The midsize pickup truck market is booming as customers rediscover the offerings on hand. After seemingly appearing to fade away, a rash of new offerings starting in the mid-2010s revived the segment.
The Nissan Frontier is the latest of a new breed of pickup trucks. The third generation, launched in 2022, ends a 17-year reign for the second-generation model. Notably, Nissan previewed the current model’s powertrain in the 2020 and 2021 models before introducing the new one. That was an unusual approach and a strong teaser for what was to come.
2022 Nissan Frontier Overview
Full-size pickup trucks are typically redone every five or six years. The midsize market is a bit different, with models hanging on for about eight years. Thus, the Frontier’s overhaul was delayed for several years, but it didn’t hurt sales. Indeed, the older model was also the best value in the class, enabling Nissan to stay relevant in a segment dominated by Toyota.
One thing that Nissan did not replace was the previous model’s frame. Instead, the company updated and reinforced it, then overlayed it with a new body. Technically, you can say that the 2022 Frontier represents a heavy refresh. But we are calling it the next generation as everything else has changed.
As for the design, it has a traditional truck look with a wide grille, broad hood, powerful roof pillars, and pronounced wheel wells. Available LED lighting touches give this model a modern look, but overall the expression is timeless.
Halogen headlamps are standard; LED lights are available. Cargo bed lights and rear LED lamps are included. Power-folding side mirrors are included with the SV trim; heated mirrors are available. Bed rail protectors are included, while a spray-in bedliner is available. The S trim features 16-inch steel wheels; all other models have 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Two Body Styles, Cost
For 2022, Nissan offers the Frontier in King Cab and Crew Cab configurations. The first choice features two doors with jump seats behind them. The Crew Cab is a four-door model with room for five.
Nissan offers the King Cab in S ($28,690/$31,390) and SV ($31,890/$34,590) configurations. The prices listed show the rear-wheel-drive model followed by the four-wheel-drive version. As for the Crew Cab, this one is offered in S ($29,990/$32,990), SV SWB ($32,790/$35,790), SV LWB ($34,690/$37,690), and PRO-X/PRO-4X ($35,120/$38,120) arrangements. Add $1,225 for the destination and handling charge.
Various package choices are available, depending on the trim. Comfort, convenience, premium, and technology packages are listed among them. Moreover, there are various one-off upgrades, also depending on trim. For example, choosing premium paint adds $395 to the cost. Other options include a drop-in bedliner ($385), mud flaps ($210), and an electronic tailgate lock ($335). While the packages are installed at the factory level, individual items are handled by the dealer. That is a normal procedure in the industry.
Truck Dimensions, Towing, and Payload
We should note that the Frontier comes in standard- (126.0 inches) and long-wheelbase (139.8 inches) versions. Thus, the truck measures 210.2 inches and 224.1 inches long overall. The S offers the standard size only, the SV comes in either length, while the range-top PRO models are long wheelbase.
The truck is also 73 or 74.7 inches wide. It measures 71.6 to 72.9 inches high. The ground clearance exceeds 8 inches across the model range to nearly 10 inches with the PRO-X trim. The standard-wheelbase model has a 59.7-inch bed. Choose the long wheelbase and this one comes with a 72.7-inch bed.
The payload ranges from 1,160 to 1,480 pounds. This truck’s towing capacity ranges from 6,270 to 6,570 pounds. As for the curb weight the range spans from 4,451 to 4,773 pounds.
Cabin Choices: King Cab or Crew Cab
With two cabin choices available, customers will find seating for four in the King Cab and five in the Crew Cab. Even so, the rear seats in the King Cab are jump seats and ideal for children. The Crew Cab has a bench seat that is best for two, but it will hold three in a pinch.
The cabin layout is what you would expect in a truck – geared toward utilitarianism with convenience features added. Base cloth seats are included with the S trim, but choice cloth adorns the two other trims. No trim offers leather, although imitation leather trim pieces appear with the PRO trims.
The usual convenience features are included. Full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and air conditioning. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are also offered.
Nissan Frontier and Leading Technologies
Nissan equips the 2022 Frontier with a 6-speaker audio system and an 8-inch touchscreen display. A 10-speaker audio system is available. Four USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto come standard. Further, this model comes with Siri Eyes Free and satellite radio.
The list of upgrades and/or options includes a 10-speaker Fender audio system. A 9-inch color display, navigation, and connected services are available. Nissan also offers a pair of 110-volt power outlets. One serves the interior and faces the rear compartment. The other is in the truck bed.
Nissan equips or makes available many of the safety features found on its other models with the 2022 Frontier. One notable exception is Pro Pilot Assist, the company’s driver-assist safety technology. It is a curious omission, but we believe Nissan will rectify that with an upcoming update.
Meanwhile, you can find a rearview monitor, driver alert warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. And as standard equipment too. Optionally, Nissan offers lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear automatic braking. Automatic high beams, a rear sonar system, and the adaptive cruise control can also be had.
About the Powertrain
Nissan equips the 2022 Frontier with the largest engine in its class. A naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 motivates this model in a significant way. Specifically, the 2022 Frontier outputs a class-leading 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the rear or all four wheels utilizing a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The engine is traditional, relying on pure power to move the Frontier. In an age where competitors such as the Ford Ranger utilize boosting, the Frontier does not. Instead, pure internal combustion engine power is at the ready and this workhorse reflects it.
Our test PRO-X model relished in the power, as the engine offers strong step-off acceleration and quick passing power. We kept this rear-wheel-drive model on firm terrain for the most part. However, we also took this truck on gravel roads and well-trod paths. Certainly, it does not have the grip of four-wheel drive, but it holds its own.
Opt for four-wheel drive, including the PRO-4X and this model has the usual 4-Hi and 4-Lo settings. Further, an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein shock absorbers, and multiple skid plates make this model ideal for off-road adventuring. We’ve driven the PRO-4X twice since it rolled out and can attest to its off-road chops.
In all, we found the Nissan Frontier remains a stout truck. It offers excellent power, weighty steering, the expected truck-like handling, and firm brakes. It is the right-size truck for anyone who cannot justify the girth of a full-size or maybe does not have the garage to house one.
Nissan Frontier Parting Thoughts
Truck prices are high, but there is value available if you know where to look for it. We like the King Cab for its compact interior, knowing that it is most suitable for two with the rear area serving as an interior storage compartment. Importantly, a well-equipped 2022 Frontier can be had for under $40,000 and that is at least $10,000 than some competitors.
2022 Nissan Frontier Specifications
|Segment||Midsize Pickup Truck|
|Price Range||$27,840 to $37,370|
|Drivetrain||Rear- or Four-Wheel Drive|
|Horsepower||310 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||281 @ 4,400 rpm|
|Bore x Stroke (inches)||3.76 x 3.48|
|Height (inches)||72.0 to 72.9|
|Headroom (f,r…inches)||39.9, 38.6|
|Legroom (f,r…inches)||42.3, 33.2|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||58.2, 58.3|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||54.3, 53.7|
|Pax Volume (cu. ft.)||100.1|
|Cargo Storage (cu. ft.)||40.1/49.2|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,451 to 4,773|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||6,012|
|Towing (pounds)||6,260 to 6,570|
|Payload (pounds)||1,160 to 1,480|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||21.0|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||17/22/19; 18/24/20|
|Manufacturing Plant||Decherd, Tennessee|
Specifications supplied by the manufacturer. Statistics assembled by Tom Keegan.
Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group. All rights reserved.