Is the 2022 Nissan Frontier a Good Truck? Here Are 6 Things We Like and 4 We Don’t

nissan-frontier-sv-4x4-2022-64-angle--blue--exterior.jpg 2022 Nissan Frontier SV 4x4 | photo by Christian Lantry

Seventeen years is a reasonable length of time for some products to go without a significant update — like, say, a hammer. For a vehicle, however, 17 years is an eternity and then some. And that’s exactly how long it’s been since Nissan has redesigned or even made notable changes to the Frontier pickup truck.

Related: 2022 Nissan Frontier Review: Massive Improvements for an Old Favorite

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2022 Nissan Frontier SV
13,738 mi.
Good Deal
2022 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
33,211 mi.
Good Deal

The good news is the reworked 2022 Frontier is a vastly improved truck by almost any measure. While not a complete redesign, it’s more capable, comfortable and better equipped, making it a thoroughly competitive truck; it’s also a better value and more capable choice than the aging Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado.

Worthy of mention is that Nissan opted to skip the increase in size that typically comes with a reworked pickup, choosing instead to keep the Frontier with the same footprint that makes it easier to maneuver, park and keep in a garage.

The downside of such a long overdue update is that bringing the Frontier into the modern era meant adding a lot of new technology and safety equipment, which doesn’t come cheap. New prices have taken a big step forward, too, amounting to almost a $9,000 increase.

There’s a lot to like about the 2022 Nissan Frontier, but there are a few things we’re not so happy about. For our in-depth analysis, check out Aaron Bragman’s full review in the link above. For a shorter version, see below for six things we like about the 2022 Frontier and four we don’t.

Things We Like

1. Interior Improvements

nissan-frontier-sv-4x4-2022-66-cockpit-shot--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg 2022 Nissan Frontier SV 4x4 | photo by Christian Lantry

The 2022 Frontier is a much-improved package all around, and some of the most notable upgrades are inside the cabin. The new interior has a much more contemporary look thanks to a big step up in material quality and feel. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and there are a lot of new storage options, including a huge console bin. Rear-seat room isn’t as spacious, but it’s competitive for the category. Perhaps most notable: The Frontier is amazingly quiet inside, and not just for a truck. There’s very little wind or road noise.

2. Ride and Handling

The Frontier’s ride is improved, too, and stands out with an exceptionally comfortable and refined feel for a small pickup. From behind the wheel, the Frontier feels confident and planted in normal driving. There’s more steering feel than with some competitors thanks to Nissan sticking with a hydraulic steering system instead of moving to electric power steering. The steering ratio has been quickened with the update, helping to make the truck feel nimbler in the turns.

3. Big Powertrain Improvements

nissan-frontier-sv-4x4-2022-60-angle--blue--exterior--front.jpg 2022 Nissan Frontier SV 4x4 | photo by Christian Lantry

The four-cylinder engine is gone, making the 310-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 introduced in 2020 the only engine in the 2022 Frontier. And a fine engine it is — powerful and with plenty of torque for towing and off-roading. Paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain is smooth, refined and has more grunt than the base engines of competitors, including the Ford Ranger.

4. Off-Road Capability

We spent some time off-road in the new Frontier and came away impressed. In Pro-4X trim, the Frontier easily handled steep rock faces and bounded over rough patches without complaint. Purists will appreciate that the Frontier does all of this without relying entirely on electronics, and instead gets by with a simple dial to select two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive high or low, and buttons to engage the electronic locking rear differential and hill descent control. All 4WD Frontiers get three steel skid plates, while the Pro-4X gets an additional aluminum one.

5. Ready to Tow

nissan-frontier-sv-4x4-2022-62-blue--exterior--profile.jpg 2022 Nissan Frontier SV 4x4 | photo by Christian Lantry

With its smooth and powerful V-6 and new tow mode to tweak settings as needed for best performance under load, the Frontier proved more than capable of hauling a 5,600-pound boat on our drive. Thanks to the engine and abundant midrange torque, the Frontier easily rose to the job. Maximum towing capacity is a hefty 6,720 pounds, but that requires sticking with a 2WD model. An integrated brake controller is not part of the package, but Nissan told us one will be offered as an add-on accessory.

6. Added Safety Features

The update brings a host of new standard safety features, including forward collision warning, trailer sway control, a driver awareness sensor and a rear door alert. The Safety Shield 360 suite of additional features is optional on all trims, adding lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic rear emergency braking, blind spot warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and automatic high beams.

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Things We Don’t Like

1. Control Complaints

nissan-frontier-2022-oem-02-center-stack-display--front-row--gps-navigation--interior.jpg 2022 Nissan Frontier SV 4x4 | photo by Christian Lantry

Even with all of its interior improvements, the new Frontier comes up short in a couple of areas. The steering wheel has no telescoping function, something we’ve come to take for granted. It does have a tilt adjustment, but fore and aft movement would make it more accommodating for drivers of various sizes. Another gripe is that some key controls are tucked away low on the left side of the dash, making it difficult to use them on the fly.

2. Cramped Rear Seat

One downside of Nissan maintaining the same dimensions of the old Frontier is that the backseat is short on space. Small rear doors don’t help, making it harder to get in and out. In fairness, rear-seat room really isn’t any worse than competitors like the Ford Ranger. If rear-seat room in a mid-size pickup is your priority, though, the Honda Ridgeline is really the only way to go.

3. Heavy Steering

nissan-frontier-pro-4x-2022-06-dynamic--exterior--front--tan.jpg 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X | photo by Christian Lantry

The old-school hydraulic power steering does provide better feel than an electric system, but it also takes more effort to turn the wheel. By any measure, the Frontier’s steering feels extremely heavy. It also means that the Frontier won’t be getting features like lane centering or semi-autonomous driving anytime soon (unless another update brings electric power steering).

4. Poor MPG

The Frontier’s powerful V-6 is key to its capability, but it’s less fuel-efficient than others in the class. The 2022 Frontier is rated at 18/24/20 mpg city/highway/combined with 2WD and 17/22/19 mpg with 4WD. That’s notably less than the Ford Ranger, which is EPA-rated at 21/26/23 mpg with 2WD and 20/24/22 mpg with 4WD. The V-6 Toyota Tacoma also edges out the Frontier, with an EPA-rated 19/24/21 mpg for 2WD models and 18/22/20 mpg with 4WD.

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