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I just joined and am looking for a Frontier. I have a few questions that I hope will help me make a smart choice for a change.

My first is transmission: Is 4WD and automatic okay for offroad? I've never owned an auto and just have a prejudice against them. It just seems that virtually all Frontiers are auto. A search I did found 4 used manual ones within 500 miles of me.I

I retired to southern Arizona recently. I've had a Tacoma for 20 years and its beat to death by Colorado. The new ones are too bloated so the Frontier is the way I want to go. I like going off road to find rocks and fun scenery. I'm not into rock crawling, only done it a few times by accident.

Would a Pro-4X be the best choice for me? I look at the hundred extras that come with and I see a few that are useful and lots that seem like a waste.

The other option is to get a more basic one and get it fixed up for what I need. Since I know nothing about these I'd use a shop. I guess skid plates would be first then a little lift? It would be gradual.

99% of the off road I've done in AZ could be done by a 2WD with decent clearance. Pipeline and electrical roads, old mine roads. Some fire roads have been hairy. Even some roads marked four wheel weren't that bad.

Steve
Sierra Vista, AZ
 

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The Jatco RE5R05A is a really good automatic transmission. It shifts smooth, it's durable and the 5th gear provides decent fuel mileage on highway cruises. It's not a manual trans, but as an automatic, it's pretty good. I Admin at TheNissanPath and the only trans available in North America is the automatic and we have plenty of guys that go off-roading with it.
Here are the biggest differences that separate the Pro 4x versus other trim options: The Pro 4x has Hill Decent Control and Hill Start Assist an an electronic locking rear diff. These are options that can't just be added onto non-Pro 4x trims. The Pro 4x also has the Dana 44 rear, compared to the C200K rear used in the non Pro 4x trims with automatic transmissions. Other than that, a lot of stuff can be added to a non-Pro 4x trim to put it on par with the Pro 4x. You can purchase the extra skid plates and bolt them on, but to be honest, the factory skids on the Pro 4x leave a lot to be desired if you are going serious off-roading. Bilstein shocks and struts can be added. If not mistaken, I believe the springs on the Pro 4x are a bit stiffer. The Pro 4x tires are a little taller. The Rockford-Fosgate audio system is available in the Pro 4x but may not be available in other trims. Of course, non-Pro 4x trims won't have the Pro 4x embroidered seats nor the decals. Only you can decide whether it's worth the extra price or not.
 
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I just went through the same debate. I’ve considered both for years. I just wouldn’t have been happy if i didn’t get the pro. The pro is better out of the gate and will be easier to build if I need to
 

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Sierra, my son and I chose a CPO Pro-4x as we didn't have the time and skills to add stuff like suspension mods. The pro-4x trim gave us what we needed for hunting and off=road trips. And the Rockford Fosgate is:cool:
 

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+1 I have a Pro4 as well, owned since last March, many mods already, off-road about 340 miles now, two fairly technical trail runs under her belt, one in Maine and one in VA at about 2.5MPH crawling average; tote and logging roads in Maine at 25 to 40MPH, mixed gravel & scree, washboard; Bilstein shocks handled it all in stride.
4.0L 4WD Auto just like you are discussing, 101% no regrets, only used the rear diff locker a few times but if you need it and don't have it, it's too late to regret it.
 
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If you are wanting a Crew cab you can get a 6 speed manual Pro-4X, but you may have to order it.
 

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Nissan modded the hell out of a SV for the Overland Expo West. They also modded a Titan ProX, but I thought it was interesting that they chose to use the SV Frontier. They chose it to demonstrate that you could take one o’ their “base” models & turn it into a kick a$$ rig. Check it out.
 

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I flew to Seattle to pick up my brand new Pro-4X manual. It was the closest 6 speed manual to me, and I got it for $29k. Love it! Already used the locker quite a few times.

The great thing about the Pro-4X is that you can use it for a few years until you figure out what else you need. It is setup pretty well from the factory.

So happy with the purchase. Loving it!

So far I’ve added a Rough Country spacer/shackle lift, White Knuckle rock sliders, hitch and factory 4-pin trailer harness, short whip antenna, removed the sway bar, and I always carry a compressor, and recovery equipment.

James

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I have the Pro4x model as well. Far cheaper than a similarly equipped Toyota Tacoma (which I just drove for a business trip for several days). I enjoy the fact that it doesn't have all the tech found some other vehicles, wife's fully loaded Explorer was forever in the job. Plus it is pretty capable for what I need, beach driving as opposed to rock crawling. Sound system is great and I enjoy having something that is not too common.
 

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So far I’ve added a Rough Country spacer/shackle lift, White Knuckle rock sliders, hitch and factory 4-pin trailer harness, short whip antenna, removed the sway bar, and I always carry a compressor, and recovery equipment.
That factory trailer plug is in a bad spot, and is one of the first things I damaged on my truck while offroading. I'd suggest relocating it to the bumper, next to the license plate.
 

