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WheelsTV Vehicle Spotlight: Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

Nissan Frontier Pro4x | Photo: Peter Ciani

Building upon a legacy of compact and mid-size pickup truck heritage, the third-generation Nissan Frontier made its long-awaited debut in 2022.  I say “long-awaited” because, after over 15 years of second-generation production, it seemed like Nissan had no interest in continuing the Frontier, let alone updating it.

Apart from routine styling and infotainment tweaks, and the introduction of specialty models like the PRO-4X, the Frontier had remained largely unchanged from 2005 to 2021. Despite this, Frontier’s sales remained consistent and it held its own within the Nissan family. Midsize pickup trucks traditionally aren’t the best-selling segment, so it makes sense that Nissan (and other automakers) would prefer to focus their resources on the ever-popular small SUV and full-size truck segments, not to mention the impending electric vehicle revolution.


More recently the midsize truck market has begun to heat up, starting with the new Frontier and continuing with the arrival of the redesigned 2023 Chevrolet Colorado, 2024 Ford Ranger, and 2024 Toyota Tacoma. Additionally, there is a renewed focus on off-road-ready “adventure” vehicles.

Sure, the Frontier may be more tech-savvy and modern inside and out, but it still retains its truck-like vibe, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s a genuinely solid feeling you get when driving the Frontier, it’s definitely a vehicle that I would take off-road, or use for work without worrying much about it. The steering on the PRO-4X is a bit heavy at low speeds, which I think adds to the old-school feel, after a day of driving I got used to it and didn’t think twice about it.

Although the Frontier is a few generations away from the old Datsun pickup days, it still reminds me a bit of those trucks. The retro orange Nissan emblems certainly help, but maybe I was feeling a bit nostalgic for my ole Nissan 720 pickup. It was a great truck that I sold many years ago, and still regret selling to this day. But enough dwelling on the past, let’s talk about what the new generation Frontier has to offer. 


Available in King and Crew cab configurations the trim range for the Frontier goes from the base S to the midrange SV and off-road-ready PRO-X, and PRO-4X. Nissan was gracious enough to loan us a top-spec 2023 Frontier PRO-4X for a week to evaluate.


Taking inspiration from the brand’s 60-year truck history, including the classic Nissan Hardbody pickup line, the Frontier boasts an assertive exterior design that showcases a modern and competent look. 


Upper trims feature LED headlights with LED signature lighting and LED fog lights, while the off-road-focused PRO-4X trim takes it a step further with an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, and underbody skid plates.

Inside the Frontier, the focus is on utility and comfort, offering seating for up to five passengers. 

The PRO-4X and PRO-X models come with trim-specific seats featuring an embroidered logo and red contrast stitching. Hydraulic cab mounts and acoustic glass contribute to a comfortable ride, whether you’re on the road or venturing off of it.


When it comes to technology, a standard 7.0-inch Advanced Drive Assist Display provides essential vehicle information while an 8-inch center infotainment touchscreen comes standard. 


Upper trims get a 9-inch touchscreen with Nissan door-to-door navigation and Voice Recognition for navigation and audio. All trims come equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, while upper trims offer the convenience of a console-mounted wireless phone charger.


Inside the Frontier, the focus is on utility and comfort, offering seating for up to five passengers. 

While competitors opt for small 4-cylinder turbo engines, the Frontier is powered by a redesigned 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. The V6 comes mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but of course, there’s an option for part-time 4-wheel drive. When properly equipped, the Frontier has a towing capacity of up to 6,720 pounds.


Fuel economy numbers for the Frontier range from 18 City / 24 Highway in 2WD models to 17 City  / 22 Highway in 4X4 models, including the PRO-4X. 


Standard safety features include Trailer Sway Control, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning. The optional Technology Package includes Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, and Rear Automatic Braking. At $990. it’s a box worth checking.

The Frontier is covered by a 3-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.


Despite tough competition on the horizon, the recently redesigned Nissan Frontier, with its rugged capability and modern interior, should have no problem holding its own in the competitive mid-size truck market.

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