Trucks & SUVs

The Off-Road Ready 2020 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Is Pretty Barebones

The 2020 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X is here, and it has some major new upgrades. Is it enough to save the Frontier, however? 

For drivers who hate the assistance features and would rather do it themselves, the 2020 Frontier will definitely win them over. Most owners want a truck that does things like helping them park and brake automatically if they’re not paying attention, however. So what does this mean for the Nissan Frontier? Did they add enough new features, or is this truck still lacking?

What changes did Nissan make to the Frontier?

To look at the 2020 Frontier, it’s not clear what upgrades Nissan has added. There will be a major redesign coming in 2021, which will result in the Frontier looking like a smaller Titan. So what did they do to the 2020 model?

According to Cars.com, the major changes have taken place under the hood. The old 4.0 V-6 engine has been replaced with a new 3.8-liter V-6 that is more powerful. The Frontier gets 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. It also has a nine-speed transmission that gives it a much needed boost of power. 

On the flip side, Nissan is no longer offering a manual transmission on the Frontier. Some drivers may not care, but for those who like driving a manual, this may prove to be a turn-off. 

Did someone say ‘off-road?’

Let’s face it, most people who consider getting the Nissan Frontier Pro-4X want it to go off-roading. The thought of driving over a boulder with a sharp drop off both sides might terrify some, but for others, it’s the dream.

Nissan really put some thought into the off-road ability of the Frontier, and it shows. According to MotorTrend, Nissan created a Pro-4X off-road package that includes Bilstein off-road shocks, Hankook Dynapro AT-M all-terrain tires on 16-inch alloy wheels, a beefier Dana rear axle, and skid plates under the engine, transfer case, and fuel tank.

All this combines to make a truck that can go almost anywhere. Except on pavement, that is. For owners who need a truck to get them back and forth to work and school, and only get to go off-roading on weekends, this might prove to be more frustrating than it’s worth. On the other hand, if you need a second vehicle that you don’t drive every day, then you have the ideal truck.

Are there better off-road trucks out there? Of course. The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon and the Colorado ZR2 can easily leave the Nissan Frontier Pro-4X in their dust. At the same time, they’re not exactly cheap. For drivers who want a capable off-road truck without having to take a second mortgage out on their house, the Frontier is more than adequate. 

So that’s it?

In spite of its ability to go off-road, the Nissan Frontier really doesn’t offer that much. Car and Driver states, “The 2020 Frontier’s interior design is straight out of 2005, and its short list of options is also outdated. However, the hard-plastic habitat is appropriate for tradesmen and trail raiders.” In other words, if you like the newest and greatest, keep walking.

There’s plenty of room to store your belongings in the cab, but that’s about all the Frontier has going for it inside. There’s not an excessive amount of legroom, the technology is dated, and you don’t even have the option of upgrading. 

Do you want a truck with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? Sorry, Nissan didn’t include that. The Japanese automaker also didn’t include WiFi hotspots, USB ports, or anything else that might make it look like it was designed for 2020. 

So is it worth it? If you want a reliable truck that can get you from point A to point B without all the features that your kids want, sure. If you want a truck with the latest in technology, you’d be better off checking out some of the Frontier’s competitors like the Ford Ranger or the Chevy Colorado.