If you are a fan of going off the pavement and getting to interesting places where things like mud, sand, dirt, and rocks are considered fun obstacles rather than deterrents, then you're likely already well aware of the prowess of the Nissan Frontier Pro4X. Outside of expensive nameplates like Jeep and Rover, the Nissan Frontier and its SUV brother the Xterra are some of the best stock offroad machines you can buy.
The Frontier Pro4X combines the useful utility of a pickup truck with pavement-optional excellence. It sports healthy power, good off-track options, and a great look. All of which add up to a real winner here in Wyoming where even the roads can sometimes be hard to find when we're out and about.
The 2013 Nissan Frontier Pro4X comes in either extended or full quad cab model options. The bed length can be the stock four-and-a-half feet or extended in the long bed option for more cargo space. With the optional, and very much recommended, V6, the Frontier has a 6,500 pound towing capacity and a lot more prowess than the smaller, less potent four-cylinder offers.
That six-cylinder is a 4.0-liter, 24-valve powerhouse coupled to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain delivers a massive 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to get this midsized truck just about anywhere.
Fuel mileage is the main dilemma for those owning an offroad machine like the Frontier Pro4X. The V6 offers an EPA-estimated 16/22 city/highway, which is on par with the class, but quickly becoming a nuisance in today's fuel-sipping world. As an everyday driver, the Frontier could quickly become expensive, but no more so than its counterparts, which aren't offering much better or worse in economy.
On the road, the 2013 Nissan Frontier Pro4X is a comfortable drive, though not so much so that you'll want to stay in it once you've gotten to where you're going. Like any good "get there, wherever 'there' might be" machine, it doesn't encourage you to dilly-dally after you're finished bouncing around and digging through Wyoming's back country. The tall seating position for the driver gives a great view field when offroad and a commanding position while on it.
Those who opt for the King Cab (four-door) and then install car seats will want to be aware that the power window and child door locks must be used since the kiddies will have full access to them when seated back there. Other interior options include various seating materials, entertainment and connectivity packages, etc. The premium Rockford Fosgate stereo option puts out great sound for those who wish to have it. The Pro4X package includes some extra 12V plugs and other added conveniences throughout the cabin.
Options outside of the cabin vary with the models, but the Pro4X comes standard with a lot of great offroad-ready built-ins like hill descent control and offroad suspension tuning and trim pieces. The optional roof rack is useful if you carry things like kayaks, boats, etc. and the factory-spray-on bedliner and pre-installed bed rails and cargo clamp/tailgate extender are also nice touches to be added.
Off the road, of course, is where it's at with the Frontier Pro4X, and its combination of clearance, power, and selectable four-wheel drive are just right for most of what Wyoming can throw at you. Driver-controlled systems like the locking rear differential and hill descent are standard with the Pro4X package. As is the hill slant assist, high-pressure Bilstein shocks, and the full-sized spare.
The Frontier competes with and generally outclasses the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Toyota Tacoma in off-the-road capability. The V6 Frontier Pro4X has more power than the other three as well. Its premium standards like four-wheel disc brakes and speed-sensitive steering adjustment trumps the others as well.
After a week in the 2013 Nissan Frontier Pro4X – which included a lot of washing to get the mud off, plenty of "wow, let's see if we can get it over there" moments, and whooping and hollering from the back seat as my little ones bounced down the trail with me, the Frontier was hard to give up. We took it on a short road trip to Curt Gowdy and a lot of trail bouncing and hill climbing outside of Pine Bluffs and a little over-border action in Nebraska. It performed very well on the highway, in town, and on the sand and gravel roads that proliferate this part of the country.
It's hard to imagine how anyone in Wyoming could find the Nissan Frontier Pro4X to be anything but fun.
The 2013 Nissan Frontier Pro4X was driven as a manufacturer's press loan for about a week and for a total of 212 miles throughout Southeastern Wyoming. As tested, the vehicle's MSRP was $35,645 in its top-line configuration.