2022 Nissan Frontier Looks the Business In ’80s Hardbody Racing Livery
Nissan, your confidence is showing! The automaker fielded a last-generation Frontier pickup loaded with NISMO off-road upgrade parts and accessories with Team Wild Grace in the 2020 Rebelle Rally, an all-female off-road race through the desert and took fourth place. This is a competition loaded with prepped off-roaders and skilled pilots, so that was a pretty good showing. Nissan is sticking to its Rebelle-ious playbook this year and once again sending Team Wild Grace into the desert in a Frontier—only this time it’s the new-for-2022 Frontier, and it’s wearing one of the automaker’s most iconic racing liveries.
The red, white, and blue color scheme you see here (it’s a body wrap) originally graced the Nissan Hardbody racing pickups of the 1980s, as well as the rad Hardbody Desert Runner special-edition truck. We gotta say the livery looks incredible on the new Frontier, whose blocky styling lends itself to the angular design originally designed to suit the similarly blocky Hardbody.
Nissan has upgraded the Frontier, which began life as a Frontier Pro-4X variant, the most hardcore off-road version you can buy, with a NISMO off-road suspension kit with a 2-inch lift, NISMO-branded Axis wheels, 4-inch off-road lights on the hood, a NISMO exhaust, and what appear to be gnarlier tires than you get on the regular Pro-4X.
The truck will be driven by Lyn Woodward and Sedona Blinson over more than 1,500 miles of desert across Nevada, Arizona, and California. This is the longest off-road race in America, and it kicks off October 7 at the Hoover Dam and wraps up October 16 in California, at the Imperial Sand Dunes, when we’ll see whether Nissan’s competitive streak in the rally continues. Nissan says it is the only manufacturer to compete in every Rebelle Rally since the race’s inception in 2016.
2022 Nissan Frontier First Look: Finally Competitive
The new Frontier looks ready to take on the midsize pickup truck market.
The current Nissan Frontier has been around since the 2005 model year. Let that soak in for a moment. The current truck will have been around about 16 years when the ’22 Nissan Frontier hits dealerships later this summer. Not only is that an eternity in truck years, but it also holds the record for the longest time one truck has hung around in the modern era.
Even the ancient Toyota Tundra, which last received a meaningful update in 2007, is “only” 14 years old, and the first-generation Dodge Ram, which felt like a relic when it was finally replaced in ’94, was only around 13 years old. So, to put that in perspective, if you were born when the current-generation Frontier was released, you will be able to use the ’22 Nissan Frontier to take your driver’s license test in most states.
During that time there have been monumental shifts in the midsize market. Competitors have emerged, with some even leaving and returning, but the simple and durable Frontier has soldiered on, mostly untouched. (It did receive the ’22 Frontier’s fantastic 3.8L DOHC direct-injected V-6 and nine-speed automatic in 2020.)
It became the value leader in midsize trucks, and eventually the one without all the bells and whistles for the buyer that just wanted to hop in and go without all of the trappings of the modern-day automobile. It was this unique position that kept the Frontier in the sales charts, typically in the top five over the past several years and outpacing slower-selling competitors.
However, the competition has gotten fierce, and although the current Frontier has its niche, Nissan is long past due for a new Frontier. It needed to get this one right, and by the initial looks of it, Nissan nailed it.
We had a chance to preview the Frontier a year ago to give our input on the new truck, and we were immediately impressed. From the tough and burly stance to the Titan family design elements (we even see a little bit of the Titan Warrior concept), the Frontier we saw was unexpected. In a good way. The Frontier is muscular and well proportioned, and the new LED signature lighting and headlights looks fully modern (if not a little like a Ram).
The bedsides have been raised about 1.4 inches, giving the Frontier higher shoulders and approximately 10 percent more cargo volume. A spray-in bedliner, LED bed lighting, and Nissan’s Utili-track tie-down system, with aluminum cleats and rails on the sides and head of the bed, will be available.
Sizing of the new truck is almost exactly in line with the previous generation, making the Frontier a true midsize and not a truck trying to be a small full-size truck. This is going to be great for customers who are looking for maneuverability and garageability.
The Frontier carries the updated Nissan logo, and like the big brother Titan Pro-4X, Pro models get Lava Red accents on the badging and tow hooks.
The 2022 Nissan Frontier is our own special North American truck, not the global Navara. It uses an updated version of the current F-Alpha platform that underpins today’s Frontier (and Titan). This stout chassis already uses deep drawn and fully boxed frame rails (something Toyota still lacks to this day) with a proven double-wishbone front suspension and a durable solid axle and leaf sprung rear.
