The 2016 Nissan Frontier Pro-4x easily climbed up "Starter Ridge" in the high desert outside Barstow, California.

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A locking rear differential and a shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system make the Nissan Frontier an adventurous midsize pickup truck.

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The Pro-4x comes standard with off-road tires for better traction in the dirt and rocks. A more stout Dana 44 rear axle is available in the Pro-4x but curiously only in the king cab, not the larger crew cab configuration.

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If you're not looking for off-road capability, the Frontier is available in a variety of different trims and with a rear-wheel drivetrain.

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The Pro-4x has skid plate protection on the oil pan, fuel tank and transfer case. So go ahead, tackle those rocks.

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The Frontier Pro-4x is only available with a 4-liter V6 engine, good for 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque.


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Other trims are available with a smaller 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque.

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The Pro-4x can tow up to 6,100 pounds and has a payload of just over 1,000 pounds.

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You can also grab the Frontier as a crew cab, as pictured here, or with the smaller king cab. The Pro-4x comes with a 5-foot bed, but a 6-foot bed is also available on other trims.

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EPA fuel ratings are 15 miles per gallon, in the city, 21 mpg out on the highway and 17 mpg combined. During my time with the truck, which included a 600+ mile drive on the pavement, a few hours toddling around town as well as some off-road hijinx, I came out with a combined rating of 17.8 mpg.

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The 2016 Nissan Frontier Pro-4x starts at $33,390. The total of my test truck with destination and the Luxury off-road package is $36,525.

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Buyers have their choice of eight colors, but this forged copper is a great look for the Frontier.

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While the cabin is comfortable, it lacks many features that consumers have come to expect. A small touchscreen can make it difficult to manipulate, and the whole design is due for a refresh.

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Still, the cabin has most everything you need including bluetooth, iPod connectivity, voice recognition and a premium sound system. Just don't expect any frills.

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