TodayApril 15, 2022

2022 Nissan Frontier concepts at Chicago Auto Show

Far away from the ninety-degree weather, surf breaks and volleyball courts, the Frontier team from California’s San Diego-based Nissan Design America (NDA) is venturing to the heartland to display three unique concept trucks at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show.

The three concepts – the Project 72X, Project Hardbody, and Project Adventure – are based on the 2022 Frontier mid-size pickup that NDA played a primary role in designing.

Customers have responded to this rugged design – the all-new Frontier is off to a highly successful start with strong initial sales and demand exceeding company expectations. During the first three months of availability, sales increased 115 percent over the prior year, with segment share up more than six points.

“People want to get out of the house, have adventures, and do it in style, so the timing of the adventure-ready 2022 Frontier couldn’t have been better,” said Michael Colleran, senior vice president, Nissan U.S., and Marketing and Sales. “These three new projects show the possibilities with the new Frontier in this important Chicagoland market.”

While they are all based on the 2022 Frontier Crew Cab platform, the Project 72X, Project Hardbody, and Project Adventure each address three different mid-size truck audiences and start with three different Frontier grade levels – S, SV, and PRO-4X.

While they are all based on the 2022 Frontier Crew Cab platform, the Project 72X, Project Hardbody, and Project Adventure address three different mid-size truck audiences and start with three different Frontier grade levels – S, SV, and PRO-4X.

“Truck culture is now inclusive – hardcore off-roaders, overlanders, surfers and kayakers, environmentalists, fishing and hunting outdoor enthusiasts and more,” said Hiren Patel, project lead designer, Nissan Design America, Inc. “The common ground is that they all use their trucks as canvases for personalization. We’re offering three styles to show how they could modify their new Frontier.”

All three Frontier concept trucks combine readily available Nissan and aftermarket parts and accessories with custom-designed pieces and graphics.

Project 72X Frontier

Nissan Project 72X Frontier at Chicago Auto Show 2022

Based on the 2022 Frontier Crew Cab S 4×4 grade, Project 72X is a modern take on one of Nissan’s most popular trucks, the Datsun 720. First introduced in fall 1979, the 720 eventually became the first vehicle assembled by Nissan in the United States when it rolled off the new Smyrna (Tennessee) Vehicle Assembly Plant in 1983. Known as the “Lil Hustler,” it was a bare-bones, affordable truck designed for fun and was advertised as ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

For the 2022 interpretation, the design team used gray exterior tones and graphics for a sense of modern, fresh attitude – a look reinforced by the white-painted steel wheels, 2022 Frontier spare wheels, with PRO-4X tires. Other modifications include a 2.5-inch lift kit with adjustable front upper suspension arms and a sport-bar behind the cab.

Nissan Frontire Project Hardbody

Nissan Frontier Project Hardbody at Chicago Auto Show 2022

As the name suggests, Project Hardbody pays homage to one of the most iconic Nissan trucks ever, the Nissan D21 “Hardbody.” It was the first truck design completed at NDA.

“It is still unmistakable on the road as a pure, modern design, even today,” said Patel. The “Hardbody” name came from its double-wall bed and aggressive stance and was a champion in on- and off-road competitions and on Southern California beaches.

Project Hardbody builds on a 2022 Frontier Crew Cab SV 4×4. The classic Hardbody block-style wheels are designed and milled at NDA mounted with 33-inch tires, bed-mounted spare tire carrier, sport-bar with modern 10-inch rectangular LED lights, blacked-out front end, and door graphics with ’80s-style shadow outlining. The new hardbody features a 3-inch lift kit with adjustable upper control arms over-fenders from the current PRO-4X model.

Nissan Frontier Project Adventure

Nissan Frontier Adventure at Chicago Auto Show 2022

The last of the three is Project Adventure, the NDA’s take on Nissan’s popular overlanding trend. Based on a 2022 Frontier Crew Cab PRO-4X, Project Adventure features a 5-inch lift kit, 34-inch mud-terrain tires, Yakima bed rack system, and Yakima LoadWarrior roof basket, sky tent, and Bluetooth bed audio system by KICKER. The unique carbon fiber snorkel was designed and crafted by NDA.

A key feature of the Project Adventure is the custom body wrap depicting an atlas of the U.S., which makes the statement, This is a big country, why don’t you take your Frontier somewhere?

“Nissan has more than 40-years of truck leadership in the United States, with more than four million Frontiers sold to date,” said Colleran. “With the arrival of the all-new Frontier, the next chapter is now being written.”

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Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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