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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A grey 2022 Nissan Frontier is shown from the front parked in a field after winning a 2022 Nissan Frontier vs 2022 Chevy Colorado comparison.

Pushing the Boundaries: 2022 Nissan Frontier vs 2022 Chevy Colorado

At one time, Colorado represented the frontier of the United States. When you headed out to Colorado, you were going out to the wilderness. But those days are long gone as Colorado is now part of civilization. You could say a similar thing about the Chevy Colorado. Despite making incremental changes over time, Chevrolet has been using the same platform for its midsize Colorado pickup truck for the past decade. On the other hand, Nissan has been pushing the boundaries with its appropriately named Frontier, which is now entering its all-new third-generation for 2022. Comparing the 2022 Nissan Frontier vs 2022 Chevy Colorado, you see how one automaker is embracing change while the other seems content to keep things as they are.

This really is a case of approaches. For instance, the 2022 Nissan Frontier gives you a standard V6 engine, while Chevrolet makes you pay for performance on the 2022 Colorado with three different engine options. While you could argue that Chevy is giving drivers more choices, they are also artificially lowering the price of their truck. The base MSRP of the 2022 Frontier is $27,840, while the 2022 Colorado starts at $25,200. However, this can be a little misleading once you add the options needed to make the two trucks comparable.

A Difference of Approaches

Both Chevy and Nissan offer four different trim levels on their midsize trucks. The 2022 Chevy Colorado comes in the WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2 trims. Similarly, you can get the 2022 Nissan Frontier in S, SV, PRO-X, and PRO-4X trims. Both automakers have made their top two trims purpose-built off-road models. That means that the Colorado Z71 and ZR2, as well as the Frontier PRO-X and PRO-4X, will have specialized off-road suspensions, skid plates, locking differentials, and other gear that you will need if you decide to take your pickup truck out onto the trail. Also, the top trim Colorado ZR2 and 2022 Frontier PRO-4X are available as 4X4 drivetrain only. This is where the similarities end.

Nissan equips every 2022 Frontier with the same 3.8-liter V6 gas engine. This is a 24-valve engine with a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) design, featuring an aluminum block and heads. This V6 engine uses direct fuel injection to produce 310 horsepower at 6400 RPM and 281 lb-ft of torque at 4400 RPM. It comes paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

Chevrolet has taken a different approach. Every trim of the 2022 Colorado except for the ZR2 features a standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine. This engine has a DOHC design and utilizes direct fuel injection and variable valve timing, but it only gives you 200 horsepower at 6300 RPM and 191 lb-ft of torque at 4400 RPM. This engine also comes with an older 6-speed automatic transmission.

The 2022 Colorado ZR2 comes with a standard 3.6-liter DOHC V6 gas engine. It also features direct fuel injection and variable valve timing for 308 horsepower at 6800 RPM and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4000 RPM. This engine is available as an option on the other three trims of the 2022 Colorado, and comes paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. However, it is still less powerful than the Frontier’s standard engine, and it has fewer gears in the transmission.

There is also a diesel option on the 2022 Colorado. This is a 2.8-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-4. It has an exhaust brake and direct fuel injection and can produce up to 181 horsepower at 3400 RPM and 369 lb-ft of torque at 2000 RPM. This engine comes paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. While Nissan does not offer a diesel in its midsize model, very few brands do as diesels are generally better suited to heavy-duty trucks.

A blue 2022 Chevy Colorado is shown from the side driving on an open road past a body of water.

A Difference in Performance

The standard 3.8-liter V6 gas engine on the 2022 Frontier allows this Nissan midsize pickup to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in as little as 7.0 seconds. This model has a top speed of 112 miles per hour and can complete the standing quarter-mile in just 15.2 seconds. None of the engines on the 2022 Chevy Colorado can match this type of performance. The best performance you are going to get is on the Colorado with the available 3.6-liter V6 gas engine. When equipped with this engine, you can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.0 seconds, but with a top speed of only 99 miles per hour. This model can complete the standing quarter-mile in a respectable 15.5 seconds. These are figures that the Colorado with the standard 2.5-liter I-4 or the available Duramax Turbo-Diesel can’t come close to matching.

When it comes to fuel economy, the 2022 Nissan Frontier with its standard V6 gas engine and the 2022 Chevy Colorado with the available V6 are pretty comparable. Both will give you 19 miles per gallon combined when you choose a 4X4 drivetrain. The Colorado has a slight edge in other fuel economy figures, but that is to be expected with a four-cylinder or a diesel. The 2022 Colorado with the optional Turbo-Diesel gets the best fuel economy of any of the four engines on either truck but will cost you a premium to achieve those mileage numbers and is not particularly well-suited to everyday driving.

The standard I-4 gas engine on the bottom three trims of the 2022 Chevy Colorado gets slightly better fuel economy on either of the V6 gas engines on the Frontier and Colorado, but again the speed and acceleration leave a great deal to be desired. In addition, as we shall see, the Colorado with the I-4 gas engine reduces the trailering and payload capabilities of this truck.

A Difference in Capability

The 2022 Nissan Frontier comes with the choice between a 5-foot bed or a 6-foot bed. In addition, the Frontier can carry up to 1,610 pounds of cargo. Chevy also offers two different payload beds in the 2022 Colorado. However, the ability to carry cargo in your 2022 Colorado depends on the engine you choose for your truck. If you choose to go with the standard I-4 gas engine, you will find that the maximum your Colorado truck can carry is just 1,435 pounds. This increases slightly to 1,510 pounds if you go for the available Duramax Turbo-Diesel. The most capable Colorado when it comes to carrying cargo is the one with the available V6 gas engine, which can carry up to 1,550 pounds – still 60 pounds less than the Frontier with its standard 3.8-liter V6 engine.

You will see a similar result when you compare the two midsize pickup trucks with respect to towing capability. The 2022 Nissan Frontier can tow up to 6,720 pounds. This is significantly more than the standard 2022 Chevy Colorado with the I-4 engine, which can only tow up to 3,500 pounds. If you want to exceed these figures, you are going to have to pay extra on your Colorado to get either the 3.6-liter V6 engine, which can tow up to 7,000 pounds or the 2.8-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel, which increases towing capacity to 7,700 pounds. Once again, Chevy makes you pay a premium for performance on the 2022 Colorado.

A grey 2022 Nissan Frontier is shown from the side off-roading in the desert.

Why Pay Extra for What Comes Standard on the 2022 Frontier?

When you are headed out into the wilderness to explore a frontier, you want to know that you have come prepared. Nissan has made sure of this with the 2022 Frontier in giving drivers exceptional performance from a standard 3.8-liter V6 gas engine. This is not the case with the 2022 Chevy Colorado. The standard 2.5-liter I-4 is significantly underpowered, leading to underperformance in this midsize pickup truck.

In order to get the performance you need in your 2022 Colorado, you will have to pay extra for either the 3.6-liter V6 or the 2.8-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel. The only model that comes standard with the 3.6-liter V6 engine is the ZR2, and aside from a very high price tag, it is also designed for off-roading. If you are looking to use your truck for a different purpose with no intention of taking your truck off-roading, then you are just paying extra for equipment you don’t plan to use. By choosing a 2022 Nissan Frontier, you will come prepared no matter where you plan to go with your truck.

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