Can 2022 Nissan Frontier Once Again Be in the Mix?
Sixty-two years ago, Nissan, then known as Datsun, introduced the first compact pickup in the U.S. For 2o22, an all-new Frontier looks to reestablish its leadership in the mid-size ranks.
When Nissan brought the Datsun 220 compact pickup to America in 1959, it started a trend that has continued until today. While the entire segment grew from compact to mid-size, the innovations attributed to Nissan have included the first half-ton compact pickup, the first king-cab body, the first compact truck manufactured in America by an import brand, the first compact pickup with a crew cab, and more recently, the first mid-size with 310 horsepower in the 2020 Frontier.
It’s not surprising that with all the breakthroughs Nissan has had in mid-size pickups, that it would seek to regain its front-running status. What Nissan didn’t do was as important as what they did, which was to retain their heavy-duty, fully-boxed ladder frame. The 310 horsepower, 3.8-liter V6, introduced in 2020, offers 281 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission omits shifting for yourself, but Nissan is quick to point out that it has a 99 percent wider gear range than the previous Frontier’s 5-speed. Retuning the hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering for better driving feel and less fatigue, the gear ratio has been increased by 16 percent for faster response and less effort.
New cab mounts reduce road vibration by 80 percent, while class-exclusive urethane jounce bumpers provide improved damping. A larger front stabilizer bar is joined by a rear stabilizer bar to reduce body roll and increase traction. 4-wheel ABS disc brakes are standard on all Frontier models. 4WD Frontiers feature a shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive system with a part-time transfer case. An optional 4-wheel limited-slip transfers power to the drive wheels on low traction surfaces. Standard across the range is Hill Start Assist, and Hill Descent Control is standard on all 4WD trucks, to help climb and descend steep grades. PRO-4X Frontiers also have an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shocks, and skid plates for those venturing off-road.
Towing capacity is max rated up to 6,720 pounds, and for 2022, Trailer Sway Control, which detects sway and automatically applies the brakes for a better towing experience, is standard.
Modern design combined with elements that harken back to the iconic Nissan Hardbody is a winning look for the 2022 Frontier. Say what they will about the powerful front end, massive grille, chiseled hood, and interlocking headlights, the new Frontier is one I’d wheel. Its elevated stance provides plenty of clearance, and vertical fenders are less likely to contact unyielding surfaces. No doubt the 2022 Frontier could find a home in my garage. Too bad you’ll have to wait until sometime this summer for the Frontier to arrive at a Nissan dealer near you.