Considering a Nissan Frontier? Maybe you’re interested in a Ford Ranger? Can’t decide between the two midsize offerings from Nissan and Ford—and need a little help figuring out what fits your budget, while giving you the features you want? Comparing the 2022 Nissan Frontier vs the 2022 Ford Ranger comes down to more than just MSRP and basic features. When comparing vehicles, you also have to look at trim variations, mileage, powertrain capabilities, and functionality.
If you were interested in both midsize trucks but were more so gearing toward something you could take off-road, you’re probably wondering which one gives you the best deal for your dollars? That’s exactly what I’m examining below.
Ranger vs. Frontier Off-Road Trims
Usually, you can get the most out of a truck’s off-road capabilities with a dedicated trim. The F-150 has the Raptor, the Ram has the TRX, and the Colorado and Silverado each have a ZR2.
So what’s the equivalent of that for the Ranger? Well, it actually doesn’t have a dedicated off-road trim like its nearest siblings and rivals. It’s an odd choice from Ford, but you actually have to go with one of the pre-designated trims and then add off-road packages to them. For reference, the base MSRP of the Ranger is $25,500 for the XL, about $29,000 for the XLT, and about $33,000 for the Lariat.
The 2022 Nissan Frontier, however, allows you to simply choose the Pro-X or the Pro-4X to have instant access to off-road capabilities. These trims come pre-packaged with everything you need to tackle dirt trails, rocky mounds, and desert hillsides. The Pro-X is basically a rear-wheel-drive iteration of the Pro-4X’s four-wheel-drive configuration. The Pro-X has a starting MSRP around $34,000, while the Pro-4X has a starting MSRP close to $38,000. However, you get more protection, off-road capabilities, and suspension tuning with the Pro-4X, which is why it costs a bit more than the Pro-X.
By comparison, the two off-road trims for the Frontier are slightly more expensive than even the top-most trim for the Ranger, the Lariat. However, where the Frontier has higher upfront costs, there are no worries about hidden extras if you want to go off-road. The Ranger, however, has a lot of extra hidden costs and add-on packages required if you want to head off-road. Take a look.
Ranger Off-Road Package Costs
Now, the good part about the Ranger is that any of the trims can be modified with off-road packages. This is a great way to buff up the Ranger and make it more capable. The XL trim, for example, has access to the FX4 Off-Road Package. However, you must have the XL configured in four-wheel drive, so the base MSRP goes up to around $29,355 after the basic reconfiguration is done. Then, on top of that, you have to add the FX4 package, which also comes bundled with the STX Appearance Package, which tacks on an extra $3,525 to the base MSRP.
If you want the added features available with the XLT trim, such as additional Ford Co-Pilot360 safety features, larger available wheels, and access to the Tremor package, obviously you’ll be paying extra. Like the XL, the XLT also has to be configured in four-wheel drive to access either the FX4 or Tremor add-ons. Plus, with the FX4, you’re looking at an additional $1,295, which actually makes it a lot more cost-efficient than the XL trim. However, the Tremor Package raises the price significantly since it also requires the XLT 301A Equipment Group. This tacks on an additional $1,670. When combined with the Tremor Package, which is $4,290, the XLT will run you about $42,825 when all is said and done, which puts it well over $6,000 more than the Frontier’s Pro-4X trim.
The Lariat is in the same boat as the others. If you wanted the additional luxury and convenience features, but wanted to go off-road, you will need the FX4 or Tremor Package. Thus, the price of the Lariat goes up significantly when configured in four-wheel drive and the SuperCrew cab with the packages included, totaling approximately $45,195 (all figures courtesy of Ford).
Ranger Off-Road Package Capabilities
The FX4 Package comes with an off-road tuned suspension with monotube shocks, 17-in. or 18-in. OWL tires, front tow hooks, a steel bash plate, special badging and decals, as well as skid plates over the radiator, steering, transfer case, and fuel tank. It comes standard with an electronic locking rear differential. There’s also a software suite for off-road traversal, including a Terrain Management System and Trail Control.
The Tremor Package features FOX dampers with rear reservoirs, off-road hoop steps, an electronic-locking rear differential, black steel exposed bash plates, 17-in. magnetic-painted aluminum Tremor wheels with all-terrain tires, specialized wheel arch flares, front and rear bumpers, tow hooks, and Tremor decals and badging. It also comes with six upfitter switches and a special off-road screen cluster. Much like the FX4 package, you also have access to the Terrain Management System and Trail Control. For a little extra comfort, the Tremor also includes Miko Suede power front bucket seats. Keep in mind, you can’t combine the FX4 and Tremor packages.
Frontier Off-Road Capabilities
When it comes to the Frontier Pro-X and Pro-4X, you have ready-made off-road access with both trims. In the Pro-X case, it’s a two-wheel-drive off-road machine, which comes with 17-in. dark-aluminum alloy wheels with over 30-in. tires. Black over-fenders, a front skid plate, and two red tow hooks are accessible from the front of the vehicle.
The Pro-X also comes with Bilstein’s off-road performance shock absorbers that are paired with an external reservoir, which not only extends the life of the shocks but helps reduce wear on the vehicle’s suspension. To further help with the off-road travels, the Frontier Pro-X also comes equipped with rear Dana axles, which are regarded as some of the best in the business. The Pro-X is only a two-wheel-drive version of the Frontier, but it’s still more than capable of handling many off-road tasks.
The Pro-4X, however, is the four-wheel-drive iteration of the Pro-X, or the 4×4 version. This gives you full four-wheel drive capabilities thanks to the transfer case, which means you have additional torque distribution and traction control. The Pro-4X comes with everything that the Pro-X features, but with a total of three skid plates. That means you get two additional skid plates on the undercarriage to protect the transfer case and fuel tank—for when you’re traveling off-road. The Pro-4X also comes with a rear locking differential, so you get locked-in traction control with the rear axle.
You also have access to more off-road infotainment functionality, including the all-around view so you can see up, down, and around the Frontier during your travels—using the NissanConnect 9-in. color HD touchscreen display. The Pro-4X is also equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers. Both the Pro-X and Pro-4X also come with Lava Red contrast stitching for the interior.
Ranger Packages vs. Frontier Trims
Overall, you would pay more if you opt for the XLT or Lariat trims of the 2022 Ford Ranger with the FX4 or Tremor packages. The only Ranger setup that would compete with the Frontier’s costs would be the XL trim with the FX4 Package, but then you would be giving up a lot of other features by comparison, especially the suspension, the skid plates, and the shocks.
The Pro-X and Pro-4X have higher entry-level costs than the Ford Ranger’s three available trims, but you do get everything you need for off-road traversal right out of the gate. The upfront costs might scare some potential truck shoppers off, but you don’t have to buy anything extra. Remember: you can still buy the Pro-X and Pro-4X used and still get the full suite of off-road equipment installed—regardless of the package or equipment group setup.
With the 2022 Ford Ranger, though, keep in mind that if you opt to buy used and want the off-road equipment, you’ll have to hope the dealer already has the FX4 or Tremor packages installed. Otherwise, you’re fresh out of luck when it comes to getting an off-road Ranger used. This not only gives the Frontier a significant advantage over the Ranger in terms of total cost savings, but it also makes it a lot more attractive for those looking to buy a used midsize pickup that’s off-road ready, straight off the lot.