Minor updates and new prices mark 2012 for Nissan's midsize Frontier pickup and its Xterra and Pathfinder SUVs. While each model receives a price bump over 2011, Nissan has justified the higher prices by making several previously optional features standard for the new model year.

Starting at $19,010 including destination, the 2012 Nissan Frontier's base price increases nominally for 2012. That's because the pickup now includes standard vehicle dynamic control and Nissan's Active Brake Limited Slip system, which assists with traction in adverse conditions by selectively braking wheels without grip. The 2012 Frontier also adds an available $1,190 sport appearance package, which includes unique 18-inch alloy wheels, a front grille finished in dark hyper silver, body-colored front and rear bumpers, and unique graphics along the truck's sides. The 2012 Frontier retains last year's standard 152-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, while a 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 is optional.

The off-road-oriented 2012 Nissan Xterra also sees minor changes and a price bump. Now starting at $25,070 including destination - just over $400 more than last year's model - the 2012 Xterra adds new Metallic Blue paint for 2012, and regains formerly discontinued Lava Red and Metallic Green exterior finishes. The sporty PRO-4X trim, which features hill ascent and descent control, a locking differential, and skid plates is bumped $630 to start at $30,480 including destination. All Xterra models feature a 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 and offer manual and automatic transmissions.

For 2012, Nissan's truck-based Pathfinder SUV starts at $29,380 including destination. While base-level S and SV models see only minor price increases, the upscale LE model's price jumps $1,660 to start at just over $40,000. That's because the formerly optional navigation system - a $1,850 add-on - is now standard for 2012. Other changes to the 2012 Pathfinder include a new Brilliant Silver exterior color option along with an available sunroof and rear-seat DVD player for the SUV's Silver Edition trim level. The 2012 Pathfinder's standard engine remains a 266-horsepower 4.0-liter V6, while a 310-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 is optional.

According to Nissan, 2012 version of the Frontier, Pathfinder and Xterra are already available at dealerships nationwide.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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