The longest running generation of pickup trucks has finally received an update. The Nissan Frontier, in its 2nd generation, has been around since 2005! Finally in 2022, it receives an update that puts it in line with other mid-size pickup trucks.
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). That is now best-in-class horsepower. The engine has plenty of grunt to pull the 2,141 kg (4,719 lbs) frame of the Nissan Frontier. 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 – This particular Pro-4X trim is rated for 13.7 L/100km (17.2 MPG) in a city and 10.6 L/100km (22.2 MPG) on a highway. Lower trim levels of the 2022 Nissan Frontier have better fuel economy ratings. For example, the Frontier S King Cab 4×4 is rated for 12.8 L/100km (18.3 MPG) in a city and 9.5 L/100km (24.7 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the truck, I averaged 13.3 L/100km (17.7 MPG).
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. 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 6,490 lbs for the King cab S 4×4 and the max payload rating is 1,400 lbs. In the United States, these numbers are 6,720 lbs & 1,600 lbs respectively for the King Cab S 4×2. This Pro-4X crew cab has ratings of 6,240 lbs & 1,140 lbs respectively.
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. 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 then 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.
In the rear seats, The Frontier is a bit more spacious than the Tacoma but behind my driving position, it is still tight back there. There is a little bit of storage underneath the seats and they can also fold down 60/40.
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 past approximately 3,000 rpms.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Nissan Frontier starts at $39,998 CAD ($28,340 USD, 4×2) with this Pro4-X trim costing $49,998 CAD with the Luxury package ($43,540 USD).
Gadgets – This Frontier Pro-4X trim is fully loaded with the Luxury package. It has leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, sunroof, surround view cameras (which are low resolution), parking sensors, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot sensors, automatic climate control, navigation, wireless phone charging, and Apple CarPlay & Android Auto but neither are wireless. It’s basic but it’s just the right amount of features.
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 customizability.
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. 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 red paint but also because of the modern design cues. These include full LED headlights, LED tail lights, and a grille that is not overencompasing. This is easily the most handsome mid-size truck on sale right now.
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. The competitors have some catching up to do.
Thank you to Nissan Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Nissan.ca