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Kelley Blue Book: The 2022 Nissan Frontier: This smaller work truck is versatile, with on- and off-road gumption

Pros

Chiseled new styling

Excellent V6 power (310 horsepower)

Not too big, not too small

Damped and lockable tailgate

Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

Two USB ports

Off-road Pro-4X model

Made in Canton, Mississippi

Cons

No luxurious SL

Updated chassis, not all-new

No 4-cylinder model

No manual transmission

What’s new?

The Nissan Frontier is new for 2022.

Price: The 2022 Nissan Frontier S starts at $28,340 for the King Cab 4×2 and $29,460 for the Crew Cab.

Just about everything is new in the 2022 Nissan Frontier, apart from the fully boxed ladder frame and the 3.8-liter V6/9-speed automatic powertrain, which made its debut last year in the 2021 Frontier.

The Frontier body is all-new, styled in California, and looking like it’s been chiseled from a single block. Nissan
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 wanted the new Frontier to be a modern interpretation of the original Hardbody pickup without being overtly retro. We think the company has succeeded, and although the sides of this compact midsize Nissan pickup are taller for a more muscular appearance, the bed floor – we’re happy to report – is the same height as before for easy loading. What’s more, the handsomely styled Frontier cab has been thoroughly improved with expected modern technologies like standard Apple
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CarPlay and Android Auto.

While the new Frontier has the same 126- and 140-inch wheelbases as before, the overall length is up by about 4.5 inches because of the truck’s more prominent nose. No worries, though: Despite this small increase in length, the Frontier still fits with ease in most garages.

The Nissan Frontier

Nissan

King Cab and Crew Cab models are available. A 6-foot bed is standard on the King Cab; a 5-footer comes on the Crew Cab. A 6-foot bed, though, can be ordered on the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab SV. As before, Frontier 4×2 and 4×4 models are available, the latter equipped with a shift-on-the-fly 2-speed transfer case. Max towing is 6,720 pounds, and Trailer Sway Control is standard.

Other improvements include hydraulic mounts for the cab that offer better road isolation, a locking, fully damped tailgate, and a new rack-and-pinion steering system with a faster ratio.

Competitors for the 2022 Nissan Frontier include the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford
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Ranger, GMC Canyon, and Toyota
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Tacoma. None exceed the Frontier’s standard 310 horsepower.

Check out: Electric trucks—how much can they tow? And how far?

2022 Nissan Frontier pricing

Pricing on the 2022 Nissan Frontier starts at $28,340 for the 4×2 King Cab. The 4×2 Crew Cab starts at $29,640. For 4×4 on either of those, add $3,000.

On the SV trim that adds a power-adjustable driver’s seat and Tow/Haul mode, we’re looking at $31,040 for the King Cab 4×2 and $32,440 for the Crew Cab 4×2. Again, add that $3,000 for the 4×4 feature.

Nissan offers a long-wheelbase that includes a 6-foot bed on the SV that’s an option but only on the Crew Cab model. (4×2: $34,340, 4×4: $37,340).

The Pro-X Crew Cab, ($34,770) a nod to Nissan’s Desert Runner, gives buyers some Bilstein shocks as well as off-road exterior and interior design elements, but only comes in a 4×2 configuration.

The top-of-the-line Pro-4X Crew Cab model has extra skidplates, an electronic locking rear differential for added traction, plus exterior and interior off-road design touches for $37,770.

The destination fee is $1,225.

Driving the 2022 Nissan Frontier

The 2022 Nissan Frontier’s 3.8-liter V6 (310 hp and 281 lb.-ft. of torque) has best-in-class power. It mates to a 9-speed automatic transmission that is a massive improvement over the previous 5-speed version.

This powertrain combination makes the Frontier extremely capable. Whether on- or off-road, the Frontier has the gumption to get out of a sticky situation. Climbing up steep terrain in the Pro-4X is easier with the added power.

The Frontier remains a true midsize truck. Its size makes it nicely maneuverable, whether making a hairpin turn off-road or getting into a tight parking spot. As some midsize trucks grow dangerously close to full-size territory, the Frontier remains a smaller work truck.

Thanks to a reworked suspension, the comfort in the ride quality of the Nissan Frontier far surpasses that not only of the previous model, but of some of the Frontier’s fiercest competitors.

Nissan returns to hydraulic steering here, too. This gives the steering-feel good weight and greatly diminishes the driver’s need for constant correction.

Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats make the ride in the cabin pleasant, especially for long trips. They’re also much more adjustable than the previous model’s. One negative, the steering wheel doesn’t have telescoping ability.

Max payload (1,610 pounds) and towing capacities (6,720 pounds) have both increased.

Over 41 new parts have been added to decrease cabin noise from the road, engine, and wind. The effort proves effective, as the ride doesn’t get loud and truck-like, even at speed on the highway.

What’s the gas mileage like in the 2022 Nissan Frontier? Estimates remain competitive among the midsize truck segment. The 4×2 models see 18 city/24 highway with a combined 20 mpg estimate. You take a slight hit with the 4×4 model. Numbers come in at 17 city/22 highway and combined 19 mpg.

