A lot has changed in the automotive world in the 15 years since the Frontier was new, but the next generation Nissan mid-size pickup is—finally—almost here. Although we haven’t seen the new Nissan sans camouflage or gotten a glimpse of its updated interior—arguably one of the old truck’s worst attributes—we do know what’s going to be under the hood: a 310-hp V-6. The new engine and nine-speed automatic transmission have already been broken-in on the current-generation Frontier, but unless another option is made available, this powertrain won’t be able to compete with the hefty torque figures found on diesel-powered rivals such as the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Jeep Gladiator. Still, the next-gen Frontier will be a huge improvement as long it has a higher-quality interior and more contemporary technology.
What’s New for 2022?
We’ve been waiting for a new Nissan Frontier for years, and our patience will finally pay off when the all-new model is unveiled either later this year or early in 2021. We’ve confirmed that the new powertrain fitted to the outgoing version will power the upcoming mid-sizer. Just recently, we caught a heavily camouflaged prototype undergoing testing. Now it’s just a matter of time before Nissan officially pulls the cover off.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Nissan hasn’t said how much the new Frontier will cost or what trim levels will be offered, so we can only speculate on its base price, which should be slightly more than the truck’s current starting price of $27,885.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The next-gen Frontier will inherit Nissan’s new naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V-6, which just debuted on the current model. The engine generates 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission and rear- or four-wheel drive. While the 2020 Frontier Pro-4X we tested with the new powertrain didn’t show a marked improvement in performance over the engine-and-transmission it replaced, we’ll have to wait until we have an opportunity to drive the new Frontier before we can evaluate its performance and driving manners.
Towing and Payload Capacity
Since the current-generation Frontier has a max towing capacity of 6720 pounds and a max payload rating of 1450 pounds, we expect the forthcoming version to meet or exceed those figures.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Neither the EPA nor Nissan have announced fuel-economy estimates for the 2022 Frontier. Since we know it’ll have the same V-6 powertrain that motivates the current generation, there’s a good chance that the new one has similar government rating. That suggests it’ll earn up to 18 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. We’ll have to wait for the official figures to be released and for our chance to test the new Frontier on our 75-mph highway route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, before we can evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
There’s not much we know about the interior of the forthcoming Frontier. What’s for sure is that its design and material quality can only be an improvement over the outdated and plastic-laden cabin that the current generation hosts. The list of available features is expected to expand, too, since you can’t even get a heated steering wheel on the current version. Based on spy photos, we do know that the next Frontier will continue to be offered with an extended cab. A crew-cab model is also virtually a lock considering it’s typically the most popular pickup-truck configuration. Both body styles suggest that a short and long cargo bed should also be on the roster.
Infotainment and Connectivity
In order for the Frontier to challenge the rest of its mid-size rivals on the infotainment front, it’s going to need to offer a larger touchscreen and more standard features than the current generation. We expect the screen to measure at least 8.0 inches and the system to be available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We wouldn’t be surprised if a more powerful stereo, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless charging were offered, too. After all, all of these features can be found on the full-size Nissan Titan.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2022 Frontier hasn’t been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While the current-generation Frontier is totally devoid of driver-assistance technology, we expect Nissan to address that on the new truck. Key safety features will likely include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Nissan offers competitive limited and powertrain warranties compared with other mid-size pickup trucks. However, almost every competitor—apart from the Honda Ridgeline—also includes some type of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
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