To improve handling and control, the suspension has been retuned with urethane jounces, and the Frontier features both front and rear sway bars now, along with twin-tube shocks. The Pro models get monotube Bilstein shocks. The rack-and-pinion steering system has been updated for better on-center feel and includes a 16 percent larger steering gear ratio for a quicker steering response with less effort.
Like the current truck, and unlike some of the competition, the 2022 Frontier keeps all of its vulnerable parts tucked out of harm’s way, above the bottom of the frame rail. The rear axle is a Dana 44-based model on the Pro models, and all models get four-wheel disc brakes.
The Frontier features a single drivetrain, the aforementioned 3.8L DOHC V-6 and JATCO nine-speed automatic that currently motivates today’s Frontier. Unfortunately, no manual transmission will be offered. With 310 hp, the Frontier will now have the best-in-class horsepower. Torque is competitive at 281 lb-ft. Of course, we’ve experienced the powertrain in today’s Frontier, which was introduced in 2020, and it is amazing how it elevates the older truck. Our expectations are that it will be exceptional in the new truck, as well.
As striking as the exterior design is, Nissan also did its homework to make the ’22 Frontier’s interior modern, comfortable, and functional. The goals were to bring the interior up to today’s expectations, quell NVH, reduce passenger fatigue, and make the storage areas as plentiful and as useful as possible.
The redesigned cabin looks great, easily one of the best interiors in the midsize market. It actually is upright, like a truck dash should be, and doesn’t look like it was cloned from the company’s small car fleet from the 2000s. The first thing that stands out is the 8-inch, or optional 9-inch, center screen that dominates the dash, well laid out controls, and lots of storage.
Most midsize trucks lack storage for everyday items, so the Nissan team focused on enlarging door pocket storage and increasing dash and console storage, with the new center console growing to a full 4.0 liters, almost double that of most midsize pickups. In crew cab models, the rear seats can either flip up or fold down, adding increased cargo carrying flexibility.
Noise and vibration have been targeted for reduction with the use of hydraulic cab mounts, which prevent 80 percent of vibrations from reaching the occupants. Laminated front door side glass quiets down wind noise, and an improved carpet structure also works to further isolate the Frontier interior from the outside world.
Nissan’s much lauded Zero Gravity seats (six-way powered for the driver) will please anyone in the front row, as will the heating option, and driver’s will appreciate a heated steering wheel.
Technology is everywhere and includes a 7-inch instrument cluster display for the driver and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection. Other tech includes an easily accessible wireless charging pad, available Wi-Fi hot spot functionality, two front USB ports (one A and one C), two rear USBs, two 12-volt outlets, and two 110V outlets with 400W capability in the rear and in the bed. A nine-speaker Fender Premium Audio system, similar to the system on the Titan, is also available.
Although we don’t have all of the numbers yet, we can tell you that the Frontier has a competitive maximum payload of 1,610 pounds, while max towing checks in a 6,720 pounds. Four-wheel-drive models will continue to use an electronic shift-on-the-fly part-time system with 2-Hi, 4-Hi, and 4-Lo settings and will be equipped with a four-wheel limited-slip system standard. Hill start assist is standard on all models, and hill descent control is standard on all four-wheel-drive models. The Pro-4X model adds an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, and underbody skidplates.
When it comes to safety, the Frontier comes packing. Available Nissan Safety Shield 360 on the Frontier includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high-beam assist and class-exclusive rear automatic braking. Rear door alert, eight airbags, intelligent forward collision warning, and tire pressure monitoring system with easy fill tire alert are standard. For those who want to click all the boxes, the Frontier also offers intelligent cruise control, class-exclusive traffic sign recognition and intelligent driver alertness.
MODELS AND CONFIGURATIONS
The 2022 Nissan Frontier will be available in a King Cab with a 6-foot bed (S or SV grade), a Crew Cab with a 5-foot bed (S, SV, Pro-X, and Pro-4X), and a Crew Cab with a 6-foot bed (SV), in either two- or four-wheel drive.
The Pro-4X grade includes off-road-tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, full skidplating, electronic locking differential, LED lighting, 17-inch wheels with 32-inch tires, fender flares, Lava Red accents, and special interior trim. The Pro-X trim gives the same overall look as the Pro-4X, minus the four-wheel-drive hardware, rear locker, and skidplates.
Available exterior colors include Glacier White, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Red Alert, Cardinal Red Metallic TriCoat, Deep Blue Pearl, Baja Storm, Tactical Green Metallic, and Boulder Grey Pearl. Interior color options include Charcoal, Sandstone, and the Pro-4X/Pro-X’s Charcoal with Lava Red.
