2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
It was bad news when Nissan decided to end the production of the Titan, which was an underrated and underappreciated full-size truck. Many people thought Nissan is just pulling out from the truck segment completely after Titan’s departure. However, it seems like Nissan didn’t give up with the truck segment, this time they updated their mid-size entry, the Frontier.
Nissan Frontier has been on the market since the beginning of 2000s, and mid-size truck segment was not as popular as full-size until few years ago. Now, with the addition of new entries in mid-size truck segment, it has been getting more competitive than ever.
The original Frontier wasn’t known as a popular mid-size truck, as it aimed more towards commercial fleets. With the new generation, it feels much more modern and refined in every possible way, it has to do many things good to be able to compete as mid-size trucks have been gaining popularity in the last few years.
Exterior and Interior
2022 Nissan Frontier carries the same design language of modern Nissan SUVs, and I think it is the best looking mid-size truck. It has bold and rugged lines all around the truck, and Pro-4X version comes with extra features that makes it look even more rugged, as it is meant for off-roading.
The front end has nice and sharp body lines with a huge blacked out grille and “Frontier” badge. Pro-4X trim also offers skid plate in the front as well as red tow hooks. As expected from an off-road oriented truck, it has unpainted fender flares and tons of ground clearance for all types of terrain.
From the side, new Nissan Frontier looks like a traditional truck. Pro-4X trim comes with both Crew Cab and King Cab option. Our tester is the Crew Cab, and it is quite long even it’s just a mid-size truck. Pro-4X trim comes with special 17″ dual color rims and all terrain tires.
The rear end looks like a traditional truck. Nissan wants to make sure that you are driving a Frontier with huge fonts in the rear. Unlike more expensive full size trucks, you don’t get any kind of comfort or luxury features. However, 5ft Bed comes with spray-in bed liner and locking tailgate with opening and closure assist.
Like the exterior, interior has a lot of traditional Nissan parts and design elements. As soon as I get behind the wheel, I immediately realize Nissan used a lot of common parts, especially from the Titan. Especially the steering wheel, gauge cluster, and the infotainment system will look familiar if you are coming from another modern Nissan product.
I personally like the overall design, you may not get the highest quality in terms of material choice, but Nissan did a good job hiding hard plastics, and used soft-touch and leather parts where you touch on a regular basis. I am not a fan of glossy black plastic trim near the shifter and steering wheel.
I like the overall dashboard layout, as you get a lot of versatility and it has lots of physical buttons that feel very solid, but what I like even more that the seats. It’s perfect for my body shape, and you feel absolutely no fatigue. Nissan didn’t advertise it as “Zero Gravity” seats, but it feels pretty close. Pro-4X trim comes with special cloth seats, but you can get the optional leather seats if you want to have more luxury feeling.
The rear seats surprisingly have good amount of rear legroom and tons of headroom, of course you will not get comfort features as it is really not meant for comfort in the rear seats. You still get an armrest with two cupholders, and that’s pretty much what you should expect from a mid-size truck.
Engine and Drivetrain
2022 Nissan Frontier comes with only one engine and transmission option. It has 3.8 liter V6 naturally aspirated engine that puts out 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque which is one of the best in this segment. The engine is matched with 9-Speed torque converted automatic transmission that is also used in other big Nissan SUVs.
As you expect from a modern truck, it comes with a Four Wheel Drive system, but being Pro-4X trim makes it more serious off-roader. All Frontiers come with2-speed Electronic Transfer case with 4-HI and 4-LO gearing options, range selector, but if you want limited rear slip differential for extra off-road capability, you have to go with Pro-4X.
Driving Impressions and Features
Before even driving the new Frontier, I am really impressed with the exterior looks, and it is definitely head turner for truck people. Nissan definitely did a great job redesigning the Frontier, it definitely looks very upscale and I think it is by far the best looking mid-size truck of 2021.
Despite its relatively small size, the Frontier feels more like a full-size truck when you get behind the wheel. As it uses a lot of common parts from the Titan, which was the full-size truck, this definitely has similar feeling. I like the seating position but the steering wheel adjustment range is pretty limited.
I am glad that Nissan decided to use the traditional 9-Speed torque converted automatic transmission as it is quite smooth and it is a great match with the V6 engine. The 3.8 liter V6 engine does not want to rev too high, but it has a flat torque curve despite being a naturally aspirated engine, it likes to hang around 2000-4000 rpm range.
Although it does not come with paddle shifters, you can manually choose the gears from the shifter, but as you expect from a truck, it is pretty slow. You can also change gear ratio completely as it comes with 2-Speed transfer case, it shortens gear ratios quite a bit for hardcore off-roading.
It not only has a locking center differential for better off-road performance, but you can also electronically lock the rear differential for maximizing the grip, but unfortunately you cannot fully disable the stability control and you cannot lock the rear diff without switching to 4WD mode, I wish there was more flexibility.
Of course we have to talk about the towing, it is one of the most important factors to buy a truck. Although you don’t get as much towing capacity as full-size trucks, mid-size trucks are getting close. 2022 Nissan Frontier comes with decent amount of towing capacity of 6720 lbs but it is still a little bit behind of American entries such as the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado.
Pro-4X is not only the off-road oriented trim, but it’s also the top trim, therefore it comes with all available features available in the new Frontier. I should mention what could have been included, and the first one comes to mind is the lane centering feature. It comes with adaptive cruise control which works well, but without lane centering feature, it’s just not good enough.
Another missed opportunity is that there is no memory seat function, even as an option. I understand that it’d cost more, but having power seats without memory function is just pure inconvenience if multiple people with different sizes drive the Frontier on a daily basis. It takes forever to find the right position. It should be either fully manual or power seats with memory function.
If you are expecting Frontier to have SUV-like driving dynamics, you are wrong. It feels absolutely like a proper truck with body-on frame. The steering is heavy, it has tons of suspension travel, it feels wide and planted driving down the road, it almost feels like you are driving the Titan.
Pricing and the Verdict
The original Frontier dates back all the way back to 1960s, but it was just not very popular in North America. New generation Frontier is finally here, and there is a night and day difference compared to the previous generation. It not only offer modern features, but it’s also the best looking mid-size truck of 2021. I was personally not expecting a serious comeback, but Nissan did a great job with the new Frontier.
It may not have the best towing capacity, but it does everything quite well and one of the best well-rounded packages in the mid-size truck segment. 2022 Nissan Frontier starts at just below $40,000 CAD but if you need more rear legroom, base trim Crew Cab starts at $43,998. If you want the off-road capable Pro-4X trim, the price goes up to 47,498 CAD.
For more details – please visit www.nissan.ca