated alloy cabin trim, while entertainment in King cab versions is offered via an MP3-capable 6-CD player with 6 speakers and satellite radio. In the Frontier PRO-4X Crew cab, meantime check out the standard Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with 6-CD changer, 10 speakers and, again, satellite radio. Finally, standard Bluetooth hands-free calling is standard in both cab configurations.
Noteworthy options for the off-road-oriented PRO-4X siblings include an adjustable bed lengthener and iPod integration.
As befits their all-terrain pedigree, both the King and Crew cab PRO-4X trims pack Nissan’s potent-enough variable-valve-timed (VVT) 4.0-liter V6 powerplant. Mated with either the standard 6-speed manual transmission or the available 5-speed automatic (with hill-start assist), this six-banger pounds out 251 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque, good enough to tow up to 6,500 pounds of trailer with the proper equipment. Fuel economy, meantime, is estimated at 15 mpg city/20 highway in this 4WD bruiser with the 6-speed stick-shift, and an estimated 14/19 with the automatic. Finally, the 4WD system boasts electronic hi-lo gear selection and auto-locking hubs.
Standard safety features, meantime, include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Front fog/driving lights also come standard, as does a remote antitheft alarm.
For those who want a little less overkill size-wise and a bit more economy gas-wise, a 2012 Nissan Frontier S trim level compact pickup is just the ticket. Boasting either a 4-passenger King cab (Extended cab) with rear-opening back doors, or a 5-passenger Crew cab trim with 4 independently opening doors, this little workaholic also sports a standard 6-foot bed for King cab versions, while the Crew cab trim is again delivered with a 5-foot bed. Finally, though rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard, on-demand 4-wheel-drive (4WD) can be added to Crew cab S variations for some extra go in the snow.
Standard exterior features for this entry-level trim level, meantime, include 15-inch steel wheels and all-season tires on King cab versions, with 16-inch steel wheels adorning the Crew cab trims. Inside, both Crew and King Cab variations boast cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, a fold-down front passenger seat and second-row under-seat storage, with Crew cab trims adding tilt-wheel steering and air conditioning.
Entertainment-wise, the Frontier S King cab has wiring for an audio system but only 4 speakers installed. Crew cabs, meantime, include a standard AM/FM radio boasting a single-CD player pumping tunes through 6 speakers.
As for comfort and convenience options in 2012 Frontier S configurations, King cab trims offer options including a single-CD player as well as a slide-out bed extender, air conditioning, floor mats and splash guards, with all that plus a 6-CD changer available in Crew cab versions.
Powering the Frontier S King cab is a standard variable-valve-timed (VVT) 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that mates with the standard 5-speed manual transmission for 152 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission can be selected with RWD King cab editions, with either transmission boasting 3,500 pounds of towing capacity when properly equipped. Mileage, meantime, is estimated at 19 mpg city/23 highway with the manual and 17/22 with the automatic.
All Frontier S Crew cab trims, whether RWD or 4WD, get a standard VVT 4.0-liter V6 powerplant and 6-speed manual transmission boasting 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. Again, this potent six-banger can be equipped with an available 5-speed automatic, with mileage numbers running 16/20 for RWD stick-shift-equipped trims, 14/19 for 4WD automatic-equipped versions, and 15/20 in 4WD trims toting the manual transmission. Towing, finally, maxes out at 6,500 pounds with the proper equipment, while the available shift-on-the-fly 4WD system boasts electronic hi-lo gear selection and auto-locking hubs.
Finally, standard safety features in the 2012 Frontier S trim level include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction control and, new for 2012, stability control. Inside, look for front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head-restraint whiplash protection.
Ideally suited for the casual workhorse role, the quasi-plush 2012 Nissan Frontier SL compact pickup comes only in the 5-passenger, 4-door Crew cab version. A 5-foot bed is standard, however, an available LWB version with a 6.1-foot bed and a 139.9-inch wheelbase can be selected by those who tote lengthy cargo. Finally, this posh pickup comes with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), but can be delivered with available shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive (4WD) that boasts electronic hi-lo gear selection and auto-locking hubs.