Be sure to read: This is when you can hope for new car prices to start going down

Interior comfort

Inside the new Frontier, Nissan sought to blend a feeling of protection with versatility and modern functionality. Helping in this effort is a simplified and intuitive center stack capped by a large 9-inch touchscreen offering standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

There’s a ton of onboard storage. Specifically, the center console offers four liters of it, about double what’s found in most pickups. The Frontier doors also have large and handy pockets, and there’s even extra storage under the back seat.

Nissan also uses much more sound insulation in the new Frontier, which is made even more tranquil by thicker carpet, laminated acoustic side glass in the front doors, and new hydraulic cab mounts that reduce vibration by some 80 percent.

Also on duty are Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats. A good blend of softness and lateral support, they are designed to reduce long-trip driving fatigue.

Available interior colors include Charcoal and Sandstone. The Frontier Pro-4X and similar new Pro-X model (a 2WD model with the look of the Pro 4-X) get a Charcoal and Lava Red interior.

Exterior styling

Inspired by the original Nissan Hardbody pickup of the 1980s, the new 2022 Frontier has an aggressive, modern look with a bolder front end, prominent grille, and a chiseled hood. The high bodysides are intentional, to provide a sense of thickness and strength.

Prominent Frontier lettering appears on the grille and tailgate, while wide-set tires help to give this Nissan’s new pickup a planted stance. The black grille of the Pro-4X model looks especially sharp, and the rear of the new Frontier has a machined, structural look.

Available exterior colors on the 2022 Nissan Frontier include Tactical Green Metallic, inspired by backcountry gear, and Boulder Grey Pearl, which accentuates the handsome new shape. Other available colors on this Mississippi-built Nissan include: Glacier White, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Red Alert, Cardinal Red Metallic TriCoat, Deep Blue Pearl, and Baja Storm.

Favorite features

Pro-4X model
The Pro-4X isn’t a feature, we know, but this off-road-focused Frontier is loaded with many features we appreciate. These include an electronic limited-slip rear differential and Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, plus underbody skidplates and a black grille with Lava Red accents. The new Frontier Pro-X gets the look of the Pro-4X and Bilstein shocks, but it’s only 2-wheel drive (2WD).

Utili-Track Channel System
An available high-utility bed for the new 2022 Nissan Frontier includes the Utili-track Channel System. Three bed-mounted rails that are C-shaped in cross-section make it easy to secure cargo, aided by four fixed tie-down hooks.

You might like: The new 2022 Nissan Pathfinder takes a step back to its rugged roots

Standard features

All 2022 Nissan Frontiers are equipped with a direct-injected 3.8-liter V6 and a 9-speed automatic transmission. In addition to Apple
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CarPlay and Android Auto, standard fare on this midsize Nissan pickup includes two front USB ports (one Type-A, one Type-C) and a pair of 12-volt outlets.

Hill-start assist comes standard on all models, along with a forward-collision warning system, Trailer Sway Control, and a damped locking tailgate. Models with 4-wheel drive (4WD) get Hill Descent Control, which allows the Frontier to go down steep hills safely while managing its brakes autonomously. Other standard hardware includes Easy Fill Tire Alert, a handy system that toots the horn when you’re inflating the tires, and they’ve reached the recommended pressure.

Factory options

The Frontier has plenty of options. The Pro-X, Pro-4X, and SV models are available with two 400-watt outlets – one in the rear, one in the bed – that can power a variety of indoor and outdoor accessories.

The new 2022 Nissan Frontier also is available with Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging, and an Around-View monitor that stitches together views from four cameras to provide the driver with a handy bird’s eye view of the environment surrounding the vehicle. This helps to prevent dings in tight parking lots. And if you order the Frontier Pro-4X, it comes with a special Off-Road Mode that helps the truck keep moving while tackling a tough trail in low range without the aid of a spotter.

Nissan’s safety suite, called Safety Shield 360, also is available on the new Frontier. It includes automatic emergency braking (with pedestrian detection), blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking. If you want adaptive cruise control on your new Frontier, it can be ordered as well, just like Traffic Sign Recognition and a driver alertness monitor.

Option packages consist of:
A: The $990 Tech package (available on all trims) includes Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance features.
B: The Convenience package (SV, Pro only) includes a trailer hitch, spray-in bedliner, and heated mirrors, seats, and steering wheel for $1,990.
C: A Premium package (SV, Pro only) ($2,790) adds leather seats, a premium Fender audio system, and a moonroof.

ProPilot Assist, which in other Nissans provides some steering control on the highway, isn’t available on the Frontier because it doesn’t have an electrically assisted steering rack.

Nissan says more than 85 accessories (many from NISMO) have been approved for use on the 2022 Frontier.

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Engine and transmission

The 2022 Nissan Frontier comes with one engine: an aluminum-block 3.8-liter V6 that sends 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque to the wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission.

In peak horsepower, this Nissan engine compares favorably to smaller V6s employed by General Motors
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and Toyota.

3.8-liter V6
310 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
281lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (2WD), 17/22 mpg (4WD)

This story originally ran on KBB.com. 

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