Nissan has spruced up its pickup for the first time since 2005, and the 2022 Nissan Frontier is definitely at a vanguard compared to its old self. We tested a Frontier in the Baja Storm color, featuring an exquisite charcoal leather interior. The exterior is more boxy in the front and rear, complementing that boxy and edgy angles elsewhere in the design. The pickup is aiming at a segment featuring the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, so Nissan engineers had to bring their best game.
We’re talking a redone new exterior, a well-designed interior and new suspension. Where it does liken to its previous model is that this third-generation Frontier has a high-strength steel ladder frame.
In some ways, the 2022 Nissan Frontier resembles the Titan full-size pick up. Don’t forget the segment also had the Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline.
The Frontier’s front hood is boxy and mean, but elegant in its ruggedness. The “Frontier” badging is front and center, but subtle enough to avoid giving off the “look at me, I’m menacing” vibes. It’s that demure nature of this pickup that signals it’s DNA has an outdoor adventure vibe, and the tail lights and LED headlights are there to accentuate it.
Both Pro models have LED daytime running lights and Nissan has opted to add a new feature, tailgate dampening. It’s quite the whip appeal you want for a working class-oriented pickup truck.
In the rear end, the Frontier Pro-4X sports a Dana rear axle, electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein off-road shocks and three skid plates that cover the front, transfer case and the fuel tank. In real-wheel version, the Pro-X is stripped down to only Bilsteins and 32-inch Hankook all-terrain tires wrapped on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, along with all the interior lighting and accents.
The Frontier infotainment stepped up a lot from previous modes, with four USB ports standard and centered with a 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The standard 7-inch vehicle info display separates the tach and speedometer and options feature a surround-view camera system, Wi-Fi hotspot, Fender audio, heated front seats and steering wheel, and leather seats on Pro models only. Also, there are Nismo touches for the off-road maniacs out there.
Finally, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and rear door alerts are standard each Frontier model, other driver-assist features are optional. Among them: blind-spot monitors, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.
The Frontier is grizzly as well as fast and powerful, with a 310-hp 3.8-liter V-6 mated to 281 lb-ft of torque set up thorugh 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s towing capacity of 6,570 pounds equals payload capacity at 1,480 pounds.
The gear changes in the first three sequences are smooth, and the truck gets into cruising pretty swiftly. It’s nimble and responds to throtte control and finds its gears. The Pro-X is demarcated as a desert running off-road version of the Frontier, offering better capability over rockier terrain with its standard 4WD setup. Both feature Bilstein shocks, more protective skid plating, red tow hooks, and all-terrain tires.
The big ol’ Frontier isn’t razzled, because it’s so smooth, and that is what we felt behind the wheel. The redesign worked out well for Nissan, and the thickened front stabilizer bar, along with Nissan rear stabilizer bar and hydraulic mounts to the cab make it safe and sound.
The base MSRP for the 2022 Nissan Frontier is $37,240, but with the Tech Package ($990), PRO Convenience Package ($1,900), PRO Premium Package ($2,790), the price rises to $44,315.
The mid-size pickup truck segment competition is about as hot as Death Valley in the summer, and we’re talking new and redesigned models, Rivian’s electric pickup truck possibly coming to shake things up further.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a simiilarly rugged look as the Frontier, and also has detailed interior craftmanship and the Honda reputation. Toyota Tacoma maintains its place as a durable truck the world over, even with minimal equipment, while the TRD Pro and Jeep Gladiator are also in the fray, despite the Pro-X models having mor gear for off-road performance. Other offerings include Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. We won’t talk about the good ol’ trust Ford Ranger until the new Raptor model arrives to try and sniff out the rest of the competition.
Edited by Slav Kandyba
Photo Credit: Copyright 2022 Angel Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog