• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Car Review

2012 Nissan PRO-4X: First Drive

RELATED READING
  • Car Review

    In a sea of Ford, Chevy and Ram trucks, the Nissan Titan pickup may be difficult to spot, but it should not be overlooked
  • New Car Review

    The 2016 Nissan Titan XD debuted to mixed reviews, but it got a second chance at LA's Supercar Sunday where it seemed to impress truck fans.
  • New Car Review

    Though it lags behind in technology and configurations, the 2015 Nissan Titan is still a formidable pickup truck.
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION
2012 Nissan Titan

author photo by David Boldt

Nissan and its trucks have a well-established history in the Second Biggest State. With Houston as a major port of entry for Asian importers, and the very real need for Texas ranchers and farmers to have something in their garage or barn with a bed, Nissan enjoyed a receptive audience for its first small pickups in the early ‘60s. And for Nissan's trucks those warm and fuzzy feelings continue, amped up by the offroad-specific talents of Nissan's PRO-4X family.

Of course, constructing an offroad-capable small pickup or SUV isn't rocket science. But to provide credible off-road capability in combination with composed on-road comfort takes a special menu and, if trying to stay within a reasonable price point, special discipline. At a small event outside of Bandera, Texas, Nissan took the opportunity to remind us that established models with just a hint of fine tuning can continue to make a viable argument for both their initial purchase and long-term ownership.

Site for the evaluation was Medina River Ranch, featuring a Texas-specific mix of exotic wildlife, rugged terrain and spectacular vistas. Within an hour of downtown San Antonio or its airport, the ranch is a world away when taken at a 30-degree angle in 4-Lo. And with Nissan's midsize Frontier, full-size Titan and compact XTerra locked and loaded, the demonstration provided a compelling argument for two trucks and an SUV often overlooked by what are known in the industry as ‘bottom of the funnel' shoppers.

Our first drive was in the PRO-4X Frontier. Described by Nissan as offering "full-size hardware with compact pickup value," the Frontier in any of its four guises (S, SV, PRO-4X and SL) is overbuilt, with a fully boxed frame, five bed rails and the most horsepower, via its 4.0 liter V6, than any other truck in the segment. As on the XTerra SUV, the PRO-4X features 16-inch wheels, BF Goodrich Rugged Trail tires, a rear locking differential and four skid plates. When added to the Frontier's rugged construction, the end result is a go-anywhere/do-anything pickup in either extended or crew cab configuration.

At the time of its introduction, Nissan's Titan was intended to wake up an industry, offering Japan's first full-size competition to America's Big Three. And while a number of industry firsts, including wide opening King Cab rear doors, an OEM spray-on bedliner, and Utili-track tie-downs generated enthusiasm, Nissan has lacked both follow-through and follow-up. Today's Titan PRO-4X remains surprisingly competent, but in a competitive landscape always shifting the Titan seems to be locked in a truck variant of Ground Hog day.

The evergreen XTerra PRO-4X delivered the day's biggest dose of surprise and delight. Like its Frontier stablemate, for '12 it receives little more than cosmetic tweaks. However, the XTerra continues to pack a lot of features into its compact footprint. The fully-boxed frame, shift-on-the-fly 4WD, Hill Start Assist/Descent Control and electronic locking rear differential certify its off-road credibility, while a rigid body structure and surprisingly supple suspension give it decent manners on the asphalt. You won't confuse the end result with Nissan's Rogue, but then, the XTerra's target customer wouldn't grab the Rogue for much more than a daily rental.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2015 Nissan Titan PRO-4X
New 2015 Nissan Titan
MSRP $45,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2015 Nissan Titan PRO-4X
New 2015 Nissan Titan
MSRP $45,760
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2015 Nissan Titan SV
New 2015 Nissan Titan
MSRP $38,345
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2009 Nissan Titan 4x4 Crew Cab
Used 2009 Nissan Titan
$23,994

None of these Nissans constitute state-of-the-art entries in their respective segments. But for those preferring functionality to fashion we'd proffer PRO-4X, Nissan's dirty little secret.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
2012 Nissan PRO-4X: First Drive