We just dug into the details of the all-new 2022 Nissan Frontier and this midsize truck is going to have a big impact.
The Nissan Frontier enters its third generation with the release of the 2022 model that will go on sale later this year. Much like the rest of the segment, it sees marked improvements in almost every aspect of its design and will likely prove to be a solid investment for those in the market for a midsize pickup truck.
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see the new family resemblance with the Frontier’s big brother, the Titan. In fact, even the transmission for this new Nissan is shared with its full-size pickup sibling. This addresses one of the biggest issues with the outgoing model, aged styling that dates back to 2004. Since then it’s made little nips and tucks here and there, but it’s still easy to spot the oldest of the mid-sized trucks available until now.
While production examples have yet to be released, we’ve had a chance to dive deep into the pre-production model and what we’ve found proves that Nissan is on the right track. Let’s take a look at what makes the 2022 Frontier the next big thing for Nissan.
Unlike previous generations, the Frontier will use only a single drivetrain for 2022. A class-leading 310 horsepower V6 is paired to a 9-speed automatic that then sends power to either the rear wheels or all four. While power is up, towing capacity remains identical to the previous generation at 6,720 lbs while payload increases slightly to 1,610 lbs. While no official numbers have been released yet, we expect mpg to be similar to the outgoing model which achieved 18 miles in the city and 24 on the highway for a combined rating of 20 mpg. Prices haven’t been announced either, but we expect the truck to have an MSRP of $27,000.
For us, the one notable disappointment is the lack of standard safety features. While forward collision warning is standard, it’s the lone standard safety feature. Nissan does offer a “Safety Suite” of features that include automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic braking, blind-spot warning, and lane departure warning, but it’s a far fall short of most other rivals.
While we haven’t had the chance to pilot the new truck, it’s easy to imagine what customers are in for. The 2021 model is nearly identical in size and weight, but has less power. With that in mind, we expect the new truck to outclass its older sibling quite easily. The Frontier has always been well known for its good road manners and we see no reason why they won’t get even better with updated optional Bilstein shocks. Perhaps the most enjoyable feature of the Frontier for drivers is just how easy this midsize pickup is to drive around the city. Steering has always been tight and precise and that makes it fun to drive on-road or off. One of our favorite additions to the Frontier is the “Off-Road Mode” that switches on multiple camera angles to make navigating trails just that much easier. There’s also a standard “Trailer Sway Control” feature that we’re looking forward to testing out.
Take one look at the inside of the 2022 Frontier and it’s clear that Nissan wants its drivers to feel like they’re in a much more expensive vehicle. Perhaps most noticeable are the “Zero Gravity” seats up front that aim to make it feel as though you’re floating on air. Surely, this choice was made to address the numerous calls for better seating in the previous version. They’re heated of course too, as is the steering wheel. Nissan goes another step with a feature called “Intelligent Temperature Control” that can actually heat or cool the vehicle based on your preferences before you get in. A push-button start will be standard, but other features like a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and a 9-inch touchscreen will be optional. Overall, the interior is pretty straightforward with no oddly placed controls, so most drivers should have a pleasant experience.
Nissan is introducing a new suite of technology in the Frontier. Aside from the 9-inch touchscreen mentioned above, owners will get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A Fender premium audio system is also available. While Nissan hasn’t officially confirmed the trim levels, we expect the same ones from 2021 with one notable addition.
The base Frontier will likely be the S with the next step up being the SV. Above that will likely be a brand new trim level called the Pro-X which shares all of the same styling and off-road features of the Pro-4X but with rear-wheel-drive only. Of course, that Pro-4X will be the range-topper with the above-mentioned Bilstein shocks, prominent skid plates, all-terrain tires, and hi and low 4wd modes. They’ll also get LED headlights, fog lights, and DRLs. There’s even lighting in the bed which will make life easier for owners too.
Two cabs will be available, King Cab which is basically Nissan’s extended cab, and then Crew Cab which will provide the most second-row room for passengers. King Cab buyers will get a 6-foot bed standard and SV trim package owners can opt for the most spacious version of the Frontier, a 6-foot bed with the crew cab. The Pro-X and Pro-X4 models will only come with a Crew Cab and the shorter bed.
Nissan has bet big on the Frontier and we’re pretty confident that it’s going to pay off in a large way. While many other manufacturers have allowed their vehicles to grow year after year, Nissan has fulfilled fans’ hopes by keeping the Frontier basically the same size. They’ve invested a great deal in making thoughtful changes, smart improvements, and kept the tried and true parts that have made small Nissan trucks remarkable for decades. We think buyers will go nuts for the excellent exterior styling and we expect that it will be sincerely capable both on and off-road. Perhaps the best part of being a 2022 Nissan Frontier owner will be that regardless of where you’re going or what you’re doing, it should be a comfortable and stylish experience.