Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes
I can't remember the exact make of the first truck I ever drove. I do know it was a 1942 flatbed with a manual choke that needed to be pumped in conjunction with the gas pedal in order to start. My grandpa used it for gathering up hay bales and my job was to drive it slowly along the row of bales so they could be loaded on the truck. The interior smelled like dust and sweat.
I love pretty much everything about trucks, so I was eager for the chance to test out the new Nissan Frontier. In the interest of full disclosure, I need to report that my current personal truck is a 2006 Nissan Titan. It was top-of-the-line at the time with heated leather seats, a Rockford Fosgate sound system and power everything. After 15 years, I still love to drive it but I am a little envious of the touch screens and safety features on newer vehicles. I haven't been able to justify trading up, however, because it still runs and works great.
I drove the Nissan Frontier from Highland to Antelope Island. I also took it to Silver Lake Flat Reservoir in American For Canyon and then around town on my typical errands for a few days. I tested the PRO-4X model that's specifically designed to tackle rugged terrain.
Here are some of my observations.
Best-in-class standard horsepower
In search of a lower price point and improved mileage, most midsize trucks transitioned to four-cylinder engines as standard with a six-cylinder option available for a higher price. The 2022 Nissan Frontier elected to go with a 310-horsepower V6 engine in its base model.
As a truck guy, I'm all about extra power. Whether you are yanking a stump out of the ground with a chain or towing a trailer, it's nice to know your ride is going to surge forward when you step on the accelerator.
The Frontier's towing capacity maxes out at 6,720 pounds with a top payload of 1,610 pounds. While the numbers aren't enough for a heavy duty work truck, they should be enough to handle most recreational needs like towing a boat or a camp trailer.
It just looks good
"Its bold bodywork and adoption of popular technology could make it the new hotness. With a futuristic face and blistered fenders inspired by the original Nissan 'Hardbody' compact trucks, the freshly designed Frontier no longer looks like a blast from the past," states a review from Car and Driver.
Nissan trucks have a reputation for rugged stylishness and the new Nissan Frontier takes that to another level. If you want a truck that stands out, this one should do nicely.
Forbes Wheels reports, "The new Frontier has a high shoulder with body panels that jut upward to make the truck look lifted. That is accentuated by the shape of the wheel well cladding, headlights and tail lamps, which all push the eye upward. Taken in from a distance, the truck looks like it was milled from a solid block of metal."
Upgraded interior and display
While the interior is still identifiable as a Nissan, it is significantly upgraded. "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," states Cars.com. "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."
With age, I've learned to appreciate comfortable seats and those in the new Nissan Frontier certainly qualify. After several hours of driving, my back and legs still felt great. The Silver Flat Lake Road is extremely washboardy and the Frontier handled it at least as well as any other vehicle I've taken there.
The touch screen and infotainment system in the Nissan Frontier has all the features one would expect like Apple Car Play and Android Auto as well as voice recognition for audio and navigation, Siri Eyes Free and hands-free text-messaging assistant. The sound system was fabulous, by the way.
I liked the driver-selectable display that allows you to see the driver-assist system status, off-road data, navigation and audio system particulars, fuel economy, and other information. The PRO-4X offers a bird's-eye around-view monitor with moving object detection and an off-road mode. In 4WD low, there is a forward camera view that allows you to see rocks, ruts, logs and anything else that could be in the way when creeping through rough terrain.
Upgraded safety features come as an optional technology package for all Nissan Frontier trim levels. I'm a huge fan of today's available safety features and I would not dream of getting a new vehicle without them. If they save you from backing into a parking lot post or a minor fender bender, they easily cover their cost.
The available safety features for the Frontier include lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, rear park assist, rear automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Traffic sign recognition is an option on the PRO models.
The model I tested was a demo with no price sticker so I can't give you the exact cost of the vehicle I drove. JD Power reports, "Prices for the 2022 Nissan Frontier range from $27,840 for the base 2WD S trim King Cab/short-wheelbase configuration to $37,240 for the top-of-the-line 4WD PRO-4X Crew Cab version. Four-wheel drive is a $3,200 upcharge for King Cab S and SV trims, $3,000 for Crew Cab S and SV trims, and is standard with the PRO-4X. The destination charge has just increased to $1,175."
For anyone in the market for a mid-size truck, the Nissan Frontier warrants a personal test drive. Once you see it in person and experience the comfort, handling and power, it might just climb to the top of your Christmas wish list.