Road Test: 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

Road Test: 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

Story and photos by Benjamin Yong

Launched as an all-new redesign for 2022, the Nissan Frontier is in a carry-over year and particularly in PRO-4X form remains a great choice for both work and play. Though the full-length, fully-boxed frame is essentially unchanged from 2005, it’s a solid and proven base to build upon and almost everything else around it is fresh.

Looking a bit like a baby Titan, the mid-size pickup’s nose is similarly dominated by a massive grille and blocky headlights housing distinctive LED signature lighting. The entire vehicle boasts an upright stance lending a powerful appearance, and adding to the effect are athletic fenders and matching notched taillights.

PRO-4X models get a bunch of bonus functional and cool accessories such as silver skid plates protecting the engine, oil pan, transfer case and fuel tank; wheel arch flares; 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires; and Lava Red emblem and tow hooks, among others. Hiding underneath the body work is an electronic locking differential and Bilstein off-road shock absorbers.

Last year Trucks Plus reviewed a Crew Cab variant packing the five-foot bed, and this time around we’re in the King Cab that has the half doors in the back and a longer six-foot bed. Proportionally, the latter is arguably more aesthetically pleasing, and the pair of flip-down second-row chairs still provide usable seating. Those transporting young children may find installing a child seat a bit of a challenge though, given the shallow depth of the bottom cushion.

Making its debut is the snazzy Tactical Green Metallic paint (+ $300) as seen on our media vehicle, fitting in perfectly against backcountry vistas, and is a nice contrast against the black and red exterior details, rear privacy glass and available factory-sprayed bedliner.

Speaking of which, the bed has a bunch of useful enhancements letting people secure their stuff in a multitude of ways. Four fixed tie-down hooks allow different-sized gear to be strapped in, and the Utiili-track Channel System comprised of three cross-section rails with built-in sliding cleats accommodates even oddly shaped cargo.

Stepping inside the cabin, occupants will notice additional lava red accenting in the stitching, around the instrument cluster gauge rings and various trim pieces. Some welcome touches include the faux-leather-wrapped centre console, leather steering wheel, manual sliding rear window accessible from the driver’s seat and big nine-inch colour touchscreen display.

The NissanConnect infotainment isn’t the best in the industry but is certainly better than many other examples out there, offering a good mixture of virtual and physical controls as well as integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Another useful digital feature is the excellent Around View Monitor 360-degree camera. The first automaker to showcase such technology back in 2007, it’s now upgraded and highlights moving objects on screen, self-activating at low speeds when the two-speed electronic transfer case is set to 4-LO so as to help avoid scratches and dents on the trail.

Under the Frontier’s hood is a 3.8-litre V6 mill, producing 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, originally introduced in the 2020 version of the truck. The performance is quite good whether commuting about town or off the beaten path, and is fairly quiet on the road thanks to the installation of extra insulation, improved rear carpeting and acoustic laminated glass in the front doors. A new nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the outgoing five-speed unit.

Owners who tow should be happy with the 6,490-pound maximum capacity. Trailer Sway Control has been added, which detects sway and mitigates the movement by autonomously applying the brakes. Another system capable of taking care of the braking is hill descent control, where drivers descending down steep grades can simply concentrate on steering and let the computer do the rest.

The 2023 Nissan Frontier is assembled at the brand’s facility in Canton, Mississippi, and starts at MSRP $46,598.



Base price (MSRP): $46,598
Type: Pickup truck
Layout: Front engine, 4-wheel drive
Engine: 3.8-litre V6
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Power: 310 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 281 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Brakes: front/rear disc with ABS
Fuel Consumption (L/100km, city/hwy combined): 13.6