Every generation, a vehicle goes through a number of different changes, alterations, and upgrades. The Nissan Frontier is no exception to this rule, and with the 2022 model, it’s one of the most overhauled renditions of the Frontier’s run on the market. This makes it an easy shoo-in for becoming a big seller at any local Nissan Frontier dealer. But before we start speculating about the next model year to come down the pipeline, it might be wise to look back over the Nissan Frontier of years past and break down what some of the biggest and most welcome changes have been for the mid-size pickup over the course of the years and what new things we are excited to see.
One of the most common complaints about the Nissan Frontier has been that it just didn’t receive enough updates and upgrades over the years. Well, that may be true to an extent, but Nissan did add enough features to the Frontier throughout the second generation to give potential truck owners a few reasons to check out the mid-size pickup, but the time has finally come for the Frontier to enter into its third-generation. We’ll go over some of the more significant changes and what model year they were added.
8. Standard 5.0-inch Display With Bluetooth Support
Not every trim over the years came standard with a lot of features some drivers may take for granted today. For instance, the 5.0-inch touchscreen display, along with Bluetooth wireless support, were made standard features across the entire trim line for the 2018 model year. During that time, a lot of nameplates were also standardizing touchscreen displays with Bluetooth wireless support, and the Frontier happened to be one of them. The Bluetooth wireless support also meant that standard integration of smartphone infotainment features was now a trim-wide feature for the entire Nissan Frontier nameplate from 2018 onward. And who could obviously say no to that feature, even with a somewhat paltry 5.0-inch touchscreen attached?
7. Standard 7.0-inch Display With Bluetooth and Smartphone Support
Nissan heard the complaints and realized that a 5.0-inch diagonal touchscreen was probably smaller than most people’s cell phones at that point. So they decided to upgrade the standard infotainment implementation with a standardized 7.0-inch diagonal HD touchscreen for all of the Frontier trims, starting with the 2019 model year onward. All it took was one extra year for Nissan to upgrade the touchscreen size, but it was definitely a welcome change. There wasn’t really much else that was noteworthy here since the 2018 model year was the one that received the Bluetooth and the rearview camera. However, this brought the Frontier up to similar standards to some of its nearest midsize rivals, who were also sporting larger touchscreens.
6. All New 3.8-liter V6 Powertrain
One of the big expectations for the Nissan Frontier was that it was going to get an all-new powertrain. Well, that was sort of true, just not for the model year that most enthusiasts predicted. Nissan instead rolled out an all-new 3.8-liter V6 powertrain for the 2020 model year. Talk about an early surprise for truck shoppers, eh? No one had to wait for the new generation to finally come out to get their hands on a Frontier that sported a revamped V6 powertrain that delivered 310 horsepower with 281 pound-feet of torque. The new engine would be a proper step forward in Nissan establishing a quality power plant for the Frontier over the next few years, including the 2021 and 2022 models. It was a nice step up from the less able and duly outdated four-cylinder engines that the Frontier had been rocking for many years before.
5. 9-Speed Automatic Transmission
Joining the 3.8-liter V6 engine was an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission during the 2020 model year. Nissan may have stockpiled a lot of new features for the Frontier into just a couple of model years, but you can’t knock them for at least delivering the goods. In this case, they absolutely did deliver with a quality powertrain setup that saw the brand new V6 paired up with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This new addition, however, is a bit of a bittersweet upgrade because it comes at the expense of the two manual transmissions, which included the 5-speed and 6-speed manuals. So if you enjoyed that raw experience of shifting with your own bravado and clutching like a pro, sadly, that option was taken away. However, Nissan did compensate with the added push-button start and some power amenities, such as locks and windows.
4. Intelligent All-Around View Monitoring
The Nissan Frontier sometimes gets a lot of unfounded hate. Yeah, it sort of slogged behind a lot of the other midsize pickups on the market, but you have to admit that when Nissan decided to get serious, they went all-in on making the Frontier as attractive as possible. One of those attractive features included the Intelligent All-Around View suite for the 2022 model year. This just didn’t include the all-around view monitoring, which allows drivers to see around the entire vehicle and gives an accurate view of what’s in front, behind, and in the blind spots of the vehicle, but the Frontier also includes moving-object detection, and it offers a special set of features when driving off-road. What’s not to love about that?
3. Increased Tow-Rating
For the longest time, the Nissan Frontier’s tow-rating seemed to be stuck around the 6,500 pound mark. It’s a fine figure for a midsize truck to some extent, but from 2014 up through 2019, it just seems like a stagnant feature that should have been receiving a heck of a lot more attention. Better late than never, right? The 2020 model was the late but welcome addition of a nice little boost to the tow-rating of the Nissan Frontier, which saw an upgrade from the 6,500-pound mark to the 6,720 pounds. It’s not a huge upgrade, but a couple of hundred extra pounds worth of towing is the difference between bringing along a larger kayak and having to leave it behind if you’re already trailering/towing 6,500 pounds worth of cargo.
2. All New 4-Wheel Drive System
There are a lot of new features worth talking about for the Nissan Frontier, but one that really stands out is the all-new four-wheel drive system for the 2022 model year. This features multiple drive modes and the ability to swap between 2WD, 4HI, and 4LO modes for the 4×4 Frontiers. This feature is electronically controlled through the part-time transfer case to help with delivering various kinds of traction and stability control when driving off-road. With the addition of hill assist and hill descent controls, and the ability to have the torque transferred to the wheels that need it most, it makes the Frontier a really capable off-road truck, especially for rock and hill climbs.
1. All-New Exterior Styling
One of the most complained about features of the Nissan Frontier throughout the second generation has been the lack of innovation for the exterior. The Frontier has largely stayed the same throughout the years, leading to it becoming less competitive than it should have been on the market, but with the 2022 model year, Nissan completely overhauled the look of the Frontier. The aggressive new fascia and more bold outer shell lend itself to the Frontier looking a lot more capable and powerful to match its new powertrain setup and the improved infotainment suite it’s been given over recent years. The brand new look for the Frontier, with its stylish off-road guise and rugged qualities, is probably the number one most welcome change during the third-generation run of the midsize pickup and one of the most likely features to get people to visit their Nissan Frontier dealer.