A year and a half ago Nissan's design boss Alfonso Albaisa walked me out into a courtyard in Japan into a display not much different than this.
I was surrounded by all these new Nissans and more way ahead of their public debuts.
I almost didn't know where to look.
Yes, of course my eyes focused like laser beams on the new z, and then my gaze drifted on over to the re v. But then I closed my eyes on what probably should have been the most unassuming vehicle in the place.
And I couldn't stop looking at it.
Let me show you why.
This guy is the 2022 Nissan Frontier.
And I know what you're thinking.
Why amidst all that other cool, shiny, new stuff did I get so preoccupied with a humble pickup truck?
Well, for one thing, I happen to really like trucks.
Plus this one is super cool looking.
It's technical, it's muscular.
It just pops for me me in a way that today's other mid-sizers do not.
But I think it may have been something else to, the current frontier has been around since 2005.
It's almost old enough to vote.
Now, I don't know about you, but where I come from, that is called neglect.
And as you know, Nissan hasn't exactly been in the best health lately.
So if this new frontier is as good as it looks, and it can stand out in a sea of swoopy, or future Nissan products that I've never seen before, well, that strikes me as very important and as a very, very good sign.
So let's take a closer look.
Alright, so we always knew that this new frontier was going to look more contemporary than what came before it.
But that is shooting fish in a very small barrel.
But I gotta admit, I didn't expect it to look as tough or distinctive as this was a blocky upright nose marked out by these glaring LED headlights.
It's got an imposing look that.
The delivers full size presence on a mid size frame.
The subtle T shaped floating grill within a larger shell thing going on here.
Well it could have looked gimmicky or overwrought.
But it doesn't.
It looks mechanical, like a powerful engine is trying to get out.
Wouldn't it be cool if the inside part of this grill was mounted to the engine and vibrated like an old school shaker hood scoop?
Well, it doesn't but more on that engine in a minute.
Anyway, this pro forex is off road version looks even tougher because it's got a big old skid plate bookended by red painted toe hooks.
And then they're these beefy 265 by 70 Hancock alterations on 17 inch alloys peer into the wheel wells and you might be able to see this pro forex is Bilstein dampers.
The way these big fender flares rise up to meet the trailing edge of the headlamps.
In the clamshell hood is a particularly nice touch.
Move along to the side and the cab looks pretty similar to that of the outgoing frontier indeed overall dimensions aren't far off, it's just a little longer overall.
But you'll notice that this truck has a slight dip in the front window line, which should be helpful for when you're off roading and you're trying to spot objects that could scratch your paint.
This truck has a five foot bed but a sixer is also available.
Here's the typical billboard pro four x lettering that you'd expect on an off road model like this.
And although you can't see it those letters also mean that this truck has a rear locking diff.
The bed itself has LED lighting and an integrated real cleat system for tying down cargo.
The tailgate features the sort of big emboss letters comment on trucks today.
And this cut line here gives an otherwise flat surface and visual muscle.
While adding panel stiffness at the same time.
Alright, so there's nothing revolutionary going on outside, but I do really like the way this truck looks.
In fact, I think it's better looking than Toyota, Ford and General Motors.
So let's hop inside and see if they can do it inside too.
Alright, first impression time.
This is a much more up to date cabin than the frontier that's a dealer's today.
The dash is simple, it's blocky, and it's got a prominent touchscreen and these vertical air vents that I do like all the controls look intuitive and well laid out and I really liked the chunky door poles and the handles on the transmission tunnel.
This pro four X's love orange accents well they look great including the stitching and on the gauge Basil's I also really like the striped backrest patterns that look both technical and modern.
That touchscreen at nine inches.
It's the biggest in the class, and you can use it to check out Nissan's suite 360 degree camera system.
Well, that won't just help you in parking lots.
It also acts as a virtual spotter close in when you're off roading and you don't want to fry your oil pan on a rock The screen also gets you access to a Wi Fi hotspot, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which works with an optional 10 speaker Fender audio system.
There's a center console here with four litres of storage much bigger than most trucks this size and there's a wireless charge pad plus USB A and C ports.
And I appreciate that this doesn't have some sort of gimmicky electronic shifter, just a traditional lever so the rear seats look similar in size to before so those upright backrest well they're no surprise I did notice that the second rows door trims don't have the same orange inserts like the front's and that feels like Nissan has cheaped out just a little bit Overall, this is a good useful cabin, and I much prefer the seating position to the weird on the floor posture that the Tacoma makes you take.
If the zero gravity seats or anything like those found in other Nissan's Well, it should be all day comfortable in here.
In fact, this interior is totally competitive.
And in fact, I think it's better than what you can get in Chevy Colorado.
The Ford Ranger or the Tacoma that said, those are all aging trucks and this interior.
Well, it doesn't feel convincingly next generation to me.
What do I mean by that?
Well, this pro forex is a pretty high end model, but there's still no option box that you can check for a digital cluster.
There are no cooled seats.
The steering wheel doesn't telescope.
And there's also a lot of old switchgear in here.
Plus, some of the plastics don't seem particularly nice or hardwearing I can't help but wonder how modern the frontier is less expensive trims are gonna look without the colorful accents and this bigger screen.
I can hear you commenters right now.
Look, I get that this is a utilitarian vehicle and it is not a luxury car.
None of that stuff that I mentioned is a deal breaker but it also doesn't make the Nissan Frontier a clear front runner in the class.
It feels like the company's accounts took a look at the competition and said, let's make it about 10% better, instead of asking where all those other trucks are gonna be in the next few years, while Nissan wouldn't be driving the frontier until closer to what's on sale date We can still talk power training.
Under the hood is a 3.8 liter V six no forced induction here just good old free breathing natural aspiration, whipping up 310 horsepower and 281 pound feet of torque.
Both of those outputs handily best Toyota's v six.
Although the turbo four and the four delivers more torque at fewer reps I'm guessing this engine is gonna sound a lot better though and with a nine speed automatic [INAUDIBLE] from the pulse size Titan, it should be pretty fun to drive as well.
Nissan hasn't given us any performance index for this new model yet, but the company [INAUDIBLE] outpouring frontier with this all new power train for only a year or so.
Our man Craig Cold drove one of those and he said that it might be his favorite drive line in the segment.
So hopefully it's going to be even better here.
Interestingly, this truck also still keeps hydraulic power steering, which is better for field but not so much for fuel economy.
In any case, Nissan says that this truck can haul 6720 pounds or haul 16110 pounds in its bed.
Those numbers are all really solid, but they also don't break any new ground.
On the active safety front, Nissan isn't offering its clever pro-pilot assist, hands-on driving tech, that makes freeway commuting a lot easier.
However, the Frontier does gain some class-exclusive gear.
In addition to expected safety equipment, like automatic emergency breaking, lane keeping assist and blind spot warning, the Frontier gets automatic rear breaking to avoid parking lot fender benders, as well as street sign recognition.
That is good stuff.
In the end, good stuff really does seem to describe this 2022 Nissan Frontier.
It looks fantastic, It's got a burly v six powertrain and some tech features that you can't get anywhere else.
It may not rewrite the rulebook for midsize trucks, but it wouldn't surprise me if it ends up being the best in the segment.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going over there, and I'm going to geek out over that new z.