The Nissan Frontier is currently the most senior compact pickup, but that's about to change significantly with the all-new 2022 Frontier set to go on sale this summer. It offers the most power in the class, standard 4x4, the largest screen in the segment, and a new off-road mode for the improved surround-view camera, combined with loads of standard driver aids.
Under that new hood is a 310 hp, 3.8L direct-injected V6, which offers 281 lb-ft and the most ponies in the class (though only a couple more than Colorado it easily outpaces the rest). That engine is backed with a nine-speed automatic, the same one found in the Titan; while the engine is all-new to Canada, it was offered in some markets in a 2020 Frontier that combined the old body and new engine.
It's a highly modified version of the previous all-boxed frame, with new suspension fitted for ride comfort and handling, as well as new cab mounts Nissan says cut vibration by 80 per cent. The 4x4 system offers 2-High/4-High/4-Low modes with an electronically controlled transfer case. A four-wheel limited-slip system helps move power to the wheels with grip and hill start assist and hill descent control are standard.
The bed gets deeper this year and includes a spray-on liner as well as a Utili-track channel system that helps to secure items in the back. The tailgate adds assist damping for opening and closing that Nissan says needs just a finger to open or close. Trailer sway control is standard, and the trucks can tow up to 6,590 lb.
While the old Frontier was fresh and rugged when it launched, the design looks downright sedate against more modern trucks, so Nissan has ramped up the aggression with the new one. A massive grille with a black surround on Pro 4X (body colour on others) jumps out at you, along with the interlocking headlights. At the back is a large stamped model name in the tailgate. Nissan designers said they wanted the truck's panels to look "thick", a word they used multiple times, implying toughness. Though it looks taller than before, the dimensions are mostly the same, including the wheelbase, with the nose growing around 100 mm longer.
The interior is also designed to look larger and wider, including the large hand-holds on the center console. The seat fabric is meant to look like a dirt bike spine protector, but everything you touch is soft instead of hard. The center console, Nissan says, is double the size of other compact trucks, and is accompanied by even larger door pockets and a cubby above the standard 8.0 (optional 9.0) inch touchscreen. That screen offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard.
The 2022 Frontier includes Nissan Safety Shield 360 with rear automatic braking, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure alert, and high-beam assist. Adaptive cruise control is also included. The available surround-view camera has moving object detection and an off-road mode that will stay on when the truck is at slow speeds in 4-Low to let you see around the truck on tight trails.
Nissan is offering the 2022 Frontier in King and Crew Cab versions in Canada, with the King Cab offered in S, SV, and Pro-4X grades (the latter not offered in the US) and the Crew Cab in long-box SV and short-box Pro-4X. Pro-4X is Nissan's off-road trim that includes an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein off-road dampers, and underbody skid plates to protect the sensitive bits. It also gets orange interior accents.
The 2022 Nissan Frontier is set to arrive in Canada this summer, with pricing, trim details, and fuel economy figures to follow. It will soon be Nissan's only pickup sold in Canada, with the Titan making its exit at the end of the current model year.