An all-new Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup for 2022 is likely to grab more than ordinary attention, because the truck has gone largely unchanged for the past 17 years.
Designers of the new Frontier drew exterior styling inspiration from the Nissan Hardbody trucks of the 1980s and 1990s, then added healthy doses of ruggedness and contemporary flair.
The 2022 Frontier isn’t a complete makeover from the ground up. Rather, it maintains the well-established benefits of the chassis, frame, and powertrain of the most recent Frontier model, and builds on them to enhance ride quality, cab refinement, utility and technology.
The 2022 Frontier is available in king cab and crew cab configuration. The king cab is offered in 2WD and 4WD S and SV grades. The crew cab is available in 2WD and 4WD S, SV SWB (standard bed) and SV LWB (long bed), along with the crew cab Pro-4X (4WD only) and new-for-2022 Pro-X (2WD only). The Pro-X grade has the same design features as Pro-4X but does not include some 4WD-related content, including electronic locking differential and underbody skid plates. Seven option packages are also available.
Base pricing starts at $29,015 for the king cab model and $30,515 for the crew cab. These figures include a $1,175 destination charge.
The 2022 Frontier engine compartment harbors a 3.8-liter V6 ready to unleash 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. Along with its partner, a nine-speed automatic transmission, it mobilizes the truck briskly and without strain, and can tow up to 6,720 pounds. New for 2022, trailer sway control is standard equipment.
Fuel economy ratings range from 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined, to 18/24/20 mpg.
My test truck was a handsome Cardinal Red-painted Frontier Pro-4X crew cab model with an MSRP of $38,390 including destination. A tech package ($990) added eight driver-assistance features (blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beams and rear automatic braking among them).
A convenience package ($1,990) seemed like a must-have: spray-in bedliner, 120V power outlets, wireless charger, 360-degree camera monitor, heated mirrors, heated steering wheel, heated front seats and more.
The spendiest $2,790 premium package could be considered a bit of overkill, though the 10-speaker Fender audio system it includes is enticing.
Interior design and the materials used in its construction are many notches above the previous Frontier. Stowage spaces are useful and abundant, including an area beneath the back seat. The standard infotainment system in the Pro-4X is an easy-to-use affair with a 9-inch touchscreen, navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi, and NissanConnect services. Physical knobs are included for volume and tuning controls.
The only thing amiss in the Frontier cab is the steering wheel that tilts but doesn’t telescope. There’s a lot of travel in the tilting, however, and it apparently cancels out the need for telescoping.
Nissan’s signature Zero Gravity front seats provide a lighter-than-air level of comfort in the truck’s nearly noiseless cab. Ride quality is compromised somewhat by the chunky all-terrain tires on the Pro-4X, but not enough to rile truck lovers fond of natural truck bounce, provided they don’t have any aches or pains made worse by the jouncing.
The Frontier Pro-4X four-wheel drive system has 2WD, 4HI and 4LO settings, with shift-on-the-fly capability between the first two, a much-appreciated feature when a downpour suddenly created sketchy road conditions during the test week. Not the extreme off-pavement environment the Pro-4X is designed to handle, but I’ll take it.
2022 NISSAN FRONTIER PRO-4X CREW CAB
Base price, including destination charge: $38,390
Price as driven: $44,315
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.
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