How Safe Is the Nissan Frontier?

As one of Nissan’s most popular vehicles, the Frontier has earned many accolades for its quality and affordability. But how safe is this pickup? We’ll look at some areas where the truck scored well for safety, as well as a few others where it could use some improvement.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Ratings

In independent testing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Frontier earned a five-star rating for side crash safety. In the area of rollovers, the Frontier was given four stars, based upon the results of a rollover resistance test. This test calculates the likelihood of the vehicle rolling over if a driver loses control, such as on ice or wet pavement.

Where the Frontier did not score so well was in the frontal crash category. Frontal barrier tests measure how solid the vehicle would be if involved in a head-on collision. It assumes that each vehicle is approximately the same size and traveling at around 35 mph. The Nissan Frontier earned three stars for front driver side safety, but it was given only two stars for the front passenger side.

Despite its poor frontal crash ratings, the Nissan Frontier earned an overall four-star rating from the NHTSA. This was determined by averaging the truck’s front, side, and rollover ratings. Even with its four-star rating, the NHTSA warns that the truck’s forward collision warning, lane departure warning, crash imminent braking, and dynamic brake support features do not meet the agency’s performance criteria.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings

The Nissan Frontier also received mixed results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. For example, in the area of crashworthiness, the pickup received a good rating for its sides and roof strength.  However, it received marginal ratings for its protection against small overlap frontal crashes.

The IIHS rated two items in the area of crash avoidance and mitigation. The first was headlights, for which the Frontier received a poor rating. The second area, front crash prevention, has no data available.

The Frontier received an acceptable rating for its head restraints and seats. When it came to child seat anchors, it received only a moderate rating for LATCH ease of use.

Available safety equipment

Nissan added a wide range of safety features to its Frontier pickup, including driver, front passenger, and rear-seat airbags. Dynamic head restraints are available for the driver and front passenger, while the rear seat features regular head restraints. Advanced seat belts with upper belt anchorage and a seat belt reminder system are standard as well.

As far as child passenger safety goes, the NHTSA notes that it does lack anti-pinch safety windows. This may not be a big deal if you rarely have backseat passengers, but might nonetheless be a major concern for those with children.

Is the Nissan Frontier safe? How it stacks up

Is the Nissan Frontier a safe vehicle? Based on information from the NHTSA and the IIHS, U.S. News and World Report named it #6 out of 6 among compact pickup trucks. The Frontier may be the most affordable in its class, but it also lags behind the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma when it comes to safety. If safety is a top priority, check out the Honda Ridgeline and Ford Ranger, which topped the list of safest compact pickups in America.