As part of its NEXT plan to roll out 10 new models over the next 20 months, Nissan has introduced its next-generation Pathfinder and Frontier.
The Pathfinder, Nissan’s original SUV has been a mainstay of the lineup since 1986 (when it was introduced as an ’87 model). Originally a tough, body-on-frame truck-based sport utility that offered part-time four-wheel drive, the Pathfinder transitioned into the crossover realm with its fourth-generation redesign for 2013.
This latest incarnation retains the unibody configuration, but Nissan has given it a bolder, more rugged look. Larger standard tires further convey the feeling of outdoor adventure and while the front fascia falls in line with Nissan’s latest corporate look, the three-slot grille pays homage to the original, square-rigged Pathfinder from the 1980s.
Under the hood, standard propulsion comes from a 284-horsepower 3.5-litre Direct Injection V6 with 259 lb-ft of torque. The engine is teamed with a new 9-speed automatic transmission, designed to provide smooth, effortless power delivery to all four wheels and solid driver confidence when accelerating, merging with traffic or climbing steeper grades.
All 2022 Pathfinder models feature Nissan’s new Intelligent 4WD with 7-position Drive and Terrain Mode Selector. The 4WD system features direct coupling, which allows torque transfer directly on the clutch pack using oil pressure, enabling constant, immediate take-off in low-traction situations. Mode selection—Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut and Tow—is displayed as a pop-up notification on the metre cluster.
A new dual-pinion electric power steering system combined with wide, 255 mm tires are designed to offer stable handling and sporty driving feel. Stability and confidence are bolstered by the Pathfinder’s front strut and rear independent multi-link suspension design with front and rear stabilizer bars and a 4-wheel disc brake system.
The 2022 Pathfinder, when properly equipped, can tow up to 6,000 lbs making it suitable for towing boats, ATVs, camp tents or trailers and a tow hitch with a harness. A Trailer Sway Control is standard.
The new, fifth-generation Pathfinder goes on sale in Canadian showrooms in the summer of 2021.
For more than 60 years, Nissan has been a significant player in the smaller pickup segment. It introduced the very first compact pickup to the U.S. in 1959 and over the years, Datsun and (later) Nissan branded pickups have become a regular fixture of the automotive landscape in North America.
For 2022 the Frontier, Nissan’s stalwart entry in the reinvigorated mid-size segment, has received its first major revamp since the 2005 model year.
It comes with a choice of two cab configurations, King Cab or Crew Cab and in Canada, is available in three different trim levels, S, SV and PRO-4X. The 2022 Frontier King Cab is offered in 4WD for all grades, in S, SV and PRO-4X grades, while Crew Cabs come as an SV or PRO-4X.
All Canadian market Frontiers, regardless of cab, bed and trim configurations come with standard part-time four-wheel drive (4WD).
A 5-foot bed is standard on the PRO-4X Crew Cab with a 6-foot bed standard on Crew Cab SV Long Wheelbase models. A 6-foot bed is also standard on all King Cab models.
In terms of styling, the 2022 model marks a significant departure from its predecessor. Bolder, more square-rigged sheet metal signifies the new model, with overtones of the popular late-1980s/early 1990s Hardbody which cemented the brand’s reputation in the 4×4 segment, reinforced by its visibility and success in off-road motorsports competition.
Power comes courtesy of a 3.8-litre V6, first introduced in 2020 on the previous-generation truck. Boasting 93 percent new or redesigned parts, it’s rated at 301 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque and teamed exclusively with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Underneath, the new Frontier still retains its proven (and sturdy) ladder frame; but features a revamped suspension that’s optimized for both on and off-road conditions, with retuned steering to improve on-centre feel and deliver a better response.
New cab mounts and urethane jounce bumpers have also been added to further reduce noise, vibration and harshness and deliver a smoother ride. Standard front and rear sway bars also aid in compliant handling and better on-road traction.
All 2022 Frontiers come standard with four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, while the shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel-drive system features 2WD/4 HI/4LO modes—electronically controlled by a part-time transfer case.
Additionally, the new Frontier offers a 4-wheel limited-slip system, designed to transfer power to the drive wheels with more grip on low traction surfaces. Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control are standard to help drivers navigate steeply ascending and descending grades.
The PRO-4X model adds an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers and underbody skid plates for added protection when traversing rougher terrain.
Bed utility continues to be a strength for the Frontier, with an available high-utility bed that includes a factory-applied spray-on bed liner and Utili-track Channel System. The Utili-Track system is designed to maximize cargo flexibility through the use of three special “C” cross-section rails mounted in the bed. In addition, four fixed bed tie-down hooks help secure adventure gear of all shapes and sizes.
New for the 2022 model is a dampened tailgate assist feature that’s standard on all models. Inside the bed, two standard stop lamp lights mounted on the back of the cab and two new available LED cargo bed lights to make the all-new Frontier ready for any adventure, night or day.
The Frontier’s towing capacity is rated at up to 6,490 pounds (2,944 kg) when properly equipped. New for 2022 is a standard Trailer Sway Control, which detects sway and automatically applies the brakes to eliminate it for a more confident towing experience.
Inside, some key features include a standard (and largest-in-class) 9-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A new, simplified centre stack is designed to provide better usability for both the driver and front passenger.
There’s also the largest-in-class 7.0-inch Advanced Driver Assist Display that offers configurable information directly in front of the driver.
Quieter, more versatile
Considering that many truck owners welcome interior cubby holes for storing things, the 2022 Frontier doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Inside, there are 4.0 litres of centre console storage—almost double that of most mid-size pickups—as well as 5.7 litres of rear-door-pocket storage and 6.5 litres of front-door-pocket storage. Storage is also provided at the top of the instrument panel.
Added insulation, improved rear carpet structure and new front-door acoustic laminated glass improve refinement and cut down interior road noise. Standard Zero Gravity seats are designed to combine initial softness with lateral support to help reduce driver fatigue on longer journeys.
In terms of safety and technology, the 2022 Frontier has a plethora of features, including five new class-exclusive features. These include:
Wireless smartphone charging and NissanConnect with WiFi Hotspot, standard on PRO-4X models, keep drivers and passengers connected. Standard on all models is two front USB ports (one Type-A, one Type-C), two front 12V outlets and Siri Eyes Free. Two 110 V outlets with 400-watt capability—one in the rear, one in the bed—are available on SV and standard on PRO-4X models, allowing users to easily power a wide variety of indoor and outdoor accessories. Fender Premium Audio with nine speakers is available on PRO-4X Crew Cab.
The 2022 Frontier also boasts the first application of Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Off-Road Mode. Additionally, Nissan was the first automaker to offer an Around View Monitor, which creates a birds’ eye view by stitching together views from four cameras mounted on the outside of the vehicle.
The new Off-Road Mode (which comes standard on the Frontier PRO-4X) functions while the vehicle is moving forward at slow speeds with the 4WD system operating in low-range—making it highly suitable for negotiating tight trails without needing an external spotter to avoid any exterior damage to the vehicle.
Standard safety technology includes eight standard airbags, as well as the Nissan Safety Shield 360, featuring Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and class-exclusive Rear Automatic Braking.
There’s also a class-exclusive, standard Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Easy Fill Tire Alert. Additional features include class-exclusive Traffic Sign Recognition and standard Intelligent Cruise Control, and standard Intelligent Driver Alertness. Rear Door Alert is standard on all models.
Like the Pathfinder, the 2022 Nissan Frontier goes on sale this summer.