In the world of mid-size off-road trucks, the Tacoma TRD Pro has been dominating the field. With the release of the new Colorado ZR2, the segment is getting more competitive than ever before. One truck has been hiding in the shadows this entire time, the Frontier Pro-4X.
Although this mighty little off-road truck isn’t very popular, that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome. Let’s look at the Pro-4X specs such as ground clearance, suspension, and traction aids.
Ground clearance is super important when you’re off-roading. Good ground clearance is what made the original Hummer so good. The lowest point on the Frontier Pro-4X is the front differential, measuring 8.9 inches from the ground. What’s odd is that the rear axle has more ground clearance at 10″. Obviously, if you lift the Pro-4X and throw bigger tires on it that number will increase. The Frontier Pro-4X actually has as much ground clearance as it’s older brother the Titan Pro-4X.
What’s odd is that the rear axle has more ground clearance at 10 inches. Obviously, if you lift the Pro-4X and throw bigger tires on it that number will increase. The Frontier Pro-4X actually has as much ground clearance as it’s older brother the Titan Pro-4X.
The ground clearance is slightly less than the Tacoma TRD Pro at 9.4 inches, but a small lift or leveling kit will easily fix this issue. Especially if it’s a quality lift that doesn’t have a massive front differential drop. Overall the ground clearance is pretty decent for a small off-road truck.
All modern “off-road” trucks come with skid plates to protect the undercarriage. Protecting the front differential, oil pan, transmission pan, and transfer case is pretty important. If you break any of those components out on the trail and you’re pretty much screwed. The Frontier Pro-4X has skid plates protecting the radiator area, engine oil pan, transfer case, and fuel tank. Although, it doesn’t feature a skid plate protecting the transmission pan.
The Frontier Pro-4X has skid plates protecting the radiator area, engine oil pan, transfer case, and fuel tank. Although, it doesn’t feature a skid plate protecting the transmission pan.
Just like the Titan, every Frontier had a skid plate in the radiator area. It obnoxiously covers the oil filter and requires you to remove a small access panel to get to the oil filter. However, it does protect the front of the engine great and will help slid you over nasty obstacles without damage.
Thankfully Nissan didn’t just put some off-road wheels on the Pro-4X and call it good. They took the extra step and included an electronic locker in the rear differential. Obviously, this is going to help you a ton when you’re in some nasty spots off-road. However, after Chevy included lockers in both axles in the ZR2, the Pro-4X’s lack of a front locker is somewhat disappointing. Hopefully, in the future, the Pro-4X will include electronic lockers in both axles.
However, after Chevy included lockers in both axles in the ZR2, the Pro-4X’s lack of a front locker is somewhat disappointing. Hopefully, in the future, the Pro-4X will include electronic lockers in both axles.
Tires and Suspension
If you’ve driven a pickup truck at any point in your life, you know how they ride. The rear suspension is super stiff, and the front suspension provides very little articulation. Nissan chose to work with Bilstein to combat these issues and improve the off-road capabilities of the Pro-4X.
The Bilstein suspension really improves ride quality on and off the road, improve handling characteristics, and slightly improve articulation. Although it’s not as awesome as some sort of aftermarket mid-travel or long-travel kit, the Bilstein shocks are excellent for a factory setup.
Nissan shipped every Frontier Pro-4X with 265/75R16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/A tires. Although they aren’t the best off-road tire, they are a good balance between street and dirt. If I owned a Pro-4X I would probably throw some more aggressive all-terrain or mud-terrain tires. But, since most people will be using this truck on the street every day the stock tires are perfect.
There are a couple other features on the Pro-4X which improve its off-road worthiness. Nissan added a hill-start assist to stop the truck from rolling backward after stopping on a hill. This works by measuring the angle of the truck and holding the brake pedal down for a few seconds if the angle is steep enough.
Another feature is hill descent control, which basically keeps you at a low speed when going downhill. Hill decent control isn’t anything new, as Land Rover has been doing it since the 90s.
Overall the Pro-4X is a badass little truck. It has good ground clearance, good undercarriage protection, a rear locker, awesome Bilstein suspension, and decent off-road tires. Plus it’s a really compact truck which will help it squeeze down those tighter trails that bigger trucks can’t fit on. Although the Tacoma TRD Pro is arguably better, the Frontier Pro-4X is still a great little truck.