Are Auto Critics Wrong About the Second-Best-Selling Midsize Truck?

The 2022 Q1 sales report is in, and people are buying the wrong midsize pickup trucks. More specifically, a mediocre midsize pickup is ranked second in Q1 sales. How did that happen? Why are people buying this truck instead of more well-reviewed options in the same segment? According to Q1 sales for 2022, people prefer the 2022 Nissan Frontier to the Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, or Honda Ridgeline. Are auto critics wrong about the second best-selling midsize truck?

Could auto critics be wrong about the 2022 Nissan Frontier?

2022 Nissan Frontier is the second best-selling midsize truck, are critics wrong about the popular pickup?
The 2022 Nissan Frontier pickup truck | Nissan

According to TFL Truck, for 2022, the Nissan Frontier more than doubled its sales compared to Q1 in the previous year. That’s good enough to place it second for total sales behind only the ultra-popular Toyota Tacoma. Since the Tacoma has led the class of trucks for years, its first-place finish is no surprise. However, it’s surprising that the Frontier overtook the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, and Jeep Gladiator to step into the number two spot.

How did this happen? If you’re someone who researches vehicles thoroughly, you’ll find the Frontier far below most other midsize pickups on most ranking lists. However, consumers love something about the Nissan truck, so what happened? Is there something extraordinary that the Frontier reviewers are missing, or are they flat-out wrong about the second best-selling midsize truck?

Why did the Nissan Frontier outsell higher-ranked midsize pickups?

2022 Nissan Frontier is the second best-selling midsize truck, are critics wrong about the popular pickup?
2022 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

Firstly, the 2022 Nissan Frontier received a complete redesign for the new model year. At least for Q1, it’s common for redesigned models to see a spike in interest from consumers looking for the latest and greatest. Next, component shortages are negatively impacting pickup truck production. Nissan builds its midsize offering at the automaker’s Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant in Mississippi, USA. During Q1, customers purchased 22,405 Frontiers, while the Ford Ranger saw a sales decrease of -27%.

Just like the Ranger, every other midsize pickup truck declined in sales. The only model in this segment that saw a rise in sales is the Frontier, which is also the only redesigned model. Although the Tacoma sold 53,182 units in Q1 of 2022, that’s a -20% change from Q1 of 2021, during which Toyota sold 66,449 Tacomas. The Japanese automaker’s popular pickup still holds the lead by a wide margin but can’t afford to keep losing sales. However, it ranks even lower than the Frontier on Consumer Reports’ midsize pickup rankings.

ModelQ1 2022Q1 2021Change (%)
Toyota Tacoma53,18266,449-20.0%
General Motors *Combined*27,853*31,227*-10.8%
Nissan Frontier22,40510,780+107.8%
Chevy Colorado21,69324,083-9.9%
Jeep Gladiator17,91218,822-5%
Ford Ranger17,63924,166-27.0%
Honda Ridgeline9,18912,570-26.9%
GMC Canyon6,1607,144-13.8%
TFL Truck

The mediocre Nissan Frontier is the second best-selling midsize pickup

The 2022 Nissan Frontier is the fourth-best overall midsize pickup truck, according to Consumer Reports. Its score is just 54 out of 100, which leaves it off of CR’s recommended list. The Honda Ridgeline, Ford Ranger, and Hyundai Santa Cruz are ranked in front of the Frontier. According to CR, the Ridgeline and Ranger are the best midsize pickups.

Why isn’t anyone buying the highest-ranked midsize pickup trucks? Only the GMC Canyon sold fewer units than Honda’s offering, despite being the best overall midsize truck. Additionally, the Ranger is fifth on the list for Q1 sales, despite its second-place ranking for quality. All signs point to consumers wanting new and redesigned models over outdated ones that look the same.

Will the second best-selling midsize truck continue proving critics wrong?

RELATED: 3 Reasons the 2022 Nissan Frontier is Better Than the 2022 Ford Maverick

Usually, the excitement of a brand new or redesigned vehicle dies down toward the end of Q1. There’s no telling what will happen, but Frontier sales will likely drop a significant amount. Moreover, reviewers have spent enough time with 2022 models that consumers begin trusting their opinions. That means well-reviewed models like the Honda Ridgeline and Ford Ranger could see a rise in sales for Q2. That is, of course, if the automakers can ramp up production.

In conclusion, reviews can be deceiving if you’re in the market for a midsize pickup truck. According to many reviewers, Nissan’s offering has an excellent off-road model, a tough-looking redesign but is overall an average pickup. In short, the 2022 Nissan Frontier is fine, but consumers like it much better than the 2021 model. However, pickups like the Honda Ridgeline excel in many more ways and are often compared to luxury interiors. Based on Q1 2022 sales, it seems like critics are wrong about the second best-selling midsize truck.

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