New Nissan Frontier Debuts In North America

This new Nissan Frontier might not be totally new, but it is a significant revamp over its now 15-year-old predecessor. 

Aside from the launch of the all-new Pathfinder, Nissan has also launched a new version of its Frontier pickup truck over in North America. 

While this refresh is essentially just a new body draped over (significantly reworked but) the same underpinnings as the current model, this is nevertheless a welcome revamp for the mid-sized truck. This is especially considering that the outgoing Frontier is over 15 year old. 

Starting with that new body first, the new Frontier sports a new squarer, chunkier exterior aesthetic that makes it look like a meaner version of the new Navara. This is clearly seen from just the front end as this North American Nissan pickup features a more slab-sided nose than its Australasian alternative. 

The chunkiness continues down the side too with well-defined square fenders that gives it that macho look. A look that is further complimented by the Navara-esque rear end redesign, with new rear lights, tailgate and rear bumper. 

Moving inside, the new Frontier sports a markably improved cabin over its outgoing iteration with a complete interior redesign and material upgrade. Nissan too has equipped this new pickup with a reasonable amount of standard features which includes zero-gravity front seats, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8-inch central infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. 

To add to that, available on the options list is a larger 9-inch central infotainment unit, as well as heated steering wheel and front seats, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a nine-speaker Fender audio system and a wireless charging pad for those who really want to trick out their truck. The Frontier is also available with a 360º surround view camera and Intelligent Cruise Control as an option, though happily Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 basic suite of active safety aides and 8 airbags are standard on this new pickup. 

In terms of configurations, the variants available with this new Frontier is much the same as the outgoing model, with the usual variety of cab sizes, bed lengths and trim levels. What is however getting some hype in this department would be the top-of-the line Pro-X and Pro-4X models. 

Both variants gain LED headlights and fog lights, a blacked out front grille with Lava Red accents, as well as bespoke 17-inch alloys wrapped in all-terrain tyres over the standard trim levels. Though it is only the top-tier 4WD-equipped Pro-4X that features some off-road specific components over its 2WD Pro-X counterpart like an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers and underbody skid plates. 

As for the powertrain meanwhile, bolted onto the well-proven underpinnings of the new Frontier is a 3.8 litre naturally aspirated V6 that is rated at a ‘best-in-class’ 310 hp and 381 Nm of torque. Incidentally a carryover unit from the 2020 refresh of this Nissan pickup, this sole engine option is mated to a nine speed automatic transmission which sends power to either the rear wheels only or all four wheels through a largely unchanged shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive system. 

Nevertheless, while the powertrain remains the same, Nissan has made some rather worthwhile tweaks to the chassis to drag it to conform with modern expectations. New hydraulic cab mounts and additional insulation should up the interior refinement of this Frontier, while a larger front stabiliser bar, a new rear stabiliser bar and a reworked hydraulic power steering system should improve its on-road driving feel. 

Speaking of on-road driving feel, there could actually be a way to improve it even further as Nissan has also announced that it will be launching a range of accessories for the new Frontier. These range from fairly mundane things like sports bar, off-road step rails with removable steps and off-road auxiliary lighting to the extravagant like ladder racks, tents and even a Nismo suspension kit. 

No official pricing has yet been officially announced yet, but the new Frontier is slated to cost from $30,000 (RM 120,000) to around $40,000 (RM 160,000) depending on trim level when it eventually goes on sale in summer of 2021. As for Malaysians however looking forward to a new Nissan truck, the newly launched next-gen Navara should be here sometime within the next year or two. 

PRESS RELEASE: Nissan today unveiled the all-new 2022 Nissan Frontier midsized truck, set to go on sale in the U.S. this summer.

With more than six decades of experience bringing compact and midsize trucks to U.S. customers, the all-new 2022 Nissan Frontier brings the power, capability, utility, maneuverability and technology that drivers need to take on both weekday work and weekend adventures.

As a key driver for the Nissan NEXT transformation plan to prioritize sustainable growth and profitability, Nissan is transforming its product lineup in the U.S. – having revealed 10 new products coming within 20 months, including the Frontier today.

Aggressively imposing exterior design

The all-new Frontier design combines aggressive, modern style with elements inspired by the iconic Nissan Hardbody, a truck that burnished its rough and rugged reputation winning off-road races in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Frontier features a powerful front end with a massive grille and chiseled hood, framed by new precision interlocking headlights. A wide, elevated stance and massive vertical fenders evoke durability and strength, accentuated by a high eye-point and high shoulder bodysides – where natural light and shadows meet.

In the rear, precision lighting features a machined, structural look, with the lamps appearing to clamp to the body sides. The muscular rear fenders combine with the rear bumper for an athletic, uncompromising stance.

Body colors such as Tactical Green Metallic offer a new, yet familiar, perspective – inspired by tech-savvy backcountry gear. Another example, Boulder Grey Pearl, helps accentuate the Frontier’s exterior form and pairs well with bold accent colors.

And for an even more aggressive look, the specially-equipped 4WD-only Frontier PRO-4X and new-for-2022 2WD-only Frontier PRO-X feature LED headlamps, LED Daytime Running Lights, LED fog lights and Lava Red grille accents.

Confident capability

Building on a proven chassis and frame – one of the most durable in the mid-size truck segment with multiple industry quality and durability awards – the engineering team refined and tuned the powertrain, steering and suspension with a focus on the demands of U.S. truck owners.

The standard 310-horsepower 3.8-liter direct injection V6 engine, which was all-new for 2020 with 93% new or redesigned parts, offers best-in-class horsepower. Torque is rated at 281 lb-ft.

