There's a new kid in town.
After nearly 17 years an all-new Nissan Frontier has arrived. Yes, it's seriously been that long and it's amazing Nissan managed to keep its midsize truck relevant as new rivals arrived. It just goes to show that Japanese automakers know how to build good trucks. With its rugged good looks inside and out, the 2022 Frontier presents an attractive offering to truck buyers, though the segment has become crowded in recent years.
The last time we were this excited for a traditional new midsize truck was the debut of the reborn Ford Ranger. New for the 2019 model year, the Ranger continues to impress, especially thanks to new variants like the off-road-focused Tremor. Not to be outdone, the new Frontier can also be equipped for serious adventures with the Pro-4X package. Both, however, come with impressive lists of standard features that makes them excellent daily drivers as well. Which one is right for you? Read on.
Nissan has only shown its new Frontier with the Pro-4X package and we very much like what we see. The angled appearance draws some inspiration from the old Hardbody pickup, but designers added plenty of new-age touches. Both 2WD and 4WD Pro-X versions come with standard LED headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights, and body accents.
The Ranger has optional LED units front and rear, as well as puddle lamps and cargo bed lighting. The Tremor further tacks on, among other things, recovery hooks, a Magnetic-painted grille, and optional body graphics. The Tremor package is only offered with the SuperCrew 4x4 configuration.
The Frontier can be had as a crew cab with a 5-foot bed or an extended cab with a 6-foot bed. Similarly, the Ranger SuperCab has a 6-foot bed while the SuperCrew boasts a 5-foot bed.
Nissan didn't take a bold interior approach and that's just fine. Overall styling influence comes from outdoor adventure gear. The truck comes standard with a best-in-class 9-inch color touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Drivers will also enjoy the 7-inch configurable gauge display. Some optional features include a WiFi hotspot, two 110-volt outlets with 400-watt capability, and a Fender Premium Audio system with nine speakers.
The Ranger has an optional 8-inch touchscreen and the latest Sync infotainment software, along with optional Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and WiFi connectivity. Buyers can also opt for a B&O Play premium audio system.
Frontier customers who crave off-roading will prefer the Pro-4X variant which adds an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, and underbody skid plates. Nissan also claims the truck's front and rear suspensions provide excellent handling on- and off-road due to new hydraulic cab mounts, urethane jounce bumpers, and larger front and rear stabilizer bars.
Without question, the Ranger Tremor is the off-roading enthusiast's choice (until a Ranger Raptor arrives, that is). The Tremor has a lifted suspension, redesigned front knuckles, Fox dampers, and specially-tuned shocks. A multi-leaf rear spring allows for increased wheel travel and engineers reduced anti-roll bar stiffness.
The Frontier has a maximum towing capacity of 6,720 pounds and standard Hill Descent Control on 4WD models, which also feature a shift-on-the-fly system with 2WD/4HI/4LO modes. A limited-slip system further improves power transfer to the wheels. The Ranger Tremor has four unique drive modes and Trail Control, skid plates, and a rear locking differential. It has a 7,500-pound towing capacity.
The 2022 Frontier comes standard with plenty of safety features such as Intelligent Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, and Intelligent Driver Alertness. A few optional systems include Nissan's excellent Safety Shield 360 suite that tacks on Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
The Ranger, however, comes standard with Automatic Emergency Braking. Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, a reverse sensing system, and Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control are optional. XLT and Lariat trims tack on a blind spot information system with trailer coverage. Frontier and Ranger buyers can also get puddle lamps lighting for the cargo bed for easier nighttime access.
The Frontier is powered by a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 with a total of 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, paired to 9-speed automatic transmission routing power to either the rear or all four wheels.
The Ranger also has just one engine option: the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder with 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of twist. A 10-speed automatic is the sole gearbox.
Neither automaker has released official performance times, but the Ranger has been clocked going from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds. Because the Frontier's V6 is carried over from last year, a decent sprint to 60 mph can be estimated at around 7.5 seconds.
Pricing for the 2022 Nissan Frontier has not been announced. Last year's model, however, began at $26,790 while the Pro-4X starts from $37,490. We don't expect drastic changes for the redesigned truck.
The Ford Ranger's starting price is slightly less at $24,820. Those who want the $4,290 Tremor Off-Road Package will first have to buy either the XLT or Lariat trims, priced from $28,870 and $32,910, respectively.
Truck brands have a long history of loyal customers who refuse to cross-shop. This isn't expected to change anytime soon. However, trucks, especially more garage-friendly midsize offerings such as these, have been attracting new shoppers to the segment in recent years that are not committed to any particular make or model. Other rivals in this segment include the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon corporate twins and the Toyota Tacoma. All three, however, are aging and updated versions are expected soon. There's also the Jeep Gladiator, but it's not considered a traditional truck because of its Wrangler-like styling, which isn't for everyone.