After what feels like an eternity, Nissan has finally given us a new generation of the Frontier mid-size pickup truck. But with the new generation of the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger on the way, is it too late?
Engine – The engine is actually a carryover item from the previous generation but it is a new engine that was introduced in the last year of the previous generation Frontier. It is a 3.8L V6 and it produces 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque (231 kW & 381 Nm). The engine has plenty of grunt to pull the 2,081 kg (4,587 lbs) frame of the Nissan Frontier when setting off from a stop or when merging onto a highway. It very rarely needs to rev beyond 3,000 rpms when unladen. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to carry a load or tow a trailer.
Fuel Economy – The King Cab 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X is rated for 13.9 L/100km (17 MPG) in a city and 10.7 L/100km (22 MPG) on a highway. Although the Frontier has a 9-speed automatic transmission, the fuel economy is not that much better than that of the Toyota Tacoma and the Tacoma has to make due with a 6-speed automatic. I managed to average 13.2 L/100km (18 MPG) during my time with the Nissan Frontier which is nearly identical to that of the previous crew cab Frontier that I drove earlier in the year.
Transmission – The 3.8L V6 engine is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This is a great transmission as the shifts between gears are smooth and relatively quick, so long as you let the transmission decide when to change gears. There is manual control via the gear selector but the transmission reacts very slowly to this. It’s best to let the computer decide when to shift gears. There’s also a Tow mode which will change the characteristics of the transmission so that the engine is always in the “sweet spot” for towing heavy loads.
Braking – The Frontier doesn’t have any fancy 4-piston fixed calipers like some other mid-size pickup trucks but the basic brakes still provide enough braking force. Additionally, the brake pedal is easy to modulate with a firm feel. The Pro-4X trim receives downhill descent, for when you’re off the beaten path, but it only activates with 4WD and cannot be used in 2WD mode.
Handling – Around corners, the Nissan Frontier feels stable and gives you the feeling of being in control. This Pro-4X trim receives Bilsten shocks which firm up the suspension a tad and will reduce body roll through corners. My only complaint with the driving dynamics is the overly heavy steering at slow speeds. It takes a lot of effort to turn the steering wheel when parking the truck or making a turn at an intersection.
Off-road, the 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X is equipped with skid plates, recovery hooks, the aforementioned Bilstein shocks, and an electronic locking rear differential. The rear diff can only be locked when the truck is in 4-Lo mode and does not lock automatically.
Payload & Towing – In Canada, the 2022 Nissan Frontier is only available with 4×4. In the United States you can get it with 4×2 and that makes a difference in towing and payload numbers (along with cab configuration & trim level). In Canada, the max tow rating is 6,390 lbs with this Pro-4X King Cab configuration. The max payload rating is 1,360 lbs.
The bed of the 2022 Frontier is a little bit bigger than the previous generation. It is offered as a 5-foot or 6-foot bed with a damped tailgate. This King Cab has the latter size. There is also bright LED bed lighting and a 120 Volt outlet.
Ride Comfort – With this particular truck having the Bilstein shocks, the ride is a little bit stiffer when driving on city streets. Potholes and manhole covers are a bit more evident as you drive over them.
However, counteracting the firm ride are the seats. They are plush but also supportive. The driver gets a power 6-way seat but unfortunately the passenger is only 4-way manually adjustable.
Interior Space – On paper, the 2022 Nissan Frontier has a little bit less headroom and legroom in the front row than its closest rival; the Toyota Tacoma. However, at 6’4”, I have no real issues with space. My minor complaint is with the steering wheel as it does not have any telescopic adjustability.
The rear seats are there just for when you find yourself in a pinch and need to carry two more of your friends or family members… or if you really want to torture someone. But at least getting into the back is easy thanks to the rear hinged doors.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The 2022 Nissan Frontier is fairly quiet but on highways, it’s primarily road noise that you’ll hear from the tires. Wind noise is minimal and the engine is quiet unless you take it north of the 3,000 rpm mark.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – This 2022 Nissan Frontier King Cab Pro-4X 4×4 starts at $45,598 CAD and the only option is the $300 Tactical Green Metallic paint. For 2023, the price of this King Cab Pro-4X has increased by $1,000 CAD. Unfortunately, this cab configuration with the Pro-4X trim is not available in the United States. The Pro-4X is only available as a crew cab.
Gadgets – This King Cab Pro-4X Frontier has almost all of the same features as the crew cab version but it’s missing a few key features. The Luxury package which adds leather upholstery, 10-speaker audio system, garage door opener, and unique interior trim pieces among others, is not available with this cab configuration. A sunroof is also not available with this King Cab configuration.
But features like satellite navigation, surround view cameras (though low resolution), heated front seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity (not wireless) are all included in this version of the Frontier.
The infotainment system is displayed on a 9” touchscreen with the infotainment itself being quick to react to inputs from your fingertips. It’s straightforward to use and has some degree of customization.
One thing to note, if you plan on using the remote start on cold mornings, the heated seats will not turn on. Only the heated steering wheel. You have to leave the heated seat switch in the on position if you want it to turn on while using the remote start function. A small oversight from Nissan.
Interior Design – The interior design of the 2022 Frontier is a welcome update from the previous generation. However, it is not complicated to use the controls. All of the functions have physical buttons. It’s a basic yet functional interior design.
Exterior Design – The exterior of the 2022 Nissan Frontier is a head turner. Not just because of the tactical green paint but also because of the modern design cues. These include full LED headlights, LED tail lights, and a grille that is not over encompassing. This is easily the most handsome mid-size truck on sale right now.
Safety – The base trim of the Nissan Frontier has almost every safety feature and driver aid that is available on this truck. These include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot sensors, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, rear automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control. The only features that this Pro-4X trim adds are the surround view cameras and traffic sign recognition.
Warranty – The 2022 Nissan Frontier is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km new vehicle basic warranty and a 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty, click here.
Conclusion – While Nissan took an eternity to update the Frontier, it would appear that it was time well spent. The 2022 Nissan Frontier is not only a big upgrade over the previous generation but it’s also one of the best new mid-size pickup trucks on the market right now. Its time on top might be short lived though as new versions of the Colorado, Canyon, and Tacoma are on the way. But until then, this is the top mid-size truck on sale right now.
Thank you to Nissan Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Nissan.ca