In addition, the package includes a Hill Descent mode--the ABS computer determines how to best go slowly down a steep grade, with no input from the driver. When it's engaged, all you have to do is steer the vehicle down the steep trail and the braking system will gauge which wheel has the most traction and can handle the most braking force, holding your speed usually below two or three mph. It even works in reverse.

The $2000 PRO-4X package adds about 200 pounds to the weight of the truck, which you subtract right off the bottom line of the payload number, but the extra strength and capability could end up saving your bacon. Besides, it looks cool, too. The PRO-4X-equipped trucks are offered in 2WD and 4WD trim, in King Cab and Crew Cab configurations.

2009 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
Base price $26,280 (2WD)
Price as tested $30,000 (est)
Vehicle layout Front engine, four-door pickup
Engine 4.0L/261-hp/281-lb-ft DOHC alum V-6
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase, in 125.9
Length x width x height, in 205.5 x 72.8 x 69.7
Base curb weight, lb 4171
Max GVWR, lb 5600
Max payload capacity, lb 1429
Max towing capacity, lb 6500
Fuel econ, city/hwy, mpg 15/20
CO2 emissions, lb/mile 1.15
On sale in U.S. Currently