Skip to main content

In recent years, automotive testing has shown that small pickup trucks don’t always have the best safety scores. Even with the biggest cab option, rearseat passengers often lack enough protection to survive collisions unscathed. In this regard, the Nissan Frontier picks up the slack for the rest of its competition. Let’s examine its most recent crash test results and all of its available safety features

The Nissan Frontier is the safest midsize pickup truck

Looking at its IIHS page, the Nissan Frontier needs a lot of work before it can reach Top Safety Pick status. However, it still showcases an above-average score on the moderate overlap test. It got an average rating on both the updated version of the moderate overlap test and the side collision simulation. 

In comparison, rivals like the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado earned the lowest possible rating in the moderate overlap test. The Ford Ranger received a marginal score on this examination. Besides the Nissan Frontier, the Ranger is the only truck in this segment with a ‘Good’ rating for head and neck passenger restraints. 

However, passenger chest protection is less than adequate inside the Ford Ranger. The Frontier got ‘Good’ ratings for nearly every major aspect of passenger safety. However, the rear passenger restraints only received a ‘Marginal’ rating from the IIHS.

The Jeep Gladiator received an ‘Average’ score in this category, higher than all of its other rivals. Still, the Gladiator has a ‘Poor’ rating for rear passenger chest protection and only a ‘Marginal’ rating for rear head protection. Each pickup truck in this segment got a ‘Good’ score for its driver restraints.  

Here are all the safety features you can get on your Nissan Frontier

Every Nissan Frontier has forward collision warning with pedestrian detection equipped, plus a rear-seat alert and driver attention monitor. It also has forward automatic emergency braking, with a reverse function available via the optional technology package.

You also get intelligent cruise control, blind spot monitors, lane departure warning, and rear-cross traffic alert when you purchase this upgrade. Hill descent control is standard on any Nissan Frontier with four-wheel-drive. 

Judging from IIHS scores, you might also want a model with LED headlights. These are optional on the SV trim and standard on both the Pro-X and Pro-4X models. Those lights offer good visibility from most angles, with the exception of the gradual left turn.

In comparison, the standard halogen headlights and their high beams don’t provide sufficient illumination from any angle. The Pro-4X trim can also be optioned with a 360-degree parking camera, plus it comes with standard all-terrain tires for safer off-roading. 

Related

Safest Full-Size Truck Isn’t a Ford, Ram, or Chevy

Safety isn’t the Nissan Frontier’s only strong suit

Both Frontier Pro trims offer plenty of great off-roading qualities, including Bilstein shocks and up to 9.5 inches of ground clearance. Every Nissan Frontier also has a hearty 310-hp V8 and a fresh new cabin design with upgraded materials for 2023. This truck has two bed options, one that measures 5 feet and the other measuring a little over 6 feet.

The Frontier can serve as a decent workhorse, towing up to 6,720 pounds. However, this requires you to get the shortest cargo box and the King Cab option. Remember that the Frontier’s exceptional safety ratings only apply to the Crew Cab version. Additionally, Edmunds notes that the King Cab versions only offer 26 inches of rear legroom.

With the Crew Cab, the Frontier can tow up to 6,570 pounds. These models can also potentially haul up to 1,460 pounds, which is 140 pounds less than the King Cab’s maximum payload. These totals are a little below average compared to what rivals offer, but one could argue that enhanced safety is a fair trade-off.