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I'd go for the Pro-4x auto. I drove a manual the last 20 years and don't miss it. I also never wanted a manual in a truck, but they are reliable. The AT in the Frontier is really nice IMO. The shift quality is very good.
 

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I'm partial to the manual, but I like to row my own gears because it's more engaging. If I had a heavy traffic commute that might be a different story.

The auto doesn't have as good of gearing for off roading (the P4X auto has 3.36 ratios in the diffs and 3.84 first gear, vs. 3.69 and 4.39 for the manual), but you have the advantage of a torque converter. With the manual you might be slipping the clutch more, unless you re-gear.

It sounds like you have a number of manual options near to you. I would definitely check those out.

Here is a gear ratio chart for reference:
308055
 

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^^^ That is an interesting chart. It seems most 6-sp guys feel the reverse gearing is too tall for a number of maneuvers IE backing a trailer up a hill. So, I'm surprised that the 6-sp reverse is 3.966 whereas the AT's in 2.765.
And, fwiw...my SV 6-sp 4x2 M226 rear diff gearing is 3.54 vs the P4X's 3.69.

LOVE my 6-sp.
 

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^^^ That is an interesting chart. It seems most 6-sp guys feel the reverse gearing is too tall for a number of maneuvers IE backing a trailer up a hill. So, I'm surprised that the 6-sp reverse is 3.966 whereas the AT's in 2.765.
And, fwiw...my SV 6-sp 4x2 M226 rear diff gearing is 3.54 vs the P4X's 3.69.

LOVE my 6-sp.
I agree that reverse on my SV 6-sp is too tall. I don't need to back out of my driveway at 20 mph lol.
 

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I drove manuals for most of my life, including off-road, but I finally gave up as they have become so hard to find on used vehicles, and I won't by new. I just can't see buying something that loses a big chunk of its value the minute you drive off the dealer lot. I've found I actually prefer an automatic for offroad use. Low range plus a torque converter is great for rock crawling, or any other situation where you need to go really slow, and I don't have to do the heel-and-toe uphill launches that are just about unavoidable offroad with a manual (usually when you start up a steep hill in low range second, and realize halfway that you really need low range first). The Frontier automatic has a nice low first gear, too. I agree that the Jatco 5 speed auto is a very nice auto, and quite well suited to the application. Now, if somebody offered to trade me a six speed manual Frontier straight up for mine, I would think seriously about it, as I do kind of miss a manual sometimes, and I think a manual Frontier would be awesome. OTOH, offroad or in slow traffic, I really prefer the auto.
 

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I drove manuals for most of my life, including off-road, but I finally gave up as they have become so hard to find on used vehicles, and I won't by new. I just can't see buying something that loses a big chunk of its value the minute you drive off the dealer lot. I've found I actually prefer an automatic for offroad use. Low range plus a torque converter is great for rock crawling, or any other situation where you need to go really slow, and I don't have to do the heel-and-toe uphill launches that are just about unavoidable offroad with a manual (usually when you start up a steep hill in low range second, and realize halfway that you really need low range first). The Frontier automatic has a nice low first gear, too. I agree that the Jatco 5 speed auto is a very nice auto, and quite well suited to the application. Now, if somebody offered to trade me a six speed manual Frontier straight up for mine, I would think seriously about it, as I do kind of miss a manual sometimes, and I think a manual Frontier would be awesome. OTOH, offroad or in slow traffic, I really prefer the auto.
I feel exactly the same. I've always preferred AT's in a truck. The Frontier has a nice amount of torque and 1st/2nd is good for off-roading. I'm also tired of driving a manual (sign of my age I guess). My last car was a Mazda 3 with the nice 6spd manual. It was a nice manual but I don't miss it. The one advantage I suppose is manuals are very reliable and simplistic compared to AT's.
 

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I have a highly modified SV, crew cab, automatic. There are a great number of obvious things where the automatic is superior as many have stated.

If it were me I’d get the Pro4X. Aftermarket parts and upgrades are not easily found and fewer options are available compared to your old Taco (or a new one). As such they are fairly expensive in comparison. My ARB lockers were over $1k a piece. Another $800 to have the front installed professionally and did the rear myself.

If I were to do it over I would have gone with the manual transmission. I like fewer electronic do-dads to fail while on a remote trail. The auto is completely controlled by the computer so that alone is a giant negative in my column. With that said these trucks are great all around and either way you go you’ll be happy I’m sure.

Definitely add rock sliders and skid plates as a minimum. I have Hefty Fabworks skids front to rear and Shrockworks rocksliders. In Arizona I’d say these are minimum for any trail you may require a rear locker. Both have saved me from damage in many situations, including in Arizona. Just finished the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail a week ago and both were needed/used several times a day (took us 5 days to complete the trail). :)
 

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I looked hard for a pro-4x 6 speed. Live in Florida, took a 1 way flight to Alabama to get it and drove it 600 miles home. No regrets.
2013, 55k miles $21,800 out the door no dings or dents, mechanically perfect, under warranty.

If I got an automatic I'd have regretted lack of patience every time I drove it.
 
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