- Frontier concepts feature cool graphics backed up by legitimate hardware.
- They give Frontier shoppers and owners customization ideas.
Midsize pickup trucks are making a huge comeback, and the fully redesigned 2022 Nissan Frontier couldn't have debuted at a better time. To capitalize on the buzz around the new Frontier, Nissan rolled out three concepts leading into this year's Chicago Auto Show. There's one for each of the Frontier's three trim levels — S, SV and Pro-4X — and all are based on the crew-cab body style.
The first concept we're covering is the tamest of the bunch. The 72X Frontier is an homage to the wildly popular Datsun 720 pickup that was produced in the early 1980s. The body graphics are reminders of the stripes that were emblazoned on the Datsun 720 and reminiscent of the various OP, Hang Ten and Lightning Bolt T-shirts from the era.
The 72X Frontier project is based on the entry-level S trim and isn't just a cosmetic exercise. There are some legitimate chassis upgrades that include a Calmini 2.5-inch suspension lift with adjustable upper control arms, as well as white-painted steelie wheels shod in all-terrain tires. The wheels are actually Frontier spare wheels and the tires are off the Pro-4X trim. Also added is the sport bar behind the cab, which adds a styling flourish and a place to mount lights or other accessories.
Next up is Project Hardbody, which is a nod to the iconic Nissan Hardbody truck that could have gotten screen credit on Baywatch. Sadly, it's not painted L.A. County Lifeguard Yellow, but it does sport some custom 17-inch wheels that look period-correct, with all-terrain tires mounted on them.
The designers at Nissan's San Diego studio also went to town with customization, adding a black front fascia, hood graphics, side and tailgate graphics, and a bed-mounted spare tire. Digging into the Nissan accessories department, Project Hardbody also adds skid plates and overfenders from the Pro-4X trim, black exterior trim and bumpers, the sport bar with Rigid lights and the Utili-track cargo rail system.
The last Frontier concept is Project Adventure, which cashes in on the popularity of overlanding (self-reliant travel to remote locations). Not surprisingly, it starts with the off-road-capable Pro-4X trim and adds a long list of Nissan and aftermarket accessories. These include a 50-inch Rigid lightbar, custom carbon-fiber snorkel, Yakima LoadWarrior roof cargo basket and bed rack, iKamper tent, recovery boards and containers from Rotopax, Kicker tailgate audio and removable step rails. Finally, a vinyl body wrap of the U.S. atlas rounds out the Adventure upgrades.
If Nissan doesn't add these concepts as Frontier special editions in the future, they will at least spark ideas for customers' own customization projects.