2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X review: A Frontier, challenging the offroad frontier

2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X (click to enlarge)

The bed extender is part of a $500 package that includes a trailer hitch receiver. The package doesn’t increase towing capacity, however, which with four-wheel drive stays at 6,100 lbs, more than enough for the bike or personal watercraft trailer.

Our test 2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X was equipped with the Rockford Fosgate premium audio system, and sitting still, it’s an impressive piece of sound engineering. Underway, however, it has to work against the road noises of an offroad-equipped truck. The tires don’t whine like the dirt tires of yore, but they’re not rigged for silent running either. The overall unsprung weight, the firm shocks and what’s-now a tall 78-series sidewall result in more bounce after a bump than we’re used to. The offroad lugs of the tires will also produce noticeable “walk” in driving around cloverleaf ramps or other extended curves. It’s nothing that can’t be lived with. It’s just what it is.

2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X logo

The 2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X logo is on the rear of the bed side. (click to enlarge)

Nissan made concession to aerodynamics for an edge up on fuel economy, including a deeper front spoiler, sealing off the gap between the cab and the bed, and reshaping the tailgate spoiler. Apparently it worked. Last year’s Frontier was rated at 14/19 mpg city/highway. The 2013 carries a 15/21 mpg EPA rating. Our observed fuel economy with the PRO-4X was 16.0 and 18.0 mpg on successive full tanks, the latter primarily highway miles. Our earlier test of the 2012 Frontier SV, a model possibly friendlier to fuel economy, resulted in only 14.9 mpg. Of course, there’s more to mileage than the wind—driving conditions and routes in particular—but that’s a big difference

2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

The 2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X bed extender increases the size of what the Frontier can carry. (click to enlarge)

The smaller size of the Frontier, compared to the Nissan Titan, means better fuel economy as well. Officially with a 12/17 mpg EPA rating, our driving of a 2012 Nissan Titan Crew Cab yielded 14 mpg. The Frontier, however, is easier to drive in traffic and in congested areas, and for drivers who need a Large rather than XXL, the Frontier is a better fit.

And if going means going off the paved path, the 2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X is the way to go.

2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X, price and key specifications as tested

Body style/layout: 5-door crossover wagon, front engine/all-wheel drive

Base price: $31,270

Window sticker 2013 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

Price as tested: $35,645

Engine

  • Type: 4.0-liter 24-valve DOHC V-6
  • Displacement, cc: 3954
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Compression ratio: 9.7:1
  • Horsepower: 261 @ 5600 rpm
  • Torque: 281 @ 4000 rpm
  • Recommended fuel: regular unleaded
  • Fuel economy, EPA est.: 15/21 mpg city/highway
  • Fuel economy, observed: 16.0 and 18.0 mpg

Transmission:5-speed automatic driver-adaptive

Chassis/Suspension

  • Suspension, front/rear: double wishbone / overslung leaf
  • Wheels: 16 x 7.0-inch alloy
  • Tires: 265/75R16
  • Brakes: 4-wheel disc; 11.7-inch dia. front/11.3-inch dia. rear
  • Steering: Engine speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion
  • Turning circle: 43.33 ft.

Dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 125.9 in.
  • Length: 205.5 in.
  • Height: 73.9 in.
  • Width: 72.8 in.
  • Curb weight: 4,548 lbs
  • Cargo box volume: 27.1 cu. ft.
  • Fuel tank: 21.1 gal.

Safety

  • Airbags: Front, front side, side curtain
  • Anti-lock brakes: Yes  Traction control: Yes  Stability control: Yes  Electronic brake-force distribution: Yes  Brake assist: Yes
  • Other: Hill start assist, hill descent control

Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper; 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain