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History of the Nissan Frontier

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2022 Nissan Frontier
The 2022 Nissan Frontier
Photo: Nissan

The Nissan Frontier entered the market in 1997 to help Nissan re-establish the brand as the pioneer of the compact truck market. Since then, Nissan has used the Frontier to bring a variety of new innovations to the compact truck segment, illustrating its ability to break new ground when it comes to a small pickup.

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Early history and updates

Like many vehicles, the Frontier was introduced to other markets outside of North America under a different name: the Navara. The new truck was made to replace the Nissan Hardbody truck that was slowly losing popularity in the U.S. and Canada. Even with a different name, the Frontier still had many of the same components as the Navara. This includes its various four-cylinder and V6 engines as well as the four- and five-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

By the year 2000, Nissan completely changed things in the compact pickup segment by introducing the first Crew Cab available on the small truck. Not long after, the Frontier entered its second generation in 2004 and stayed there until 2014 when it reached its third generation and more advanced updates like a blind-spot monitoring system and an Around View Monitor. The truck received a facelift in 2020 and introduced the Pro-4X off-roading trim.

A white 2000 Nissan Frontier parked in front of an auto body shop
A rare sighting of a 2000 Nissan Frontier
Photo: Jason Lawrence via CC

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Recent generation

For 2022, the Nissan Frontier is getting a standalone model in North America for the first time ever. That means many of the changes made to the truck will solely be for this market and won’t be shared with other countries. The latest iteration of the Frontier has been completely redesigned with a boxier front end, sleek LED lights, and more powerful performance. As of writing, the all-new 2022 Frontier boasts best-in-class 310 horsepower as well as the designation of being the first-ever Nissan to have Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Off-Road Mode.