Of course, like the rest of the Frontier Crew cab lineup, the SL trim level boasts front bucket seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat and full power accessories, including heated power-adjustable outside mirrors. It also includes standard air conditioning, cruise control and tilt-wheel steering, along with a few extras not found in its less well-endowed siblings. Things like 18-inch alloy wheels, a Class IV trailer hitch and wiring, leather-trimmed upholstery, leather and simulated alloy cabin trim and a universal remote garage door opener all distinguish this posh pickup from its lesser siblings.
In a nod to the sensibilities of the discerning owner, this top-shelf pickup also boasts a standard Rockford Fosgate premium audio system that flaunts a 6-CD changer and 10 speakers, all bolstered by standard satellite radio and Bluetooth hands-free calling. A power moonroof, meantime, remains the sole noteworthy option for this touring-oriented workhorse.
A variable-valve-timed (VVT) 4.0-liter V6 engine continues to be the standard powerplant in the 2012 Frontier SL, with the 5-speed automatic transmission boasting hill-start assist soldiering along as the brains of the operation. Look for 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque from the six-banger, with mileage estimated at 14 mpg city/20 highway. Finally, look for this pint-size pickup to haul up to 6,500 pounds of vacation-ready trailer.
Standard safety features, meantime, include 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front head restraint whiplash protection and front side-mounted airbags. Front fog/driving lights and a remote antitheft alarm also come standard with the SL trim level, as do dusk-sensing headlights.
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Step up a level in the 2012 Nissan Frontier lineup to encounter the Frontier SV trims. This compact pickup trim level is delivered in both Extended, 4-seat King cab versions with back doors that open in tandem with the fronts and in the standard-length, 5-passenger, 4-door Crew cab variant. King Cab versions come only with the standard 6-foot bed and sport rear under-seat storage that’s handy for smaller items. SV Crew cab editions, meanwhile, sport a standard 5-foot bed, and each cab configuration comes with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) or with available shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive (4WD).
Outside, this compact pickup, among the last of a dwindling breed, boasts 16-inch alloy wheels and power-adjustable mirrors, while the inside is adorned with cloth upholstery, a fold-flat front passenger seat, full power accessories and air conditioning. Cruise control and tilt-wheel steering are each standard, as is a single-CD player, with 4 speakers in King cab configurations and 6 speakers in Crew cab versions.
Options for this mid-level mini-truck, meanwhile, include the new-for-2012 Sport Appearance Package, with 18-inch upgraded wheels, added exterior chrome and graphics, additional manually adjusted driver’s seat positions, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and a 6-CD changer. Additionally, all of the above plus a spray-in bedliner and adjustable tie-down points can be included in the optional Premium Utility Package. Finally, an adjustable bed extender is a standalone option.
Standard power for the 2012 Frontier SV King cab trim level is a variable-valve-timed (VVT) 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine (I4) that’s under the management of a standard 5-speed manual transmission. This combo puts out 152 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque, will haul up to 3,500 pounds of trailer and gets 19 mpg city/23 highway. Choose the available 5-speed automatic transmission and mileage drops to 17/22, with performance numbers staying the same.
This mid-level Frontier can also be delivered with a VVT 4.0-liter V6 that’s under the management of either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or the available 5-speed automatic. In any case, look for 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque out of the six-banger, not to mention 6,500 pounds of towing capacity. Mileage in the RWD-equipped stick-shift SVs runs 16/20, in the 4WD with automatic, 14/19, and in the stick-shift 4WD edition, 15/20. Of course, the available 4WD system, which comes only with the V6, continues to flaunt electronic hi-lo gear selection and auto-locking hubs.
Finally, standard safety features aboard Nissan’s compact 2012 Frontier SV lineup include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS) and traction and stability control. Additionally, this pint-size pickup sports front and rear head airbags, front head restraint whiplash protection and front side mounted airbags. Optional safety equipment, meanwhile, includes front fog/driving lights with the Sport Appearance Package.
- King Cab
- Avg. Price: $18,676
- V6 Crew Cab
- Avg. Price: $21,615
- V6 Crew Cab 4WD
- Avg. Price: $24,456
- V6 Crew Cab LWB
- Avg. Price: $21,869
- V6 Crew Cab LWB 4WD
- Avg. Price: $24,404
- V6 King Cab
- Avg. Price: $20,251
- V6 King Cab 4WD
- Avg. Price: $22,737