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  • 2022 Nissan Frontier vs. 2021 Toyota Tacoma: Pro-4X or TRD Off-Road?

2022 Nissan Frontier vs. 2021 Toyota Tacoma: Pro-4X or TRD Off-Road?

How do these midsize off-road offerings compare?

Feb 10, 2021
We're sold on the looks and stats of the new 2022 Nissan Frontier, a truck that's been long overdue for a full-scale update. Meanwhile, we can't deny that the 2021 Toyota Tacoma remains a solid truck that we'd never kick out of our stable. Both midsize offerings have similarly capable off-road-ready features available in the form of the Pro-4X and the TRD Off-Road trims. Since the trims arguably have more in common than not, it seemed prudent to put the 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X and the 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road side-by-side to investigate the basic similarities and differences.

Pro-4X vs. TRD Off-Road: Cab Configurations

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road is positioned above the SR, SR5, and TRD Sport, but below the Limited and TRD Pro grades. The TRD Off-Road is offered in five trims: two-wheel-drive Double Cab (four-door) with a six-speed automatic transmission and a five-foot bed; four-wheel-drive Access Cab (extended cab) with a six-speed automatic and a six-foot bed; four-wheel-drive Double Cab with a six-speed automatic, and either a five-foot bed or six-foot bed; and four-wheel-drive Double Cab with a six-speed manual and a five-foot bed. Its starting price is $35,510, and its best fuel economy is 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
Nissan kind of presents the 2022 Frontier Pro-4x as its own thing, positioning it above the S and SV grades. It's offered in one trim: four-wheel-drive Crew Cab (four-door) with a nine-speed automatic and a five-foot bed. We don't know about pricing or fuel economy, yet.
The takeaway? You can get a manual, two-wheel-drive extended cab TRD Off-Road Tacoma. (The Pro-4X isn't offered in two-wheel-drive because that's a separate thing called the Pro-X.)

Pro-4X vs. TRD Off-Road: V-6 Showdown

The Toyota is offered with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. The Nissan sports a 3.8-liter V-6 that boasts 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. That gives the Frontier a 32-hp advantage over the Tacoma and an additional (but realistically negligible) 16 lb-ft of torque.
The Toyota TRD Off-Road is backed by a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, whereas the Nissan features a nine-speed automatic. Some consider a manual transmission advantageous for off-roading, while others consider it unnecessarily burdensome.

Pro-4X vs. TRD Off-Road: Basic Truck Differences

The Tacoma TRD Off-Road is equipped with vented front disc brakes and rear drum brakes, whereas the 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X has four-wheel vented disc brakes. The Frontier Pro-4X has a fully boxed frame whereas the Toyota doesn't.
Comparably-configured new Frontiers and (older, tried-and-true) Tacomas are within inches of each other when it comes to dimensions.
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road: 127.4 inches
2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: 126 inches
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road: 212.3 inches
2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: 210.2 inches
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road: 75.2 inches
2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: 73 inches
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road: 70.6 inches
2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X: about 72.4 inches

Pro-4X vs. TRD Off-Road: Off-Road Hardware

Let's get straight to the heart of these midsize truck off-road models. The 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X and 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road both feature Bilstein off-road shock absorbers and, of course, off-road suspension tuning. The TRD is suspended by 36-mm monotube Bilsteins and the Pro-4X features 46-mm monotube Bilsteins. Upgraded shocks can absorb the harder, prolonged hits of off-road terrain and are a staple to any off-road build.
The Pro-4X and TRD Off-Road both feature electronically locking rear differentials, another aspect that differentiates these off-road variants from lesser grades. The Pro-4X has a Dana-sourced rear axle.
The Pro-4X has three skid plates underneath to protect undercarriage vitals (front end, transfer case, and fuel tank) from rocks and debris. The TRD Off-Road doesn't mention skid plates as a specific feature, although a TRD front skid plate (in addition to tons of other accessories) is available for $499. Both trucks have fender flares that are both protective and look cool.

Pro-4X vs. TRD Off-Road: Additional Features

The Pro-4X has more than mechanical upgrades: LED headlights, LED fog lights, Lava Red accents, LED interior lighting, and a special Charcoal with Lava Red interior scheme are all included. The TRD Off-Road can be optioned with these LED upgrades, too.
A new Off-Road Mode integrated into the available surround-view camera ought to help Pro-4X drivers navigate technical trails without a spotter's help. The TRD Off-Road has its own techy off-road goodness with available features such as Toyota's Crawl Control (think cruise control for off-roading), a hill-start assist system, and more.
Wheels and tires—often highly abused while off-roading—are another element that these off-road-focused models address. The TRD Off-Road comes standard with 16-inch wheels mounted on 265/70R16 tires, while the Pro-4X comes with 17-inch wheels mounted on 265/70R17 all-terrain tires. That equates to the Pro-4X coming with 31.6-inch tall tires and the TRD Off-Road with 30.6-inch tall tires. The smaller wheel could allow for more tire sidewall, but the larger wheel may allow for more aftermarket tire options.
Overall, the 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X and the 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road are both great options when it comes to factory off-road models. The question remains, though: Will Nissan come out with an even more off-road-focused Frontier trim to help its pickup better compete with the likes of the even tougher Tacoma TRD Pro?