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A grey 2023 Nissan Frontier for sale is shown off-roading down a dirt trail.

What Makes a Good Off-Road Pickup?

If you’re on the hunt for a reliable pickup that holds its own in challenging off-road scenarios, it is worth searching for a 2023 Nissan Frontier for sale. This capable midsize truck received a major overhaul going into the 2022 model year, with an elongated chassis and redesigned body giving the Frontier a bold, boxy new look that easily sets it apart from the competition. While these upgrades were a welcomed change from the aging second-generation model, it was the off-road-focused Frontier PRO-4X that really caught our attention.

As the Frontier’s top trim, the PRO-4X is a case study in off-road functionality, adding a generous complement of heavy-duty off-road gear that transforms the beloved pickup into a go-anywhere adventure vehicle. The PRO-4X enters a hotly contested market and comes out on top with its unique blend of off-road equipment, modern technology, and a captivating chassis earning the pickup plenty of recognition from drivers and critics alike. But what makes the PRO-4X such a strong contender in the midsize off-road segment? Let’s take a closer look at this exemplary offering from Nissan and see how the Frontier is upping the bar for midsize pickups everywhere.

Built for Off-Road Fun

Designed with heavy-duty components that significantly up the pickup’s off-road bona fides, the PRO-4X is an exceptional off-roader right down to the chassis. Featuring a high-strength, fully-boxed steel frame, the PRO-4X has a lifted suspension that allows it to sit 15 mm higher than the base Frontier model. A generous 32.3-degree approach angle, 23.1-degree departure angle and 19.6-degree breakover angle allow the PRO-4X to tackle steep grades with ease.

Four-wheel drive is the cornerstone of any off-roader and is essential to giving a vehicle all the traction it needs to conquer steep inclines and other off-road obstacles. While 4WD comes in handy for doling out power to the front and rear axle, it does have its shortcomings. Even with 4WD, a vehicle is always going to send torque to the wheel with the least grip on a given axle. That’s where locking differentials come in. As the name might suggest, these components are responsible for making both wheels on an axle rotate at the same speed––an attribute that is essential in challenging off-road situations.

A grey 2023 Nissan Frontier is shown off-roading at sunset in the desert.

The 2023 Frontier PRO-4X comes with an electronic locking rear differential that can be activated whenever it’s in 4WD LO mode, which lowers the truck’s gear ratio to maximize the amount of torque sent to each wheel. Low-end torque is another important factor in the world of off-roading, where speed is rarely as important as control and traction. The PRO-4X’s 3.8-litre V6 produces 281 lb-ft of torque––along with best-in-class 310 hp––which should be more than enough to power you through all but the most demanding off-road trails. Pair this with the pickup’s nine-speed automatic transmission and switch-operated two-speed transfer case, and you’ve got the makings of a true off-road contender.

But torque and traction aren’t the only factors to consider when it comes to off-road pickups like the Frontier PRO-4X. Comfort is also an important part of the equation, as an overly bumpy off-road excursion can have you headed back to civilization in a hurry. Nissan has made sure to outfit every Frontier with a capable double-wishbone front suspension and multi-leaf rear suspension, but the PRO-4X takes it to the next level with the addition of Bilstein shocks and a rear-suspension stabilizer bar. The shocks go a long way in smoothing out even the bumpiest off-road trails, delivering exceptional comfort while protecting the pickup against bottoming out. Even if you do cut it a bit close, the Frontier’s underbody is protected by three high-strength steel skid plates that can take their fair share of abuse.

Technology Makes the Difference

On today’s modern trucks, hardware is only half the equation. In-vehicle technology has become increasingly important to the driving public, and Nissan has taken note, leveraging some impressive features to give the 2023 Frontier a major leg up over the competition. The most relevant addition for your off-road adventures might be the Intelligent Around View Monitor with Off-Road Mode, which uses a suite of exterior cameras to improve driver confidence and safety when the going gets rough. In-vehicle cameras are nothing new, of course, but Nissan has deployed its own system in a rather ingenious way.

When the PRO-4X is shifted into 4WD LO mode, the Intelligent Around View system kicks into action, providing drivers with multiple camera angles that include a priceless side view. This unique camera angle allows drivers to get a closer look at any obstacles that might be looming in their blind spot, making it easier than ever to navigate boulder-filled trails, downed trees, and other obstacles conspiring to leave their mark on your truck.

Intelligent Around View Monitor goes a long way in maximizing the capability of the Frontier, and not just when it comes to off-roading. The camera system is an exceedingly handy feature for drivers looking to take advantage of the truck’s 2,944 kg towing capacity, allowing for easy hookups and monitoring that will make your next towing task a piece of cake. The Intelligent Around View Monitor complements the rest of the Frontier’s towing arsenal, which includes an available Class IV tow hitch receiver and standard trailer sway control. You might not be drawn to the Frontier PRO-4X with towing in mind, but it’s a nice, practical addition to the pickup’s off-road-focused design.

Shows the wheel, driver information display, and infotainment screen of the 2023 Nissan Frontier.

Of course, cameras are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the off-road technology in the Frontier PRO-4X. This pickup also includes Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist, two systems which allow even the most inexperienced off-roaders to find success out in the backcountry. Hill Descent Control allows drivers to focus on navigating steep downhill trails by taking control of acceleration and braking duties. Simply activate 4WD, push the Hill Descent Control button, and the Frontier will do the hard part for you, freeing you up to focus on steering and avoiding any unforeseen obstacles. Hill Start Assist is designed to prevent those backward rolls that can prove annoying on city streets and downright dangerous on off-road trails. When you are stopped, the system maintains the brake pressure for a few seconds after you’ve lifted your foot, allowing you to seamlessly switch to the accelerator without losing any ground.

The Frontier rounds out its suite of off-road technology with a clever new feature that turns the pickup’s instrument cluster into a one-stop shop for all the relevant off-road information you might need. A full-colour 18 cm digital display located between the tachometer and speedometer allows drivers to keep an eye on the truck’s pitch and roll angles, 4WD status, tire pressures, and more. This information can mean the difference between a successful off-road outing and one that ends in disaster, especially if you’re tackling some particularly uneven terrain or steep grades. Being able to easily monitor pitch and roll can help to prevent rollovers and other trip-ending catastrophes.

The Perfect Starting Point for Adventure

The 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X provides the perfect starting point for those who’ve long been curious about the wide world of off-roading. This truck is not only well-equipped, but it is also well-rounded, performing just as well on paved roads as it does on your local off-road routes. This sort of balance is important, especially given the fact that most off-road pickups are still going to spend the majority of their time navigating nothing more dangerous than a crowded grocery store parking lot. However, with heavy-duty components like steel skid plates, an electronic locking rear differential, a fully-boxed steel frame, lifted suspension and more, the PRO-4X is more than a sporty appearance package: it’s a formal invitation to join in the off-road fun. Features like the Intelligent Around View Monitor, Hill Descent Control, and Hill Start Assist make for a nice, gradual learning curve, giving drivers all the safeguards they need to hit the trails with confidence.

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