The 2022 Nissan Frontier is almost entirely new, except where it doesn’t need to be. An almost-complete rebuild has taken the most dated model in the mid-size pickup class (that includes the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, and Toyota Tacoma) and turned it into the most powerful, and arguably, the best looking medium-sized truck.
Tall and chiselled, the 2022 Nissan Frontier's new body is inspired by the classic Nissan Hardbody Desert Runner of the 1980s. A front bumper contoured close to the bone shows off the truck's standard skid plate. That, combined with the high fenders, pull the eyes toward the big tires, giving the Frontier the look of a highly-functional machine. A trend toward massive grilles on today's trucks has influenced the design, but it's executed tastefully here.
Inside, the update is even more extreme. Nissan's "zero-gravity" seats, which we've found comfortable in other Nissan vehicles, are standard now. An 8-inch screen (or available 9-inch model) sits centred in the dash, offering standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. USB A and C ports are standard, with optional wireless phone charging available. On the top-of-the-line Pro4X trim, orange-coloured door inserts match the orange accent colour beneath the badges—a beautiful detail.
Although we have not driven the new Frontier, Nissan says its ride promises to be quieter. Apparently Nissan has increased the use of sound dampening material throughout, including laminated door window glass.
What’s the same?
While the 2022 Nissan Frontier's look is entirely new inside and out, the mechanical parts aren't—but that's mostly a good thing. The 3.8-litre 6-cylinder engine under the hood made its debut on last year's model. At 310 horsepower, it is the most powerful standard engine in its class. Keep in mind, the maximum tow rating of 6,720 pounds (3,048 kilograms) is among the lowest in its class. The payload is a bit low, as well, at 1,610 pounds (730 kilograms).
The Nissan's transmission is all-new, a 9-speed automatic found on its larger Titan full-size truck sibling. Rear-wheel-drive is available in other markets, but the new Frontier will be offered exclusively in 4-wheel-drive for the Canadian buyers.
Another thing that hasn't changed is the Frontier's box frame. Though Nissan has altered it here and there over the years, it remains essentially the same design introduced on the 2005 model. Nissan says new hydraulic suspension mounts should eliminate vibration and make the on-road ride smoother than before, while the proven flexible ladder frame should give it strong off-road performance. In principle, that seems likely to be true. But building on a 16-year-old chassis is a gamble, and we look forward to some drive time to find out if its age shows.
When will it go on sale?
Nissan says the new 2022 Nissan Frontier will go on sale this summer.
How much will it cost?
Pricing for the new 2022 Frontier will be available closer to the mid-size truck’s on-sale date.