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2020 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Howdy,

New member here; I’ve been lurking around for some time, and have even made some posts, but definitely wanted to make a proper new member post.

I’m really enjoying my 2020 Frontier so far, and I wanted to share why I decided on the Frontier instead of the competition. I am also interested to hear why y’all landed on Frontiers. Looking forward to contributing to the site and learning from the community!

Why the Frontier?

Well, it’s a long story, but for brevity sake, it came down to driving dynamics and fit/finish of the vehicle. With the pandemic and spending more time outdoors/country side, I knew I needed to get back into a truck. I had briefly owned a Tacoma back in 2016, and I absolutely hated the driving position, fit/finish of the interior and exterior, and the power train. Having said that, I knew Tacoma was out this time around, which only left me with the Chevy and Ford offerings.

Colorado/Ranger
My father owns a Colorado, and I was actually learning towards the Colorado, but I was still turned off by the size and the build quality of the truck, even though the powertrain is quite nice. On the other hand, I had high hopes for the Ranger. In fact, I was rooting for the Ranger to be my next truck. However, as soon as I sat in an XLT Ranger, I knew the rest of the test drive was going to leave a lot to be desired, The hard plastics and buttons felt even cheaper than the Colorado’s; the infotainment and gauge cluster screen and tech felt clunky and of poor quality. The cloth seats felt like they were made for a budget rental car. All in all, I knew the interior was not a livable space for me; however, I was willing to overlook these major flaws if the driving experience delivered.

Driving the Ford Ranger felt like I was driving a Ford Focus with a turbo on stilts. The way they dampen the FX4 suspension make the truck feel like you’re driving a boat out on the lake, and the 10 spd transmission felt manic. I never knew what gear I was in, and the pumped in engine noise was insulting to say the least. Although the engine did have some pep, it just never felt “right” to me. It almost felt like Ford never test drove its own product. Not to mention accessing the bed from the side was pretty cumbersome, even being 6 foot. All in all, I left the dealership with a deeper understanding on why the Ranger doesn’t sell that well.

Frontier Test Drive
After experiencing the top dogs of the midsize truck market, I decided I would give the Frontier a try since it had a completely new power train. Again, I really wanted to like the Ranger because of the looks, the tech, and the ”modern” power plant, and I was strongly leaning towards the Colorado for some of the same reasons. In fact, I was already writing the Frontier off on the drive to the dealership. As soon as they pulled a Pro-4X up, I knew the size was perfect for a midsize truck, even though I wasn’t 100% sold on the “old-school” styling. Stepping into the cabin was an interesting experience. On first look, it looks outdated, obviously, but the leather seats were by far more comfortable than any other midsize truck I tested. The hard plastics, gauges, and knobs felt quality and well constructed, like they would hold up way better over time than the other trucks.

As we started out on the drive, the first thing I noticed was the steering. The steering felt engaging, direct, and responsive. It felt like a small truck should. The next big surprise was how well-mannered the powertrain was. The shifts were very smooth off the line, and I did not feel the same level of mania that I experienced in the Ranger. The power was more than adequate, and the engine didn’t feel like it was working as hard as the 2016 Tacoma. The way Nissan tunes the bilstein’s works great for on and off road applications, and I immediately noticed how much more visibility and comfort I had in the Frontier compared to the other trucks. The heft of the truck also gave me a grounded, secure feeling when on and off the highway. Overall, the formula made sense to me. Aside from the tiny infotainment screen, I wasn’t as bothered with the utilitarian interior of the truck. In fact, I almost welcome the simplicity of the cabin. The safety technology that other brands tout has never appealed to me enough to warrant paying a premium for, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed that the truck lacked those options.

Thoughts Thus Far
Is the 2020 Pro-4X a perfect truck? No. The truck could use a facelift inside and out, but the exterior looks are pretty timeless. I also feel like the transmission isn’t geared as optimally for power output as it is for fuel efficiency, but even then, I’m averaging around 20 MPG, granted with mostly city driving. However, the truck achieves a more than favorable balance of new, with the updated drivetrain, and old with the “classic” truck styling. Personally, it’s the best of both worlds for me, and I feel like this is a very overlooked truck in the segment. I feel like having an older, well-versed body design will add to the longevity of the truck while keeping maintenance/repair costs down. Sure, the new 3.8L V6 and 9 spd trans are not tried and true like the rest of the truck’s components, but so far so good!
 

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I had the same opinion on the Ranger, and I'm a Ford/Mazda/Honda person. For me it was more that you could tell that they rushed the product to market. C'mon, what other vehicle has a 100/0 folding seat except some sedans? The boat-like ride you mentioned is also a common complaint. I'm looking forward to the MMC (minor model change/mid cycle refresh) to see what they "fix".
 

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2020 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
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Discussion Starter #4
I had the same opinion on the Ranger, and I'm a Ford/Mazda/Honda person. For me it was more that you could tell that they rushed the product to market. C'mon, what other vehicle has a 100/0 folding seat except some sedans? The boat-like ride you mentioned is also a common complaint. I'm looking forward to the MMC (minor model change/mid cycle refresh) to see what they "fix".
Yeah, it looks like the 2022 model will be designed to resemble the F150 more, so hopefully there is more thought and intentionality behind the product this go around.
 

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Yeah, it looks like the 2022 model will be designed to resemble the F150 more, so hopefully there is more thought and intentionality behind the product this go around.
2023 will be a great year for the midsize pickup segment. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon should be all-new, the Tacoma is rumored to be all-new, the Ranger should've had a MMC by then, and the 3rd generation Frontier will hopefully be out!

Where about in Texas are you? There are several others from the Gulf Coast to north Texas on here. I frequent north Texas (DFW) and am looking to move there in the next few years.
 

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2020 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
2023 will be a great year for the midsize pickup segment. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon should be all-new, the Tacoma is rumored to be all-new, the Ranger should've had a MMC by then, and the 3rd generation Frontier will hopefully be out!

Where about in Texas are you? There are several others from the Gulf Coast to north Texas on here. I frequent north Texas (DFW) and am looking to move there in the next few years.
I just moved to the San Antonio area from Austin. Definitely enjoying the change of pace and scenery!
 
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