Test Drive: 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew SL trucks car test drives reviews nissan
2012 Nissan Frontier. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2007 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab
Used Vehicle Review: Nissan Frontier, 2005-2012

Manufacturer’s web site
Nissan Canada

Review and photos by Michael Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2012 Nissan Frontier

There was a time when compact pickup trucks were reasonable, efficient, and comparatively liveable alternatives to their lumbering full-size pickup brethren. However, over the past few decades, full-size pickup trucks have made leaps and bounds in refinement and compact pickups have continued to grow; up to the point it might be worth calling them mid-size pickups.

Case in point is the 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab SL 4X4 I had for review. Arriving with four conventional doors and a 6 foot bed, the Frontier is not compact by any stretch of the imagination. With a 3,554-mm wheelbase, it has a longer wheelbase than Nissan’s own short-bed Titan full-size crew-cab pickup (3,550 mm). Add in a 5,574 mm length and a curb weight of 2,121 kg, and the Frontier is a sizable machine.

Test Drive: 2012 Nissan Frontier Crew SL trucks car test drives reviews nissan
2012 Nissan Frontier. Click image to enlarge

Powering all this heft is Nissan’s torquey 4.0L V6 engine rated at 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. Sending power to the shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system is a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic. In fully-loaded SL trim, as my test truck was equipped, the Frontier can only be had with the five-speed automatic. Even with this lazy-person’s transmission, power is immediate and good in an unloaded truck. For all its size and power, the Frontier is rated at a reasonable 10.4 L/100 km on the highway and 14.8 L/100 km in the city. I was able to achieve a very respectable 13.0 L/100 km over a week of driving the truck; maybe I was still in AJAC Eco-Run mode, though.

For the workers out there, the V6 Frontier as optioned here can carry 497 kg of payload and tow 2,773 kg. With the4 X2 King Cab Frontier, those numbers jump to 613 kg and 2,864 kg respectively.




About Mike

Mike Schlee is the former Social Editor at Autos.ca and autoTRADER.ca. He began his professional automotive writing career in 2011 and has always had a passion for all things automotive, working in the industry since 2000.