A recent South Dakota turkey hunts nearly turned into an endurance contest as Mother Nature threw wind, snow, sleet, rain, and temperatures down to the single digits. Luckily, I had the opportunity to test a new Nissan Frontier 4X4 Pro4X, and the conditions couldn’t have been more challenging. You should know that this is a hunting review, not an engineer’s assessment. The specs of the truck included a 4.0 Liter DCHC V6 engine that cranked out 261 horsepower, an element I quickly felt at the first stop light. Nearly squealing the tires, this truck really does a hole shot, going back to my teenage days. It also rides and drives like a limo. South Dakota interstates have a 75 mph speed limit and you rarely get stopped unless you top 100. Even the side roads have 65 mph limits and the vehicle handled those with ease, almost too easily.
This truck has lots of room and I had the seats adjusted so that I could load my bow case and large bags on the back seat. When hauling my buddies around, they frequently commented how roomy the truck was. Should you want to take a nap at midday on a hunt, the very comfortable seats fully recline.
One of the features I liked was the seat belt tone that had a brain. We often drove over the prairie, where the greatest danger was a gopher hole and an unbuckled seat belt. The tone sounded a few times and then shut up. I hate getting out of hunting rigs that sound like tornado sirens. Likewise, when you open the front door, you don’t have to unlock the back doors; the doors also closed solidly, with little noise. Both doors have interior lights that can be turned off so that you can exit the vehicle without alerting nearby game. These may sound like small things, but if you use your truck as a hunting tool, you know how important they can be.
The sticker price on the window read $30K, about standard for a well-equipped hunting vehicle. The mileage rating ranged from 14-19 mpg with the average for my trip at 16.4. The gas mileage on most 4×4 vehicles plummets in off-road conditions, yet the Frontier maintained its average, even on the prairie.
Finally, the Frontier has a very aggressive drive train with a five-speed transmission, shift-on-the-fly 4WD, and a two-speed transfer case with Hi and Lo range 4WD. What really blew my mind was the electronic locking rear differential. On several occasions, we were in sloppy mud or melting snow when the 4WD high began to lose traction. Punching the locking differential button was like using a catapult… we could have done donuts like a NASCAR victory celebration if we wanted. Overall, I was very impressed with the vehicle, its performance, and especially its hunting-friendly amenities. I loved it… the turkey didn’t.