This Bold New Frontier Delivers Better than Ever
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re currently in a midsize pickup truck resurgence, with the return of the Ford Ranger and the arrival of new entries like the Jeep Gladiator. But, one entry has been soldiering on for years with little fanfare— it’s the Nissan Frontier. Well it’s time to change that, with its first redesign in 15-years!
The Nissan Frontier has a well-earned reputation as one of the toughest midsize trucks. And with the arrival of the 3rd-generation Frontier for 2022, it looks like that will continue. There’s a massive grille, chiseled hood, expressive headlights, and exaggerated fenders; all the hallmarks of modern bold truck designs.
What is unchanged is the standard 126.0-inch wheelbase. Extended King Cabs come with 6-foot beds, while full Crew Cab models are available with either a 5-foot bed, or a stretched wheelbase version with the 6-footer. All beds get a new dampened tailgate with aero treatments built into the top. An optional Convenience package adds a spray-in bedliner, under rail bed lighting, and Nissan’s Uni-track adjustable tie downs.
The Frontier’s frame does get beefed up with stronger suspension mounts, but it’s the added hydraulic body mounts that will be the upgrade buyers appreciate most; enabling a more refined driving experience.
Powertrain is the combo that actually debuted in 2020’s Frontier; 310-horsepower naturally-aspirated V6 with 281 lb-ft. of torque, mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with optional 4-wheel-drive, and a towing capacity of 6,270-lbs.
With this redesign, the Frontier has gone from having the most outdated interior in the segment, to having the most modern. Thankfully it’s a good design, as we’re likely to see it for the next 20-years judging by their current rate of Frontier renewals. The 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is an optional upgrade over the base 8-inch, but the 7-inch Advanced Driver Assist Display is standard.
On the other hand, the atmosphere looks more utilitarian than most new trucks; rugged and durable no doubt. Still, you can add leather as part of a Premium Package that also includes upgraded 10-speaker Fender Premium Audio and sunroof.
Pro-4X trim returns. It comes with 4-wheel-drive standard; along with 17-inch alloy wheels with all-terrains, Bilstein Off Road shocks, fender flares, locking rear differential, steel skid plates, and, of course, some special interior touches too.
Like the look, but don’t need 4-wheel-drive? There’s a new Pro-X version that gets most of the same upgrades yet sticks with rear-wheel-drive. Once we got our PRO-4X back on the pavement, it was off to Mason Dixon Dragway where it jumped off the line with some serious aggression; hitting 60 in 7.5-seconds. Power delivery stayed strong throughout the ¼-mile, and this V6 revs freely, making some great sounds as it does it. Best time was a 15.7 at 88 miles-per-hour.
Due to its off-road minded suspension setup and heavy steering, it was a little sluggish getting through our cone course. Understeer arrives early and keeps speeds relatively low. But the throttle is very responsive making it easy to find balance and keep it in its sweet spot.
That soft suspension also created a lot of nose dive in our braking test. The pedal is firm, and you can hear the ABS working overtime. Still, with a stopping distance of just 115-feet from 60, they certainly get the job done.
Standard safety includes Automatic Emergency Braking; optional Nissan Safety Shield 360 features include Lane Departure Warning and Intelligent Cruise Control.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 17-City, 22-Highway, and 19-Combined; our average, right on at 22.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Typical for a truck, there’s a below average Energy Impact Score; 17.3-barrels of oil annually, with 7.6-tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing starts with a King Cab S at $29,015, with 4-wheel-drive a $3,200 option. Top PRO-4Xs are Crew Cabs only with 4-wheel-drive included for $38,415.
That puts the 2022 Nissan Frontier at the right price; with the right size and features to make a big impact on the midsize truck segment. And, Nissan has done a great job of modernizing and toughing it up without changing its overall character or doing anything to alienate current fans. This bold new Frontier delivers better than ever.
Engine: 3.8L V6
Torque: 281 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
1/4 Mile: 15.7 seconds at 88 mph
Stopping Distance: 115 feet
EPA: 17 City / 22 Highway / 19 Combined
MotorWeek Fuel Economy: 22.2 mpg