Matched to the engine is a 9-speed automatic transmission designed to maximize efficiency and provide strong acceleration. With an expanded lockup area, a new high-response electro-hydraulic system, long input shaft and a 99% wider gear range (versus the previous Frontier 5-speed design), the transmission offers quick, crisp and direct shift response throughout the entire gear range.

Nissan also retuned Frontier’s hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering gear for 2022 to provide better on-center feel, reducing driver fatigue on long trips. Steering gear ratio has been increased by 16%, leading to a faster response with less steering effort.

The Frontier’s front and rear suspensions offer best-level ride and handling both on- and off-road. New hydraulic cab mounts reduce road vibration by 80%, while new urethane jounce bumpers – the only in class – provide improved damping for a smoother ride. In addition to a larger front stabilizer bar, a rear stabilizer bar reduces body roll and increases traction. Standard 4-wheel ABS disc brakes provide confident stopping power.

Frontier 4WD models feature a shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive system with 2WD/4HI/4LO modes operated by an electronically controlled part-time transfer case. Frontier 4WD models are available with a 4-wheel limited-slip system, which helps transfer power to the drive wheels with more grip on low traction surfaces. Hill Start Assist is standard on all models, and Hill Descent Control is standard on all 4WD models – helping adventurers safely climb and descend steep grades.

The PRO-4X model adds an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers and underbody skid plates for the most fierce of off-road adventurers.

Bed utility continues to be a strength for the Frontier, with an available high-utility bed that includes a factory-applied spray-on bedliner and Utili-track™ Channel System. The Utili-Track™ system provides ultimate cargo hauling flexibility through the use of three special “C” cross-section rails mounted in the bed. In addition, four fixed bed tie-down hooks help secure adventure gear of all shapes and sizes.

A dampened tailgate assist – new for 2022 – is standard on all models. Inside the bed, two standard stop lamp lights mounted on the back of the cab and two new available LED cargo bed lights make the all-new Frontier ready for any adventure, night or day.

The Frontier’s towing capacity is rated at up to 6,720 pounds (maximum, when properly equipped). New for 2022 is standard Trailer Sway Control, which detects sway and automatically applies the brakes to eliminate it for a more confident towing experience.

A protective, utility-centric interior

Seamlessly blending with the powerful new exterior, designers gave the all-new interior of the 2022 Frontier a feeling of protection and versatility with modern functionality.

Helping set the stage is an available, largest-in-class 9-inch color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ that are standard on all models. The new center stack is simplified and intuitive, allowing for a user-friendly experience for driver and passenger.

Further making life easier, a standard, largest-in-class 7.0-inch Advanced Driver Assist Display offers configurable information directly in front of the driver.

New trim, finishers and meter accents are inspired by adventure gear.

Addressing common customer needs, the Frontier provides 4.0 liters of center console storage – almost double that of most mid-size pickups – as well as 5.7 liters of rear-door-pocket storage and 6.5 liters of front-door-pocket storage. Storage is also provided at the top of the instrument panel.

Added insulation, improved rear carpet structure and new front-door acoustic laminated glass all reduce interior road noise. Standard Zero Gravity seats provide initial softness with lateral support to help reduce long-range driving fatigue.

An abundance of modern tech and safety features

A long list of advanced technology and safety features make each ride more confident, including five new class-exclusive features.

Wireless smartphone charging and NissanConnect® with WiFi Hotspot, available on PRO-4X/PRO-X models, keep driver and passengers connected. Standard on all models are two front USB ports (one Type-A, one Type-C), two front 12V outlets and Siri® Eyes Free. Two 110V outlets with 400-watt capability – one in the rear, one in the bed – are available on SV and PRO-X/PRO-4X models, allowing users to easily power a wide variety of indoor and outdoor accessories. Fender® Premium Audio with nine speakers is available on SV and PRO-X/PRO-4X grades.

The 2022 Frontier is the first application of Nissan Intelligent Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Off-Road Mode. Nissan was the first automaker to offer Around View Monitor, which creates a birds’ eye view by stitching together views from four cameras mounted on the outside of the vehicle.

The new Off-Road Mode available on the Frontier PRO-4X functions while the vehicle is moving forward at slow speeds and the 4WD system is in 4LO, ideal for negotiating tight trails without having an external spotter to avoid potential body scrapes or dents.

Available safety technology starts with Nissan Safety Shield® 360, featuring 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.

Class-exclusive Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Easy Fill Tire Alert are standard. Additional available features include Intelligent Cruise Control, class-exclusive Traffic Sign Recognition and Intelligent Driver Alertness. Rear Door Alert is standard on all models. The all-new Frontier features eight standard airbags.

A range of models and features

The 2022 Frontier King Cab is offered in 2WD and 4WD S and SV grades. The 2022 Frontier 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 provides the same rugged design touches as PRO-4X but does not include certain 4WD-related content (electronic locking differential, underbody skid plates). Seven option packages will be available.

A 5-foot bed is standard on all Crew Cab models, with a 6-foot bed optional on Crew Cab SV Long Wheelbase models. A 6-foot bed is also standard on all King Cab models.

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 – colors intended for fun and adventure. Interior color options include Charcoal, Sandstone and the PRO-4X/PRO-X’s Charcoal with Lava Red.

More than 85 Nissan and NISMO accessories are approved for the 2022 Frontier, including sports bar, off-road step rails with removable steps, NISMO suspension kit, off-road auxiliary lighting, ladder racks and tents. More accessories are in development, and additional details will be available closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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