The 2022 Nissan Frontier has finally been officially revealed after months of leaks, pairing the new 310 horsepower 3.8-liter direct-injection V6 engine introduced on the outgoing pickup last year with a much-needed styling overhaul that makes the truck refreshingly unrecognizable, and definitely seem heftier.
The second-generation Frontier has been on sale in the U.S. since 2004 with minimal styling and drivetrain upgrades over the last 17 years. The 2020 model year didn’t get a major looks upgrade, but strangely, it did get the 310 horsepower, 281 lb-ft of torque 3.8-liter V6 found in this new next-generation Frontier. That same powertrain has now carried over to this third-generation, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The reasoning for that easy engine carryover between seemingly totally different generations of pickup truck is the third-gen shares most of its structural bones with the old Frontier. From bumper to bumper, it’s 4.7 inches longer totaling 210.2 inches. The width only increased by 0.2 inches and the available wheelbase options are all essentially identical. Designer Alfonso Albaisa confirmed the truck’s bed was “raised significantly” to better suit the desired design direction for the vehicle overhaul, though.
So while the cab and wheelbase will be nearly identical in size to the seemingly small (by today’s truck standards) second-gen Frontier, the additional five inches in length, raised bed and the new bold, flared styling will likely make it at least seem like something bigger. The Pro-4X model features a unique front bumper for better clearance, which makes the truck look taller in photos, as well.
The Pro-4X trim also features Bilstein shock absorbers, an electronic rear locking differential, underbody protection skid plates, Lava Orange color accents on the exterior and interior and a 360-degree off-roading camera that engages when the truck is in 4-low.
The plastic surgery involved on the frame of the old Frontier includes new hydraulic cab mounts on the frame and front and rear stabilizer bars with “urethane jounce bumpers” for improved ride quality and corner handling.
The 2022 Frontier can carry up to 1,610 pounds of payload or tow up to 6,720 pounds, which is almost dead-on to the current Toyota Tacoma’s figures, but it’s bested by other mid-size trucks like the Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger that can tow 7,000 pounds or more.
Nissan hasn’t announced pricing or fuel economy data for the new Frontier just yet. When it goes on sale this summer, we do know the Frontier will be available with four trims — S, SV, Pro-X and Pro-4X. The crew cab SV will be available with a 6.1-foot bed, which is standard on the King Cab S and SV trims, and there’s buyer’s choice of two- or four-wheel drive. All other trucks get a five-foot bed, and the Pro-4X trim is standard with four-wheel drive, of course.
If I stare long enough, I can see the soul of the old Frontier in the windows and doors of these photos. Godspeed to a good truck, and may this one dare to live up to the second-gen’s 17-year legacy.