CWe’ve had two opportunities to test drive the all-new 2022 Nissan Frontier. In September 2021 and again just four months later, we were treated to all matters of midsize pickup truck fun. The second time simply built on what we learned the first time, giving us a clear perspective of what this model offers.
Rugged, Modern, and Classical
Nissan completely overhauled the Frontier to deliver a thoroughly modern expression. The canvas is familiar as it has the rugged layout you would expect, including an upright grille, wide hood, slab sides, sturdy roof pillars, and a high waistline. The modern elements help the Frontier stand out and suggest what the next-generation Tacoma could look like. Indeed, the 2022 Frontier may be the best looker in the segment with its masculine persona.
Nissan equips the Frontier with standard 16-inch steel wheels wrapped without all-season tires. Most trims come with various 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. All-terrain tires are available. Front skid plates are included, front tow hooks are available, and a bed arrangement system is optional.
Inside, the cabin offers excellent head, shoulder, hip, and legroom for the average-sized adult, at least in the front row. The second row is tight, more so with the King Cab. We recommend the Crew Cab for its roominess and space for five.
Cloth and soft-touch materials dominate the cabin. Nevertheless, finer materials, including real hides can be had. No, you won’t mistake the Frontier for an Infiniti, but you might find the interior on par with every other model in the segment and that is great.
Full power accessories come standard. The options list includes a 6-way power driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and a power moonroof.
Two Body Choices
Nissan offers the 2022 Frontier in King Cab (extended) and Crew Cab configurations. The two models seat four and five, respectively.
The King Cab comes with a 74-inch bed. As for the Crew Cab, this one comes with a standard 61-inch or an available 74-inch bed.
In earlier years, Nissan offered two engine choices. But for the latest model, only one is available. Fortunately, Nissan chose a powerful engine for the latest Frontier. Specifically, a 3.8-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque drives this model.
This one sends power to the rear or all four wheels utilizing a 9-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain is robust as the engine develops copious amounts of power, while the transmission shifts cleanly on demand. It is a naturally aspirated engine too, therefore no boosting is present. Fortunately, you do not need it.
Towing and Payload
How much does the Frontier tow? That answer ranges from 6,250 to 6,750 pounds, depending on the trim. That keeps the Frontier with the pack, which includes such models as the GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and the Honda Ridgeline. Features such as an intelligent around-view monitor, trailer sway control, and tow-haul mode are offered.
As for payload, it ranges from 1,360 to 1,610 pounds. Payload covers everything inside the bed as well as in the vehicle. This means passenger weight and cargo carrying capacity must be considered.
The Frontier is no lightweight softie either. This model weighs between 4,343 and 4,709 pounds. Thus fuel economy is affected somewhat as this model delivers 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. With four-wheel drive, those numbers slip slightly to 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined.
Nissan equips the 2022 Frontier with a 7-inch digital instrument panel display and an 8-inch touch-screen display. Some models have a 9-inch display. Voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as does Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, satellite radio, and two USB ports.
A 6-speaker audio system is standard, but a 10-speaker Fender audio package is offered on some trims. Other available features include a wireless charger, two additional USB ports, and navigation. A pair of 120-volt power outlets are optional.
Nissan equips the Frontier with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and a driver alert system.
Features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert are included with an option package. Also available is a rear sonar system, rear automatic braking, traffic sign assist, and high beam assist. These features are bundled within a $990 package upgrade.
What isn’t available is ProPilot Assist. This tech package introduces elements of semi-autonomous driving, by combining adaptive cruise control with lane-centering technology. Steering inputs keep affected Nissan models on target. While not offered with the Frontier at this stage, we think it will eventually roll out, perhaps as part of a wide tech upgrade later.
Hitting the Road
Big power is always at the ready. Ample step-off acceleration and passing power are on tap. The engine never tires and the transmission is willing and capable.
Our Frontier PRO-4X was an off-road champ. This model is a true off-roader with 2WD, auto, 4Hi, and 4Lo settings. We found the PRO-4X is capable on gravel, a strong mudder, and able to extract itself from the muck. With 9.4 inches of ground clearance and ample axle articulation, the Frontier goes and does what it needs to do. Our only disappointment was not being able to go to our favorite off-road haunts as these were closed for the winter.
Considerations: 2022 Nissan Frontier
Nissan offers the 2022 Frontier in King and Crew Cab arrangements. Nissan prices the King Cab from $28,140 to $34,040, while the Crew Cab costs from $29,440 to $37,370. Add $1,225 for the destination payment.
We think the sweet spot is around $35,000, which is reasonable for the segment. In all, the new Frontier does exactly what it needed to do to supply a modern model. That alone should keep enthusiasts in the fold as well win conquest shoppers.