Midsize trucks are an interesting segment, with popularity rising and falling and rising again, ever since the 1980s when Michael J. Fox desperately wanted his very own Toyota SR5 in Back to the Future. There are reasons to love a midsize truck, from the smaller footprint that is easier for city driving and fitting into the garage to the lower price tag and better fuel economy. When you consider some of the other aspects of midsize trucks, they often tend to be dated and don’t receive as much attention from manufacturers for redesigns. Fortunately, a pair of midsize trucks have both gotten some love from their manufacturers, and a comparison between 2022 Chevy Colorado vs 2022 Nissan Frontier seems fair.
Nissan just poured a lot of resources into a full new design for the 2022 Frontier, overhauling just about everything except the ladder frame and the powertrain. Chevy gave the Colorado a mild refresh that wasn’t really an official midcycle tweak last year, but it certainly upgraded a number of features. For reference, the Colorado out-sold the Frontier in 2020 by a large margin, although the numbers are looking closer for 2021. Once the 2022 Frontier comes out, those sales numbers may tip, but it’s doubtful that the Colorado will be unseated as a leading midsize truck for the segment. After all, if you’ve been following news about the Colorado, people are flocking to order a certain package that has gone totally bananas.
On the Trail Again
Recent reports about the 2022 Chevy Colorado indicate that GM is scrambling to fill the unexpectedly high volume of orders for its new Trail Boss package. Under normal circumstances, having triple the orders you expect would probably be a reason to celebrate, but COVID threw off everything about the manufacturing process for the whole automotive world, from the chips used to manage most computerized tasks to the workers who had to quarantine for months without being able to report to work. Buyers got excited about the new Trail Boss package for the 2022 Colorado, which was only seen once before in the lineup back in 2016. Apparently, buyers remembered it fondly and want it again.
Interestingly, there are crickets chirping about Nissan Frontier orders, even though it has an off-road option of its own and a full redesign. So, what’s in the Trail Boss package that people are clambering over? When you order a 2022 Colorado, you can choose to add the Trail Boss package to the LT or Z71 trims, and the package includes several off-road features like skid plates, a one-inch suspension-leveling kit, red tow hooks, and 17-inch black ZR2 wheels. This package is installed at dealerships, but the problem isn’t the installation—it’s the lack of materials available for the wheels. Chevy has been forced to take down the option to add the package to the 2022 Colorado for now, but there are other options for the off-road crowd.
For instance, you could consider the 2022 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X trim. It comes with 17-inch wheels, skid plates, Bilstein shocks, and an e-locker for the rear differential. This trim is at the top of the Frontier’s range and starts at $37,240. On the other hand, you could just go for the Z71 trim on the Colorado, which includes an e-locker for the rear differential, off-road-tuned suspension, hill descent control, black recovery hooks, and the option to add skid plates. Chevy places this trim at the top of its range but offers it for $34,800, which is cheaper even if you add skid plates. And even with the updates to the 2022 Frontier, the Colorado is a proven off-road warrior.
If you can afford to buy the Colorado ZR2, that’s probably your best bet for off-roading since you will find that model will offer better articulation on trails, it can handle slow crawls on rocks, and it sports exclusive DSSV multi-spool shocks. Though the updates to the Frontier are worthy of applause, the PRO-4X really can’t hold a candle to the prowess you get with the greater technical capability of the ZR2. Besides, it’s generally a better idea to give new designs a year or two for working out the inevitable issues. The wild popularity of the Trail Boss package is no fluke if you consider how many people probably wish they could pony up for the true trail boss that is the ZR2 but are settling opting for the lesser version they can afford.
Standard Features and Body Configurations
Comparing the standard features of the 2022 Colorado and the 2022 Frontier may reveal some interesting details about what to expect when you purchase a basic truck, but it’s worth noting right off the bat that the Colorado has a lower starting price with a lot of similar equipment to the Frontier. For instance, the 2022 Frontier entry-level comes with 16-inch wheels, an eight-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a damped tailgate.
Chevy starts the 2022 Colorado with 17-inch wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear bumper corner steps, and OnStar capability for emergency and remote services. Similar features, but the Colorado ride quality rivals that of the Frontier, even with the updates it just received, and even with its dated interior, it still holds value compared to the more expensive Frontier. Take into consideration that Chevy offers the 2022 Colorado in four trims and has three different configurations for the body style with the option to have a crew cab and a long box. Though the 2022 Frontier also comes with four trims, it only has two body configurations. Let the facts rest.
Options, Options, Options
If you want options, the 2022 Frontier is not the best way to go. While this is a solid truck with a new design, Nissan simply doesn’t offer much in the way of choices for customizing. Aside from the body style choices, Chevy offers more powertrains, more special editions, more packages, and more options to customize your midsize truck. It’s admirable that Nissan is taking measures to upgrade the 2022 Frontier to make it more competitive in the segment, but the brand is going to have to offer more choices if it wants to compete with the likes of Chevy and Ford.
Take just the powertrains as an example. Chevy delivers a 2.4-liter four-cylinder as its standard engine, then makes available a 3.6-liter V6 and a 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder. With the turbo-diesel engine, you get 7,700 pounds of towing capacity, but all the engines have towing capability. If you go with the 2022 Frontier, you get one engine choice. It may be able to claim best-in-class standard horsepower, but the 3.8-liter V6 powertrain doesn’t tow as much as the V6 or the diesel in the 2022 Colorado. To top it off, the Colorado has more front headroom and more legroom in front and rear when you look at the comparable cab styles.
If you really want a midsize truck, a tried and true Colorado has so many more options to make it your own. The Frontier has its positives, but even for daily driving, the 2022 Colorado is likely to be a better fit if you plan to take passengers along. Whether on the trail or on the road, the ride quality is comfortable, and the seats are supportive. Nissan, even with its updates for 2022, has gone backward to hydraulic steering and still only has one powertrain. Can’t have the Trail Boss package? Go visit the builder page and see how unlimited your other options are with the 2022 Colorado.