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This week is the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s Spring Rally, and I have spent time with plenty of cars, trucks, and SUVs. The event occurs at Road America, one of the most historic tracks in the United States. Because of this event, I’ve had the opportunity to test the 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X. And I’ve got to say, it gives the 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro a run for its money. 

Is the Nissan Frontier good off-road?

As a midsize truck, the 2023 Nissan Frontier is plenty good off-road. I tested the 2023 Frontier PRO-4X on an off-road course, and it easily handled the rugged terrain. The course consisted of rocks, hills, and some water features. It seems like the redesigned Frontier might be worth the long time it took Nissan to update its small truck. 

The 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X is a midsize truck that might beat the 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
2023 Nissan Frontier | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

The Frontier PRO-4X features things like a locking rear differential, four-wheel drive, and a 3.8-liter V6 engine. As more pickup trucks move away from naturally aspirated engines, it is nice to see Nissan making a V6 standard. 

The interior of the 2023 Nissan Frontier midsize truck.
2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

On pavement, I found the steering of this midsize truck to be a bit on the heavy side. But while on the trail, that turned out to be a perk. It keeps you engaged with your surroundings and provides a sense of connection to whatever you might be trying to traverse. 

Is the Frontier better than the Tacoma?

Having been behind the wheel of the 2023 Nissan Frontier and the 2023 Toyota Tacoma, I think the Frontier might be the better pickup. But there is probably a key reason as to why that is. The Frontier is simply the newer truck. Toyota is set to release a redesigned Tacoma for the 2024 model year, but for now, this truck does feel dated. 

A side view of the 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro off-road truck.
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

My main issue with the current-gen Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is its six-speed automatic transmission. At times, it can feel like it’s hunting for gears, and shifts are not all that smooth. 

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro does have a remedy for that. Unlike the new Nissan Frontier, you can actually get it with a manual transmission. And to car enthusiasts, that is a pretty big deal. 

The 2023 Nissan Frontier is ready for adventure

As an off-road truck, I appreciate what Nissan has done with the 2023 Frontier PRO-4X. Even in harsh terrain, it can leave you feeling confident as you push over rocks or a deep patch of water. It also offers an analog feel that some folks might enjoy in a midsize pickup. Especially as these vehicles seem to become more and more complicated. 

The rear end of the 2023 Nissan Frontier midsize truck.
Nissan Frontier | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

Now I’m unsure if the Frontier will continue to feel as impressive once the 2024 Toyota Tacoma drops. On paper, it looks like Toyota has made vast improvements over the previous generation. But according to Car and Driver, you’ll no longer be able to get it with a V6 engine. So in some people’s eyes, maybe the Frontier will remain the superior midsize truck.

Related The 2023 Nissan Frontier Beats Out the Toyota Tacoma In Many Ways But 1

The 2023 Nissan Frontier Beats Out the Toyota Tacoma In Many Ways But 1