In our test drives I recently spent some time in the 2015 Nissan Frontier top dog off-road model, the Pro-4X.
And while you might ask why test a truck so old in the market, and I did too. But it was there so I did.
The Frontier as we have it today has been on the market for a decade with very few if any significant changes in styling, interior features, or powertrains.
The same could be said for its chief competitor, the Toyota Tacoma, at least until this year.
Test driving a well outfitted Pro-4X off-road in the Texas back country showed me a few things I expected such as its interior and feature content is getting a bit old out and out of date.
It simply doesn’t offer much of the latest stuff you’ll find in the new GM twins Colorado and Canyon, or the 2016 Tacoma from Toyota.
What did surprise me is how well it still competes in the area of chassis dynamics and handling in the rough.
It still has a two-speed transfer case with hi and low modes and an electric locking rear differential. There’s also hill start assist and descent control.
While it doesn’t have some of the more sophisticated toys found on the Tacoma TRD like crawl control and the like, its hardware is still robust and feels more solid than I expected out here over the more challenging terrain.
The Pro-4X adds Bilstein off-road shocks, more aggressive all-terrain tires, some nice looking 16-inch alloy wheels, and a number of other off-road accoutrements like skid plates for the drivetrain bits and fuel tank.
Power from its 4.0 liter V6 is the weaker of the class at 261 horsepower, and its 5-speed automatic transmission is now at the back of the class too. But, it still works well with better than expected torque feel and more refinement than I expected.
As tested our Pro-4X with the luxury package came it at $35,680 which is right up there with its competitors. And that may give some pause as the others offer more of the latest stuff on the feature list than does the Frontier.
The Nissan Frontier is expected to get a makeover soon, though will go at least one more model year before that happens. But I think, if capability and driving feel are more important than gizmos, it’s still worth a good look.