Jeep Gladiator vs Nissan Frontier Comparison: The Work-Life Balance

Jeep Gladiator vs Nissan Frontier Comparison

Be honest with yourself: why are you really shopping for a mid-sized pickup?

Jeep and Nissan have put out two very different left-fielders in the shape of the Gladiator and Frontier, respectively. The former bolts a bed onto the back of the Wrangler, a model that has only grown in popularity in the age of the SUV. Meanwhile, after being the butt of many jokes for being so old it needed to tie an onion to its belt, the Frontier has joined the modern world with a thorough revamp for 2022.

What we have here is a mullet of a comparison: one half business, one half party. Can one of these mid-sizers woo us over to its side? Managing editor Mike Schlee and I spent a week with both to find out.

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2022 Nissan Frontier First Drive Review: Into the Thick of It

I don’t want to overstate it, but when the departing Frontier was new George W. Bush was just beginning his second term as president, the iPhone hadn’t been announced, Twitter didn’t exist, and Netflix was still sending DVDs through the mail.

Yes, the last time the Frontier was all-new was in 2005. Think about that for a second. Up until 2020, Nissan showrooms across North America stocked a model dating back three presidential administrations to the era of flip phones and standard def.

True, Nissan facelifted the Frontier for the 2009 model year, and made incremental changes (colors, wheels, special models, etc.) during its run, and even managed to stuff a new engine and transmission (which were carried over to the ‘22) into it on its way out the door, but the oldness of that truck was unmistakable. The styling, especially in the cabin, looked and felt ancient, a reality that overtakes all vehicles after 15 years.

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Detailed Specs

Price / $29,190 - $39,120
Engine / 3.8-liter 6-cylinder
Power / 310 hp
Torque / 281 lb-ft.
Drivetrain / RWD / 4WD
Transmission / 9AT
Fuel Economy (city/hwy) / 17-18 mpg / 22-24 mpg
Cargo Capacity / N/A

Our Final Verdict