2022 Nissan Frontier pickup finally packs some decent tech

Nissan's new pickup is here, and the 2022 Frontier brings a more rugged aesthetic along with a familiar engine. Landing alongside the similarly-new 2022 Pathfinder 3-row SUV, the revamped Frontier shares its sibling's burlier design language.

That means a bigger grille and more sculpted hood, while the vertical fenders have also been oversized to add to the beefier aesthetic. New headlamps have been added, while the rear light clusters have a machined look, Nissan says. The Frontier PRO-4X with 4WD, and the Frontier PRO-X with 2WD, will both have standard LED lighting front and rear, along with LED fog lights and Lava Red grille accents.

4WD versions of the 2022 Frontier get a shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive system, which supports 2WD/4HI/4LO modes with an electronically-controlled part-time transfer case. Optional is a 4-wheel limited-slip system, that can shift power around more dynamically depending on which wheel has most grip. Hill Start Assist is standard on all 2022 Frontier models, while Hill Descent Control is standard on 4WD pickups.

2022 Frontier PRO-4X models get an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, and underbody skid plates. All trims can be outfitted with a factory-applied spray-on bedliner and Nissan's Utili-track Channel System, with rails for easier cargo loading and securing. Dampened tailgate assist is standard, while two LED cargo bed lights are optional.

What's not changed is the engine. Nissan added the 3.8-liter V6 to the Frontier back in 2020, and this 2022 version of the pickup keeps its 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard too, along with a choice of 2WD or 4WD.

Towing capacity is up to 6,720 pounds, depending on configuration. Trailer Sway Control is standard now, as is a retuned hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering system for better on-center feel. Nissan also increased the steering gear ratio, for swifter responses with less effort.

Hydraulic cab mounts, meanwhile, help cut road vibration by up to 80-percent, Nissan claims. There's also a larger front stabilizer bar and a new rear stabilizer bar, for a cut in body roll.

Inside, Nissan's Zero Gravity seats are standard. A 9-inch touchscreen is optional; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The driver gets a 7-inch display along with analog gauges. All 2022 Frontier trims get two front USB ports – one Type-A, one Type-C – and two 12V outlets in the front. SV and PRO-X/PRO-4X trims can add a pair of 110V 400W outlets, one in the rear and one in the bed, as well as a Fender Premium Audio system.

Wireless phone charging and WiFi hotspot are available on the PRO-4X and PRO-X. All trims get tire pressure monitoring, forward collision warnings, and rear door alert, while Nissan Safety Shield 360 – with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, and Rear Automatic Braking – is optional. So, too, is intelligent cruise control and traffic sign recognition, plus the 360-degree camera. Sadly there's no option to add ProPILOT Assist, which combines adaptive cruise and lane-keeping.

For storage, there's 4-liters of center console cubbies, 5.7-liters of rear door pocket capacity, and 6.5-liters of front door pocket capacity. There'll be a 5-foot bed as standard on all Crew Cab models; a 6-foot bed will be optional on Crew Cab SV Long Wheelbase models, or standard on all King Cab models.

Nissan will offer the 2022 Frontier King Cab in 2WD and 4WD S and SV grades. The 2022 Frontier Crew Cab will come in 2WD and 4WD S, SV SWB (standard bed) and SV LWB (long bed) grades, along with the Crew Cab PRO-4X (4WD only) and 2022 PRO-X (2WD only). Seven option packages will be available, plus 85+ Nissan and NISMO accessories. That'll include off-road step rails, NISMO suspension, extra off-road lighting, and more.

Details on all that, along with pricing, will be confirmed closer to the 2022 Frontier's release, in summer 2021.