The Frontier is finally the exciting midsize option we’ve been waiting for. While the Pro-4X lines up nicely with the Tacoma TRD Off-Road, there isn’t a model in the lineup that is analogous to a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro yet. Our hopes and suspicions are that a top-dog NISMO model is still forthcoming, so stay tuned.
With this redesign, we think the ’22 Frontier is poised to be one of the best midsize trucks in the segment, and we look forward to seeing how it performs out in the wild when we finally get behind the wheel later this year.
2022 Nissan Frontier On Youtube
The 2022 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Is A Redesigned Off-Road Capable Compact Truck
2022 Nissan Frontier | First Drive
The 2022 Nissan Frontier has got a new design, looks more rugged and ready for action than the previous model and wow, I like this a lot. Worth the wait, I’d say.
The interior definitely is definitely going to make driving the Frontier much better. There’s a standard 8-inch touchscreen in here now with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can upgrade that to 9 inches. And the now 7-inch gauge cluster is customizable and much easier to see than it was before.
It’s modern and functional in here and finally feels like it can compete with the rest of the midsize segment’s formidable competition like the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, and Ford Ranger.
Under the Frontier’s new rugged exterior is only one powertrain, a 3.8-liter V6 that gets best-in-class power with 310 horses. That’s a boost up from 261 in the previous V6. And let me tell you, that extra power feels absolutely awesome when you’re trucking around.
The torque numbers are the same as with the previous V6 (281 lb-ft torque) but with the extra power that accompanies it, you feel as though you’re getting more grunt from this truck. It’s definitely working harder for you than it used to. Especially when you’re tackling some steep or technical terrain, you want that low part of the rev range to really deliver, and this new Frontier absolutely does.
The 9-speed automatic transmission works very well in the low gears. To me, the ratios feel well spaced and when I want to hold a gear a little longer or I know there’s some terrain coming up that the truck doesn’t, then I just shift myself. Again, the extra power allows the Frontier to drive some terrain that, in my opinion, the previous model never would have.
That added power also gets owners more towing capacity with a max of 6720 pounds in the 2WD version.
The thing I think I like the most about the Frontier is its size. It stayed small, it’s only a couple of inches longer in the nose because of the new grille, but because it’s a smaller truck it feels agile and easily maneuverable when you’re driving, even with the Crew Cab model.
I’m also going to call out the return to hydraulic steering. Nissan’s gone back to this system, and there’s a marked improvement. It’s got some great weight. And I’m not feeling a lot of trucky play in the center and it’s way more precise. I don’t feel like I’m having to correct as much as I used to in the last Frontier.
The suspension has also been reworked.
But how do those things translate when you’re sitting behind the wheel? Visibility in the Frontier is good, but if you want extra safety assurances, then Nissan’s got you covered with some good driver assistance features including standard forward-collision warnings.
Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, their full suite of safety goodies is available as an option.
Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats are among my favorites in the industry, and they finally make their way into the Frontier, perhaps the first place they should have gone! These make for a more comfortable ride either on the road or off it.
One negative no telescoping on the steering wheel. Speaking of off-roading, 4×4 models, get some great features that help you out when you’re driving off the beaten path.
Both Hill Descent and Hill Start are standard on all 4×4 models. Both these systems are good and especially helpful if you’re new to being off-road.
The Pro-4x model gets a locking rear differential, and beefier Bilstein shocks, and more under-body armor for when you’re really in the rough stuff. Add that to the extra boost from the engine and you’re getting yourself a powerful and very useful off-road tool here.
For someone not interested in the whole off-road banana there’s a Pro-X version reminiscent of the Desert Runner that’s got some of the suspension parts of the 4X but is only rear-wheel drive.
One more new thing that I’m very excited about, a damped tailgate. Hey, it’s the little things that add up.
Pricing on the base 2022 Nissan Frontier starts at $27,840 (SV 4×2 King Cab) or $29,340 (SV 4×2 crew cab). Add about $3000 for the 4×4 versions of those. But you can spend close to $40,000 for the Pro-4X Crew Cab. In that spread there’s an option for a lot of different truck buyers.
There’s going to be more driving, more information, more thoughts, but for now, we feel like there’s a lot to be excited about with the new Nissan Frontier.
00:00 2022 Nissan Frontier
2:03 Driving Impressions
All-New 2022 Nissan Frontier | Hollywood Story
There’s almost nothing the rugged and ready Nissan Frontier can’t handle. Ride along as Brie Larson charges toward new frontiers. Find your frontier in the All-New, 2022 Nissan Frontier.
2022 Nissan Frontier On Picture