2022 Frontier Buries The Past, Helps Nissan Race To The Future With New Technology

The current generation Nissan Frontier is a textbook case of how to stay stagnant in a rapidly developing world. First making its appearance back when George W. Bush was president, the rugged Frontier was supposed to be a value-focused mid-size pickup offering that could bring buyers capability and utility. That formula worked for a time, until the competition caught up, and then subsequently lapped it over the years. Nissan has had enough of being the butt of jokes in the mid-size pickup segment and has unveiled its long-awaited (and quite frankly overdue) replacement, the 2022 Nissan Frontier, after a brief teaser campaign.


2022 Frontier Trades In Dated Duster Coat For Sleeker Styling

The first major change that you might notice is the radically altered styling that the 2022 Nissan Frontier brings to the table. Anything remotely close to old-school has been pitched for a massive infusion of new-school thinking. The front fascia features an all-new front grille and notched headlight design with the front bumper reworked. The truck featured here is a range-topping Pro-4X model that features a trim exclusive bumper designed to provide higher ground clearance but look for lesser models to retain a strong styling theme.

The side profile features a prominent design line as well as flared wheel arches, which lead the eye to the back. Here, the Frontier’s taillights also adopt the C-shape that defines the front lights, and the tailgate adds a small ducktail spoiler. The gate also comes with a bold Frontier script that’s stamped into the surface itself. The Titan influence here is very strong, and it makes the truck look more assertive.

But despite Nissan going through great lengths to ensure that many surfaces are distinctly different from the outgoing truck, this’s not a total reboot, with the 2022 model still using the outgoing truck’s basic platform and cab layout. We’re willing to forgive this, though, since the Frontier now has the street cred that it has lacked for so long. This will be bad news for blander offerings like the Ford Ranger and really put the squeeze on the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma as well as the Chevrolet Colorado and its slightly more upscale sibling, the GMC Canyon.


New Technology Spearheads 2022 Frontier Interior

With the exterior receiving a styling revamp that was 18 years in the making, it was only fitting that the interior also got its well-deserved trip to the tailors. Once a bland and rather depressing sea of grey plastics and outdated technology, the new cabin is the pure opposite, with plenty of new things to see and touch. The range-topping Pro-4X is clearly turning its sights to the Toyota Tacoma TRD with bold Lava red accents contrasting with the black accents. A brand new instrument cluster is on board while the dashboard’s outer reaches are covered in a high quality stitched material.

Other aspects of the design that we like include an all-new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is already the largest screen offered by any manufacturer in the mid-size segment. But buyers looking for more can opt for a bigger 9.0-inch screen, which allows the Frontier to actually be the best pickup in its class when it comes to this particular technology. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be standard, with the system also coming equipped with both USB-A and USB-C ports. The options list hides other surprises, including a WiFi hotspot, Surround View Camera, and even a wireless charging pad for cellphones.

Nissan promises slight improvements in passenger room, but considering that some of the old truck’s architecture is carried over for 2022, the measurements here are nothing earth-shattering, with the bulk of these figures only going up by 0.1 inches or so.


Carryover Performance Motivates Frontier

The biggest hand-me-down item that the 2022 model gets from its predecessor is the 3.8 liter V6, but that’s nothing new, with Nissan even admitting that the V6’s appearance in the outgoing model was a veiled sneak peek at what would be in store for 2022. For those that need a brief refresher course, the engine makes 310 horsepower and is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

But unlike the old truck, the combination benefits from some of the suspension changes that Nissan has made to help the Frontier have more approachable handling characteristics. A new rear stabilizer bar is paired with a larger front bar and jounce bumpers to help enhance ride quality over bumpy roads. A reworked hydraulic steering system and hydraulic cab mounts greatly reduce vibrations and also improve steering feedback at the same time.

It would be a crime, though, to not talk about some of the numbers that the Frontier boasts when it’s out doing truck stuff. Buyers can tow up to 6,720 lbs and haul up to 1,610 lbs of stuff. These figures put the Frontier right in the thick of it with many of its rivals. Towing, for example, is arguably where the Nissan is the weakest, with the Ford Ranger (7,500 lbs), GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado (7,000 lbs), and the Toyota Tacoma (6,800 lbs) all beating it in this category. The lone exception is the Honda Ridgeline, which can only haul 5,000 lbs. On the other hand, Cargo capacity is a much more heated affair, with the Frontier besting all but the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Tacoma.


When Can I Buy A 2022 Nissan Frontier?

Nissan did not release any pricing details surrounding the 2022 Nissan Frontier but did confirm that the first trucks will be making their way to showrooms this summer. Buyers will be able to choose from four different trim levels (S, SV, Pro-4X, and Pro-X) and two different bed lengths, depending on what configuration they choose. As the name implies, the Pro-X is designed to bring many of the core basics that off-roaders expect but in a two-wheel-drive package that will be slightly cheaper.