Car review: Nissan Frontier offers surprisingly smooth ride

A brief exchange between driver and passengers told much about the 2022 Nissan Frontier SV crew-cab pickup truck. The passenger asked the driver why he was driving so slowly on a busy interstate highway. “But I'm going 65 miles per hour,” the driver protested. Another passenger chimed in, “I was about to ask the same question. I can't believe this truck is so smooth and quiet.”

It's true. The Frontier, fully redesigned for the first time since the 2005 model year, is unexpectedly comfortable on the highway. While frost heaves, poorly maintained joints and some potholes elicit a sharp jolt, the compact pickup truck delivers a quiet, pleasant ride on pavement.

The Frontier competes with the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Ford Ranger in the compact pickup-truck segment. In recent years, excepting the COVID-19-related slump of 2020, Nissan has been moving about 75,000 Frontiers every year in the U.S. market, peaking at 86,926 in 2016. This year, it's around the middle of the pack.

In style, the redesigned Frontier has a more blocky, rugged look than its predecessor, and a more upscale interior. Like most automakers, Nissan provides multiple body styles, with king-cab and crew-cab passenger compartments, and long and short-bed versions. Rear-wheel and 4X4 drive systems are offered, as well as an off-road-ready Frontier called the PRO-X. The base rear-drive king cab starts at $31,040; the base crew cab, $31,810.

Setting the Frontier apart from most competitors is the standard 3.8-liter, 310-horsepower V-6 engine. Nissan discontinued the 4-cylinder version of the Frontier after the 2019 model year. Our test truck, a crew cab in SV trim, had a base price of $35,140 and sticker price, with options, destination and handling, of $43,105. The base price included 4X4 drive, 17-inch alloy wheels, 6-way power driver's seat, forward collision mitigation, tilt-only steering wheel, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, towing package and push-button start. The $990 Technology Package, available on all trims, adds lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems, rear cross-traffic alert, rear sonar system, intelligent cruise control, rear automatic braking and high-beam assist. Our truck came with the SV Convenience Package and SV Premium Package, which added a combined $4,780 and are available only with the Frontier SV and PRO-X. These two packages nudged our Frontier into the near-luxury category.

Equipped with the 310-horsepower engine and 9-speed shiftable automatic transmission, the truck is quite fast off the line and responds strongly at all speeds. Fuel economy is not dramatically worse than in competing trucks with 4-cylinder engines: 17 mpg city, 22 highway. We averaged 21.4 mpg in mostly highway driving. Thanks to its 21-gallon fuel tank, the Frontier has a range of more than 400 miles.

We were pleased with front-seat comfort and room, and the simplicity of the controls. Rear-seat knee room is tight, however, so drivers and front passengers need to edge forward to accommodate those in back. Towing capacity is 6,330 pounds.

More Information

2022 Nissan Frontier SV Crew Cab


Price: $43,105
Engine: 3.8-liter V-6, 310 horsepower, 281 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 9-speed shiftable automatic
Drive: 4X4
Weight: 4,644 lb.
Ground clearance: 9 in.
Suspension: independent double-wishbone front, overslung multi-leaf rear
Wheels: 17x7-in. machined alloy
Tires: P265/65R17 all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Bed length: 59.5 in.
Maximum payload: 1,290
Towing capacity: 6,330 lb.
Fuel capacity: 21 gallons
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Fuel type: regular unleaded gasoline

Crash-test data are not yet available on the new model. The 2020 model, the last one tested, received four out of five stars in government crash testing.

Steven Macoy (semacoy@gmail.com) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Brookfield, Conn.