David vs. Goliath: Can the 2022 Nissan Frontier Compete With the 2022 Toyota Tacoma?

The 2022 Nissan Frontier is redesigned and brings a lot to the table, but can it compete with the 2022 Toyota Tacoma? In a competitive segment, the midsize pickup truck needs a lot to compete with opponents at the top. None are bigger than the ultra-popular Tacoma, which has sold the most units for 16 years. Though all the upgrades are nice, can the Frontier compete, or are all the new features for naught?

What’s new with the 2022 Nissan Frontier?

2022 Nissan Frontier pickup truck with mountains in the background
2022 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

After more than a decade and a half, the third generation of Nissan Frontier has arrived. Though the frame still hasn’t changed since nearly 20 years ago, just about everything else is brand new. The 2022 Nissan Frontier looks a lot different, got a lot of upgrades, and costs more. It’s gained a bunch of standard features as well as capability upgrades for 2022.

The starting price of $29,015 for the bottom S model is a great entry point for a midsize truck. Nissan’s Pro-4X model gives it a lot more off-road capability, features, and a higher starting price. For the top trim level, you’ll be paying a minimum of $38,390.

What’s new with the 2022 Toyota Tacoma?

Gray 2022 Toyota Tacoma with mountains in the background
2022 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

For 2022, the lifted models are getting lifted even more. The Trail Edition and TRD Pro models each gained a half-inch in the rear for their lifts. Additionally, the front of the Trail Edition goes up 1.1-inches, and the TRD Pro model rises 1.5-inches. This of course helps both pickup truck models with approach angle, ground clearance, and more.

Next, the TRD Pro model received an exclusive paint color, Electric Lime. It also received a new TRD Pro logo on the sides of the bed as well as new graphics on the hood. The Trail Edition received a few new visual updates as well, including bronze 16-inch wheels and grille lettering.

2022 Nissan Frontier vs. Toyota Tacoma: off-roading

Yellow 2022 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with mountains in the background
2022 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Both of these vehicles have top trims aimed at perfecting driving in rough conditions. The Frontier Pro-4X model and Tacoma TRD Pro are both well-known for their off-road prowess. Which of the two will be a better option for the 2022 model year?

Specification2022 Nissan Frontier2022 Toyota Tacoma
Ground clearance9.4-inches9.4-inches
Approach/departure/breakover angle (degrees)32.3 / 23 / 19.632 / 23.5 / 21
SuspensionIndependent double-wishbone with Bilstein monotube shocksTRD Off-Road tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks
Locking differential?Electronically controlled locking rear differentialElectronically controlled locking rear differential
Terrain select/traction control?NoneCrawl Control with Multi-Terrain Select
Specs from Nissan/Toyota

Though each of these pickup trucks is capable and very similar, the Tacoma does provide more options. The electronic crawl control and multi-terrain selection give drivers the ability to choose their surfaces. This gives drivers the traction control they’ll need in some terrains and provide more safety. Though it doesn’t technically make the Tacoma any better for driving off-road, it does keep passengers safer.

What engines are available?

A 2022 Nissan Frontier pickup truck like this one was tested by Car and Driver
2022 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

The 2022 Nissan Frontier comes with a 3.8-liter V6 engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission. It has an available four-wheel drive, though it does not come standard. The engine makes the Frontier get an average of 18 city and 24 highway miles per gallon, which isn’t bad for a truck of this size. The lone engine option produces 310 horsepower and can help the Frontier tow 6,720 pounds.

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma has three different engine options. The first is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder, and the other two are both 3.5-liter V6 engines. The difference between the two V6 options is one is a direct-injection Atkinson-cycle engine and the other is a DOHC 24-valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle engine with VVT-iW and VVT-i. Both V6 engines are capable of making up to 268 horsepower, while the four-cylinder produces just 159. All Tacoma models max out their towing capacity at 6,400 pounds, according to the automaker.

Though the Toyota Tacoma still beats the Frontier in a few categories, Nissan’s redesigned offering is defintiely competitive. Off-road driving is so close between the two pickup trucks it’s difficult to pick a real winner. The multiple engine options of the Tacoma are a clear advantage, but the Frontier’s towing capability gives it the leg up. The midsize pickupt truck segment will continue to get more and more competitive. Next up is the Ford Ranger to be redesigned, attempting to take down these two strong opponents.

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