The Nissan Frontier has earned top 'good' scores in all categories of IIHS testing except for the seat-based rear impact test. Nissan has finally upgraded its seats, which had long earned it just a 'poor' rating in rear impact, but even the new design doesn't perform so well; it's now rated 'acceptable.'
However, it's also one of the best in its class in some important respects. Last year it was the only one, of five compact and mid-size pickups tested, to earn a 'good' rating in roof strength.
The 2011 Frontier hasn't been rated under the newly revised federal testing system; but in the former—largely more lenient—ratings, it achieved a mix of four- and five-star ratings in federal frontal tests and five stars in NHTSA's side test.
Otherwise, the Frontier has a reasonably good safety-features list, though electronic stability control isn't offered on four-cylinder models (it's standard with the V-6). Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control testify to the Frontier's off-roading credentials. Cars.com reports that "all-disc antilock brakes are standard," and Car and Driver notes the "active headrests for the front seats," as well as a tire pressure monitoring system and seatbelt pretensioners.