Nissan’s popular midsize truck has an all-new design for the 2022 model year. Just looking at the new Frontier, it’s clear that the exterior has been given a complete makeover, and if you get a chance to get behind the wheel and get a feel for how it handles, you’ll find plenty of exciting new features. But before you head out to a Nissan dealer for a test drive, let’s take a look at exactly what’s different for the 2022 Frontier.
Under the hood, the base engine is still the same. After all, it was a brand-new design for 2020, so the 3.8-litre V6 is still pretty fresh and offers 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. The suspension system, on the other hand, has been revised for the 2022 model to offer a smoother ride, whether you’re driving over potholes, rocks, or rough terrain.
New urethane jounce bumpers provide extra dampening while hydraulic cab mounts lessen the feel of road vibration significantly. The rear suspension’s leaf springs are placed over the axle instead of underneath, which means extra ground clearance. The Pro 4X trim, which is designed to handle off-roading, comes standard with Bilstein shock absorbers to give drivers control and comfort, even in extreme conditions.
The new exterior is partially inspired by the Nissan Hardbody, an iconic model that was known as an off-road racing vehicle in the 1980s and 1990s. But while the blistered fenders pay homage to Nissan’s history, the overall look of the Frontier’s face is futuristic, with a large grille, a bold hood, and precision interlocking headlights. The rear has precision lighting as well, which acts as both a practical feature and an addition to the overall aesthetic.
Two new body colours are available, both of which fit nicely with the tough, rugged look that the Frontier is going for. Tactical Green Metallic is inspired by outdoor gear and would fit in nicely at a campsite. Boulder Grey Pearl may not be particularly flashy, but it does accentuate the shape of the body, and it helps accent colours stand out.
The bed now features a dampened assist tailgate, so it will come down smoothly instead of landing with a thud. With available LED bed lights, you can load up cargo any time––day or night. An available spray-on bedliner features a non-skid surface to help keep things in place and is fade and weather-resistant, so it should hold up for a while, even with heavy use. The Utili-Track system lets you slide forged-aluminum cleats into just the right place, giving you plenty of flexibility when it comes to tying things down. Optional accessories like a tailgate audio system, a sliding bed extender, and a bed assist grip can also be mounted on the tracks, allowing you to place them anywhere and move them around easily.
The Frontier was due for an interior design overhaul, and the 2022 model delivers on all fronts. Higher quality trim pieces and more soft surfaces make the cabin feel cozier than the older version, which leaned a bit heavily on plastic. The colour display screen in the centre of the console is bigger than it used to be, which makes it easier to see at a glance.
But looks only get you so far; what really matters is how comfortable the interior is. The 2022 model adds a lot of new features that aim to keep drivers and passengers happy, even on longer drives. Heated seats and steering wheel are now available to help fight back against cold winter days. Remote engine start can also help with the temperature by letting you get the heat or air conditioning going before you even get to the truck. The new seats are called Zero Gravity and are designed not only to be soft but to provide support to keep back pain at bay. A few features (like extra insulation, front-door acoustic laminated glass, and a new rear carpet structure) work together to keep road noise out, making the cab nice and quiet.
Truck drivers tend to have a lot of stuff to keep track of, whether it’s tools of the trade or camping gear. Since not everything can withstand the elements or handle getting tossed around in the bed, it’s always good to have plenty of storage in the cabin. The new Frontier’s centre console alone has a 4.0-litre capacity, and while closed, it provides a nice flat surface for drivers who use their truck as a mobile workspace. On top of that, there are 6.5 litres of door pockets in the front and another 5.7 litres in the back. Plus, there’s a storage spot at the top of the instrument panel and removable storage trays under the back seats.
While the 2021 Frontier had no driver-assistance technology to speak of, the 2022 model offers a full suite of features. Some of these are pretty standard fare these days, like blind spot warning and lane departure warning, but others are less common or even class-exclusive. The Intelligent Around View Monitor shows drivers a virtual composite bird’s-eye view of the space around the truck, making it easier to parallel park without having to ask a passenger to hop out and help. If you’re backing out of a spot, rear automatic braking can detect large stationary objects and hit the brakes if you get too close. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning keeps an eye on the road up to two cars ahead and alerts you when one of them starts to slow down, so you have time to hit the brakes before it’s too late.
The beefy off-road trim has gotten its own set of new features that make it more capable and comfortable. In addition to the stabilizer bar it already had in the front, the 2022 PRO-4X also has one in the rear, which reduces body roll and gives you better traction. The transmission now features driver-selectable modes, making the truck more versatile and giving drivers more control. The off-road mode, in particular, can come in handy for maneuvering on tight trails where it can be tough to avoid scratches and dents.
Inside, the PRO-4X comes standard with wireless smartphone charging and a WiFi hotspot, so you can stay connected on the go. It also features two 110V outlets with a 400-watt capacity, so you aren’t limited to devices that can be plugged into a USB port. Audiophiles have the option to upgrade to a Fender Premium Audio system that features nine speakers.
If you want to go beyond the standard features, Nissan offers plenty of accessories that you can use to make the PRO-4X your own. In the bed, you can get a sport bar that gives you an extra brake light for increased visibility, plus bed lights to help you keep track of your cargo at night. Off-road step rails make the truck easier to access, while mudflaps give you another way to protect your vehicle from the elements.
Our Overall Impression
With changes big and small, the Nissan Frontier has been totally reimagined for the 2022 model year. While some long-time fans are sure to miss the nostalgic look and feel of the old version, enthusiasts with an interest in tech can get excited about novel features and class-exclusive elements that make this truck special. While some of the more advanced features are reserved for higher trims or optional add-ons, a lot of the changes come standard, putting them within reach of the average consumer. Overall, most drivers will probably be excited about this overhaul and the extra comfort, safety, and style it entails.