Taco Tuesday: The 2021 Toyota Tacoma Still Crushes the 2022 Nissan Frontier

With the fresh release of the 2022 Nissan Frontier updates, other compact pickup trucks might feel a bit intimidated by all its fancy, well, newness. But is it actually better than favorites like the Toyota Tacoma? Have no fear Taco fans. In several ways, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma actually still crushes the 2022 Nissan Frontier.

A 2021 Toyota Tacoma parked on sand
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

The all-new Nissan Frontier has a welcome new style. It was in dire need of a serious makeover. For a few model years now, it’s been a little overlooked despite its standard V6 engine. It felt dated and old school.

Now, it’s received a full workup and emerged as a brand new compact pickup truck. For this week’s Taco Tuesday we will go over the new Nissan truck. Then we can see how it stacks up to the Taco.

The all-new Nissan Frontier

If you like the new look the Nissan Titan recently received then you’ll like the 2022 Nissan Frontier too. It looks completely modern. The styling is aggressive with a bold utilitarian air.

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It’s definitely taking some style notes from the ever-popular Tacoma. And we can’t say we blame Nissan for doing so. That said, the Nissan Frontier is purely Nissan and purely Frontier. It’s a brand new compact pickup truck that looks better than ever. In fact, with its flat hood and high fender shoulders, it’s a faint throwback.

But what’s under that sweet new exterior? The 3.8 liter V6 that Nissan gave the 2020 Frontier and promised to give us in its next model. This engine gets 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. Power to either two or four wheels is delivered through a nine-speed automatic transmission. In fact, it’s the same transmission employed by the Titan.

The interior also got a full-on makeover. Especially in the Pro-4X model, the 2022 Nissan Frontier is completely updated with new tech, and fun visual details everywhere. It’s obvious that Nissan is really trying to remind us that it does, in fact, exist within the world of pickup trucks.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma still crushes the 2022 Nissan Frontier

Although the all-new Nissan Frontier is an exciting new truck and does actually best the 2021 Toyota Tacoma in some areas, it’s still behind in some key areas. Namely, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma still wins in the areas of towing and payload capacity.

an all-new nissan frontier in the desert at dusk with the silhouette of a Joshua tree
2022 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

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According to AutoBlog, the 2022 Nissan Frontier tows up to 6,720 pounds while the 2021 Toyota Tacoma tows up to 6,800 pounds. In addition, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma hauls a payload of up to 1,685 pounds. The all-new Nissan Frontier can haul only 1,610 pounds.

Another Tacoma feature that dominates the new Frontier is its standard manual transmission. Very few new vehicles offer this option. However, many passionate drivers deeply appreciate it when a newer model still offers a manual transmission. While some may think there’s no need for a brand new compact pickup truck to have an available manual option, others view it as a dealbreaker.

A gray 2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition parked on brown dirt in front of green and brown mountains
2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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A brand new compact pickup truck

OK, I’ll admit it. Crushes may be a bit strong of a word here. Still, Taco fans can rejoice that their beloved Tacomas still reign supreme in certain areas against the all-new Nissan Frontier. On top of these marginal wins, the TRD Pro Tacoma is still the top dog when it comes to off-road prowess.

While the 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X looks tough, it still won’t beat the legendary Taco at its own game. Still, it is a brand new compact pickup truck with a compelling new design and welcome upgraded features. We are excited to test one and stack in up against the 2021 Toyota Tacoma models we’ve had the privilege of trying out.