Home Automobile Test Drive: 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X – The Daily Drive

Test Drive: 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X – The Daily Drive

Test Drive: 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X – The Daily Drive


2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X in Boulder Gray (a $395 color option)

2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

Class: Midsize Pickup Truck

Color: Boulder Gray

Miles driven: 181

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Observed fuel economy: 17.1 mpg

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/22/19 (mpg city/highway/combined)

Snow Performance: N/A

Base price: $38,720 (not including $1295 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($395), Pro Convenience Package ($2190), Pro Premium Package ($2790), Technology Package ($990)

Price as tested: $46,380


Quick Hits

The great: Smooth power delivery, general refinement

The good: Better than expected ride and handling

The not so good: So-so fuel economy


Tom Appel:

After shrinking to a handful of vehicles just a few years ago, the midsize pickup truck segment has rebounded, in a big way, and now consists of offerings from Chevrolet (Colorado), Ford (Ranger), GMC (Colorado), Honda (Ridgeline), Nissan (Frontier), and Toyota (Tacoma). Also available is Jeep’s Wrangler-based Gladiator. Though capable, the Jeep is too pricey to compete directly with many of these trucks, especially at lower trim levels.

2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

Every truck on this list has either been recently updated, or is about to be updated, save for Honda’s unconventional Ridgeline, which, unlike the other trucks on this list, features carlike unibody construction and a one-piece bed and body.

Redesigned for 2022, the Nissan Frontier may be the most-traditional offering on this list, as it is subjectively the most conventional looking, and is among the last to offer V6 power. Not that there’s anything wrong with being conventional, as the Frontier is currently one of Consumer Guide’s favorite category offerings. This, because we value simplicity and solid execution.

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2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

Though Consumer Guide spent time with a 2023 Frontier, there’s little that changes for 2024. Updates for the new year included a new topline SL trim level, as well as a new Hardbody retro-theme trim that includes callback design elements from the Nissan Hardbody pickups of the Eighties.

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2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

For 2024, the Frontier is offered in base S, sporty SV, upscale SL, off-road ready PRO-4X, and the aforementioned Hardbody retro trim level. Gone is the midlevel Midnight trim level. Frontier is offered in conventional 4-door Crew Cab trim, and extend-cab King Cab configurations. Unlike the Crew Cab, the King Cab’s rear doors are hinged at the rear, and can only be opened when the front doors are also open.

All Frontier trim levels are offered with the Crew Cab body, while just the S and SV are offered in King Cab form. All Crew Cabs come standard with a 5-foot bed. A 6-foot “long bed” is offered on Crew Cabs in SV trim, and is standard on all King Cabs. Power for all Frontiers comes from a 310-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain includes fuel-saving engine stop/start functionality. Good news: The stop/start system operates very smoothly.

Consumer Guide recently spent a week behind the wheel of a 2023 Frontier PRO-4X in Boulder Gray and featuring the Pro Convenience Package. Note: The sport bar seen in the photos here is an official Nissan accessory, and is not part of the Pro-4X equipment group. The sport bar, which includes an integrated LED brake light, can be ordered online or by your dealer, part number T99Y4-9BU25; it lists for $1093, not including installation.

The Frontier PRO-4x cabin is a tidy affair, more sporty than premium in feel, though the red-upholstery stitching and red door accents give the interior a healthy dose of distinctiveness. The infotainment system is easy to use, and though the touchscreen seems small by contemporary standards, most-used functions are easy to identify and simple to use. Additionally, we found the Fender-branded audio system to be of generally good quality, though not up to the fidelity of many premium-brand systems.

Cabin space is good all around, though neither the front nor second row can be described as genuinely spacious. This large author would appreciate just a little more seat travel, as he felt a little too close to the steering wheel during his time in the truck.

On the road the V6 powertrain shines. Though Frontier is not objectively fast, the largish engine and smooth-operating transmission serve up prompt throttle response and plenty of low-speed torque for effortless passing and merging. The engine sounds good, too, with a sporty but muted exhaust note and refined growl from under the hood.

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2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

On the move the Frontier PRO-4X rides and handles pretty well. Ride quality is decent, though the off-road tires seem contribute to extra up-and-down motion over larger road imperfections. That said, the suspension soaks up ruts and potholes well enough, and not matter the road surface, the ride never turns harsh.

One complaint we have is the Frontier’s considerable turning radius. The combination of heavy steering—which we generally appreciate—and large turning circle, make the Frontier a handful to pilot through tight parking lots and parking garages.

Over our nearly 200-mile evaluation, we average 17.1 mpg, a little disappointing, but not surprising given the large, old-school V6.

The Frontier—especially in PRO-4X trim—is not perfect, but does most everything a small truck owner might expect it do fairly well. We appreciate the refined power deliver, sporty handling, and the promise of serious off-road fun. We’d like a little more cabin space, and a little more tight-space maneuverability, but still find the Nissan’s midsize pickup an excellent choice in the segment, and one that leans towards affordability if you go easy on the options.

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2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

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2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Gallery

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