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My mother, or anyone in my family, will tell you I’m a bit resistant to embracing change. It’s hard. The latest Nissan Frontier is designed for people like me.

With a TCC Rating of 5.6 out of 10, the 2022 Nissan Frontier outranks every direct mid-size pickup truck competitor on paper thanks to a fresh design and great dimensions, easy-to-use switches, and a strong V-6 engine. But it has a compromised back seat and packaging, useless optional side step rails, and lacks certain features at an expensive as-tested price of $46,965.

After spending a week hauling the family around in the slushy Minnesota weather here’s what I learned about the 2022 Nissan Frontier.

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

Hit: New enough, but still right-sized

Trucks keep growing, but the Frontier didn’t for this latest generation, which took 17 years to arrive. The latest Frontier isn’t completely new, just most of what you can see is, and the parts you can’t see have been upgraded or enhanced. This is the same routine Nissan pulled with the latest Pathfinder and it worked out great. With four full doors on its crew cab and a useful enough 59.5-inch standard length bed, the Frontier Pro-4X actually fit in my garage that was built in 1997. That’s a feat few pickups can achieve because they’ve all become so huge.

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

Miss: But packaging is compromised

The fact that the Frontier isn’t actually new does present some packaging inadequacies inside the cab as the wheelbase hasn’t changed (though overall length is up 5 inches). The back seat is still rated at 33 inches of legroom making it a tight, knees-up affair with a short bottom cushion and upright seat back. It is an uncomfortable place to be for an adult, and even my 6- and 8-year olds complained about the rear seat back. Though, headroom’s generous thanks to the roof liner being scalloped. The steering column tilts but does not telescope in the year 2022. I was able to get comfortable, but just barely, with the limited adjustment of the steering wheel. Your mileage may vary.

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

Hit: Thank you for the knobs and switches

In an era of touch panels and glossy black plastics, the Frontier sticks to the basics and keeps things simple. The climate control is operated by big buttons and knobs that can be adjusted while wearing gloves. Engaging the surround-view camera system is easy thanks to a button located front and center on the dashboard. The seat heater switches are rockers that provide a satisfying click when engaged. The rockers are borderline throwback and might be out of a parts bin from 20 years ago, but they work and the seat heaters will roast your bottom and backside in less time than it takes to drive a mile.

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

Miss: It is missing stuff

The 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system appears to be the same used in other newer Nissans, for better and worse, but it’s not. In the Frontier it’s lacking wireless Apple CarPlay. Nissan spokesperson Dan Passe told The Car Connection the lack of wireless CarPlay comes down to development schedules and the feature might come in future model years. Particularly annoying in Minnesota is the lack of a defroster on the rear window of the cab, a feature that’s on most Ford Rangers and is a standalone option for those that don’t have it. The cab lights are perplexing. There is no way to turn on all the interior lights of the cab at once without opening a door. Manually turning on all the front lights in the cab does not turn on the rears.

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

Hit: Strong V-6 engine

In an era of turbocharging in the name of power and efficiency, the traditionalists will appreciate the Frontier’s sole engine option: a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter V-6 with 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. It never wants for power, and pairs with the 9-speed automatic transmission. The entire setup feels much more modern, and better suited for the truck, with less drone than the V-6 powertrain in the Toyota Tacoma.

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab

Miss: Do not opt for the step rails

My truck was equipped with the optional $750 step rails. They get in the way. The truck isn’t high enough off the ground to need to use the step rails, but then there’s an awkward moment where you have to step over them to get into the truck, or use them and be too high. They also collect snow and dirt instantly.

For those who want a truck that looks like a truck, has a modern naturally-aspirated V-6 engine in a proven platform with modern technology, the 2022 Nissan Frontier hits the sweet spot.

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2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew Cab 4×4

Base price: $29,015, including $1,175 destination
Price as tested: $46,965
Powertrain: 310-hp 3.8-liter V-6, 9-speed automatic transmission, part-time four-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 17/22/19 mpg
The hits: Looks like a truck, easy-to-use controls, good size, strong V-6 engine
The misses: Missing features, uncomfortable rear seat

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