Every pickup on the market offers four-wheel drive, or in the case of the Honda Ridgeline and some Chevrolet Silverados, all-wheel drive— learn the difference here. Nearly all of them also offer a specific off-roading package of parts, and a few offer extreme off-road variants. The 2020 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X model leans toward the more capable side of the standard off-road package, so we hit the trail to see if the Pro-4X parts and the new engine and transmission added up to dirt dominance.
Let’s take stock of the equipment we’re working with and why I think it’s a little more substantial than the usual off-road package. The party piece is the manually lockable rear differential, which is frustratingly only functional with the four-wheel drive in Low Range. I get the logic: if you’re in a situation where you need a locker, you probably also need low gears. That’s not always true, and the whole point of having a manual locker is deciding for yourself when to use it. This is likely a case of corporate lawyers trying to keep people from using it in four-wheel drive high or in two-wheel drive, lest we misbehave.