Can The NEW 2022 Nissan Frontier Replace The Benchmark For Midsized Trucks?
For as long as most Nissan enthusiasts can remember, the Nissan Frontier, or Navara in other parts of the world has looked the same in North America for the better part of 16-years, and from the redesign the previous generation wasn't all that much different to some. Nissan fans.., hold your applause, mid-sized truck fans, you may wanna sit down for this read!
With Nissan scaling back it's European market to focus on its U.S., Japan, and even Chinese markets. Nissan was already experiencing some internal issues pre-C-19 and even before that was already under a new strategic direction, one called an "operational performance plan" announced in May that's stated to go beyond repairing problems from ousted leader Carlos Ghosn's aggressive expansion drive. Nissan's struggles predate the recent global economic shutdown as Nissan noted its sales slumped severely in 2019.
A "do or die" plan in January of 2020 was loaded into the torpedo tube before fear of the global pandemic literally congealed automotive production and sales worldwide.
In pursuit of United States market share which lead to dramatic discounting and unfortunately led to a cheapened brand and even more so an unenchanted customer base Nissan admits. Under the new, three-year plan, Nissan aims to restore dealer ties, refresh lineups to regain pricing power with increased value. "This is not just a cost-cutting plan. We're rationalizing operations, re-prioritizing and refocusing our business to plant seeds for the future," a Nissan Spokesperson had said.
Looking at the menu options based upon value, not price, the Nissan Frontier for 2022 has us hungry for more!
Nissan engineers have had a lot of time to reflect on the new Frontier, sixteen-years or so playing with the new ideas and what has worked from the last revision and could be tweaked even better. The test drive you take will tell all but we're going to explore the things to notice and admire.
For the 2022 model year, the Frontier is virtually all new, a more aggressive styling that tantalizes the eyes, a now more powerful segment leading engine, and a grip full of new and exclusive features. Our ears perked up hearing the new Frontier heartbeat puts out 310 horsepower Gasoline, N/A, and now a segment leading engine that backs that with 281 foot-lbs of torque to put that power to the ground. We will like seeing that coupled with 33" or larger tires and some re-gearing with those numbers.
The Frontier's power is driven by way of an electronically controlled part-time transfer case in 4HI & 4LOW and out to all four wheels (on 4WD models) through a 9-speed automatic. Carrying over from the previous 2 Gen is the hydraulically controlled steering which Nissan has improved the steering ratio by 16% for quicker turns and maintaining the Frontiers amazing on-center feel.
As with any manufacture platform, there are several trim levels and options that will be available, we will be focused on the PRO-4X Crew cab shown here which usually hosts the gambit of options when it comes to creme-de-le-creme for the Nissan truck lineup.
Nissan states that the PRO-4X will feature a four-wheel limited slip, as would be expected but did not comment on how the operation of that system functions. The PRO-4X also receives; Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Decent Control (HDC), a rear electronic locking differential (RELD), equipped with Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, and under-body skid plates which we will also be excited to see what the industry will have in store for us to offer you.
Rounding off the outside is the equally and technology impressive vibrant interior. Should new buyers decide to go all out and opt in for the Intelligent Around View Monitor (IAVM) with the Moving Object Detection (MOD) with the Off-Road Mode, a birds eye view pops onto the nine-inch touchscreen in-dash display which ties in the four outside mounted cameras allowing you to watch everything needed while out with friends.
Speaking about the interior, Nissan migrated over their zero-gravity seats which are a great excuse for not wanting anything less. A large improvement on Nissans' behalf. They actually took all the customer suggestions to heart and mind when they made more use of the interior space of the Frontiers new interior. Six-Litres of center console space flanked by an additional 6.5-Litres of combined front map pocket space and 5.5 (combined) in the rear doors makes far better use of that unused real estate. The PRO-4X's interior rounds out some additional functionality offering 2-USB outlets, a pair of 12-volt power outlets, and yes.., count 2-110v outlets for additional AUX power sources. For the average person this is beyond acceptable for functionality.
Bringing in the rear end of the truck is plenty of opportunities for storage solutions which we will be on tap ready to assist you with and since the bed now comes factory equipped with its own perfectly textured spray-on bed liner, a Nissan pioneered feature we might add, the focus of your build can skip this step. It seems Nissan has also carried forward the solid three-sides of the bed with their special "C" shaped cross section rails for securing loads and or making use of one of the bed-racking kits we offer. Also in the bed you'll also note the four fixed position tie down cleats. And before you have to ask, Nissan says the new Frontier can tow up to 6,720 lbs.
Handsomely laid out with more than enough aggressive attitude to reinvigorate the Nissan Clans as a capable and competitively priced overlanding rig. Potentially, if the aftermarket gets on board in support, Toyota fans might get caught looking over in admiration until Toyota decides to take to pen & paper for the 4th Gen Tacoma revision. But we think with the new Nissan Frontier coming onto the outdoor stage, it may even bring some love and attention to the previous model even getting more attention.
Until it goes on sale allegedly in summer of 2021, we over here at 12° North can't wait to see the swell in the pond and watch the bobber's dip under..
All Photos: Nissan
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