autoevolution

Tacoma TRD Off-Road vs. New Frontier Pro-4X: Which Off-Road Truck Is Better?

If you’re in the market for a Japanese midsize truck with serious off-road capabilities, these two models should be on top of your list. Which one is the better buy depends on several factors, so this article takes a closer look at both models to help you make the right choice.
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 13 photos
2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road
The new Frontier was finally revealed recently, and Nissan announced that it will be available in dealerships this summer as a 2022 model. The third generation is completely redesigned and a standalone model built for the North American market.

Meanwhile, the current Tacoma, which is also a third-generation model, has been in production since 2015, making it a little outdated. However, Toyota has given it a facelift last year and plenty of new tech, so it doesn’t really show its age.

Both pickups are offered in capable off-road versions called Pro-4X and TRD Off-Road, respectively, but the differences between them are not as obvious as one might expect.

Powertrains


2022 Nissan Frontier Pro\-4X
The Tacoma TRD and Frontier Pro-4X are both available with V6 engines. While the Toyota’s 3.5-liter unit makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft (359 Nm) of torque, Nissan’s 3.8-liter powerplant spits out 310 hp and 281 lb-ft (380 Nm) of torque.

When it comes to transmissions, the Pro-4X only comes with a nine-speed automatic, whereas the TRD offers customers a choice between a six-speed manual and an automatic with the same number of gears.

Toyota’s truck is available in both four- and two-wheel-drive configurations, but we don’t see a valid reason to consider the latter if you’re looking for a capable off-road vehicle. Its rival is only available with 4WD since the RWD version is called Pro-X and is marked as a separate trim level.

If you’re among those off-roaders who prefer a manual, the Tacoma’s powertrain might be more appealing. Sure, on paper, it’s less powerful than Nissan’s offering, but the 32-hp and 16 lb-ft (30 Nm) gap between them won’t make that big of a difference out on the trails.

Cab Configurations


2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off\-Road
With the Frontier Pro-4X, things are simple in this regard; it comes in a single four-door Crew Cab configuration with a 5-foot (1.52-meter) bed. Unfortunately, Nissan hasn’t released the official prices yet, but we expect this model to cost somewhere around the $40,000 mark.

Toyota offers its customers three different choices for the 4WD versions: a two-door Access Cab with a 6-foot (1.82-meter) bed, which has a starting MSRP of $ 38,310, or a four-door Double Cab with either a 5- or a 6-foot bed. These versions have a starting MSRP of $39,275 or $39,855, respectively, prices which include delivery, processing, and handling fees.

Naturally, four-door versions are more expensive, so if your top priorities are off-road capabilities, a big bed, and the lowest possible price tag, it might be a better idea to go for the Tacoma Access Cab.

Off-Road Specifications


2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off\-Road
As standard, both pickups come with part-time 4WD systems and electronically locking rear differentials. Additionally, the Nissan Pro-4X comes with a solid Dana-sourced rear axle, new hydraulic cab mounts, and urethane jounce bumpers.

Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) and Crawl Control are standard on the Toyota truck. The latter is a type of Cruise Control for rough terrain and could prove useful for the casual off-roader. It's also a feature you won’t find on the Pro-4X.

These trucks need solid suspension systems to tackle rough terrain, and both models come with specifically tuned Bilstein monotube shocks. The TRD Off-Road’s measure 1.4 inches (36 mm) while those on the Pro-4X are 0.4-inch (10 mm) longer.

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro\-4X
However, TRD customers can equip their trucks with the newly released TRD Lift Kit for an additional $1,350. It adds 2 inches (51 mm) of extra lift at the front, 1 inch (25 mm) at the rear, and comes with a TRD Pro-style front grille.

The TRD Off-Road is fitted with 265/70R16 all-terrain tires mounted on 16-inch wheels, while the Pro-4X rides on 17-inch wheels and 265/70R17 all-terrain tires.

To protect the truck’s hardware, Nissan’s model comes with three metallic skid plates, while Toyota doesn’t mention them as a standard feature. Still, customers can add a metallic one that protects the engine and transmission for an additional $499.

Although Toyota doesn’t mention anything about standard skid plates, it does specify that its truck has 9.4-inches (23.8 cm) of ground clearance, an approach angle of 29 degrees, a departure angle of 23.5 degrees, and a breakover angle of 21 degrees. Sadly, these specs have not yet been revealed for the 2022 Pro-4X.

In conclusion, these two trucks are pretty similarly equipped, so there’s no clear winner on paper. Based on the small differences between them, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which one is better for you. I’m sure that the exterior design will also be a factor, and the Frontier might have the edge since it’s a completely new design. Of course, the styling is a question of personal taste.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories