June 24, 2021

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2022 Nissan Frontier preview

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What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Nissan Frontier? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Nissan Frontier is a mid-size pickup truck competing in a surging utility truck segment that features fresh takes on the Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline to newer models such as the Jeep Gladiator. 

Is the 2022 Nissan Frontier a good truck?

Review continues below

We’ll wait to weigh in until we can release driving impressions before it goes on sale this summer. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Nissan Frontier?

Redesigned for the first time since the 2005 model year, the 2022 Nissan Frontier sports an overhauled exterior, a new interior, new suspension components, and a powertrain that debuted in 2020 models. The bones remain mostly the same, however. The third-generation Frontier rides on a revised high-strength steel ladder frame carried over from the outgoing model.

Offered in S, SV, Pro-4X, and Pro-X, the 2022 Frontier comes with a 310-hp 3.8-liter V-6 tied to a 9-speed automatic transmission in rear- or four-wheel drive. 

Style, powertrain, and fuel economy

With Nissan calling it the right-sized pickup for the segment, the new Frontier retains many of the dimensions of the outgoing model. The same 126.0-inch wheelbase comes with the same 5-foot bed on crew cab models, and the same 6-foot bed comes with the extended cab with a long wheelbase. 

It’s pretty much the same width, but it’s 4.5 inches longer in front due to a more pronounced grille and bumper. Inspired by the Nissan Hardbody small truck popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Nissan eschews its U-shaped grille in favor of a rectangular metal weave headlined by a “Frontier” badge that connects it to the hood. Pro models feature a pronounced front skid plate and vertical air slits. 

The fenders flex a square shape instead of the last generation’s curves, and boxier angles take shape all over the truck. A crease down the body pushes out the rocker panels, and that line bookends the truck front to back by separating the rectangular grille from the lower bumper; in back, it translates to “Frontier” stamped out on the lower half of the tailgate. The upper half has a spoiler integrated into the gate handle.  

The rear bumper has a pseudo-step in the center, and the taillights match the clamp-shaped LED headlights up front that are split by LED daytime running lights on the Pro models. 

The upper horizontal light line and lower accent line hike up the profile of the truck like a belt, making it Titan-esque. It’s 2.0 inches taller, but Nissan didn’t have final specs to see if ground clearance exceeded the 9.8 inches on its predecessor.

The boxy parts carry over inside to the center console. Grab handles styled after big carabiners bridge the console and center stack, and are reflected in the door moldings. A phone recess sits atop a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, and four vertical vents compartmentalize the dash. Modern but basic, the interior maintains the Frontier’s no-nonsense character. 

Another no-nonsense characteristic is the 3.8-liter V-6 Nissan introduced in the 2020 Frontier. It makes 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque, and has a 9-speed automatic transmission churning the rear wheels. It didn’t wow us but satisfied us just fine in the 2020 model. It had an EPA-rated 18 mpg city, 24 highway, 20 combined. We doubt that will change; it appears the Frontier gained weight for the new model year. Blame the pandemic. 

A part-time four-wheel-drive system is optional, and hill descent control comes standard on 4WD models. There’s no manual, no inline-4, and the max towing capacity remains the same at 6,720 pounds with the extended cab and rear-wheel drive. A trailer sway control that automatically applies the brakes comes standard. 

Nissan retuned the hydraulic steering rack to make it a half-turn quicker lock to lock. Even though the frame is largely the same, the cab mounts are new and reduce road vibration by 80% to create a quieter, stabler ride, Nissan said. A larger front stabilizer bar and revised rear bar were designed to reduce body roll in turns. A double wishbone front suspension and leaf spring rear remain, but Nissan says the hydraulic rear mounts should improve ride quality.

The Pro-4X model gets a Dana rear axle, electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein off-road shocks, and three skid plates covering the front, transfer case, and fuel tank. The Pro-X in rear-wheel drive only gets the Bilsteins and the design elements of the 4X, such as 32-inch Hankook all-terrain tires wrapped on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and all the interior lighting and accents.

Comfort, safety and features

Following the upgrade in 2020 that finally made power locks and windows standard, Nissan has gone all in on equipping the Frontier with the latest tech and convenience features. Every Frontier comes with upgraded front seats, a 6-way power driver’s seat, a huge center console, more door pocket storage, and storage underneath the rear seats. 

Two USB ports come standard, as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a standard 7.0-inch vehicle info display separates the tach and speedometer. Options include a surround-view camera system, more USB ports, wi-fi hotspot, Fender audio, heated front seats and steering wheel, and leather seats on Pro models. There are plenty of Nismo accessories for the off-road enthusiast.    

Forward-collision warnings and rear-door alerts are standard, but automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and Nissan’s suite of other driver-assist features costs extra. That includes blind-spot monitors, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.
Nissan hasn’t yet disclosed the content for each trim. 

How much does the 2022 Nissan Frontier cost?

Pricing will be announced closer to the summer release date. 

Where is the 2022 Nissan Frontier made?

In Canton, Mississippi, alongside the Titan.

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