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Toyota Tacoma vs Nissan Frontier

seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
edited August 2014 in Nissan
Seem to be the latest and greatest entries into the (ever growing in size) compact truck market. Anybody have opinions on the two? Any comparisons to each other?


  • hkingshkings Posts: 74
    I posted this the other day on a Toyota board. Today I test drove the 2005 Tundra, Tacoma, Titan and Frontier. My conclusion is all the way at the bottom with an update:


    Well needless to say I am one of many who is in a similar position. I owned a 01 Frontier for 1.5 years before selling it for $500 less than I bought it for, so my resale value experience with Nissan is a good one thus far. I really like the Titan, but the size, mpg, and fact it's a brand new model not just a refresh/redesign is turning me off a bit. I've been researching the new Tacoma and Frontier for MONTHS now, and test driven both a few times, and these are the pros and cons and conclusion I have reached.


    Exterior: The Tacoma exterior is somewhat appealing, I like the high tough stance, although it looks over plasticy, and depending on the color it doesnt have the nicest lines... looks like too much going on desgin wise. The Frontier is a VERY nice looking truck, very tough looking , great lines, and I like the fact it is available with Front Chrome bumper which Tacoma doesnt offer. IMHO, the Frontier looks more like a truck and less like a plastic toy. EDGE = Frontier


    Bed: Both have the track systems, but I like the Spray in Bed liner MUCH better than the composite as it just felt cheap and I already read a story of it cracking on this board. Bed sizes are similar since I want Crew Cab S/B in either. EDGE = Frontier


    Interior: Build Quality goes to the Tacoma on this one, but the Nissan is not bad at all. Just a different design. Tacoma went with a more Upscale/Silver/Modern looking center console which I liked. The Nissan Dash/Console is definitely not as modern looking, but is simple and looks nice. My major gripe with the Taco dash is the fact adding the Double Din Nav system im going to buy would be a major PAIN. The Frontier setup will make it easy as it looks to be an easy swap. The Taco sport seats were very comfortable, as were the back seats. The Frontier was fine as well, but the back seats werent as comfy. The rear window in the Tacoma was also much smaller limiting visibility. The BIG difference for me in this category is the options the 05 Frontier has and the Taco doesnt. Moonroof, Leahter / Heated/ Power Seats are all things I want and the Taco just doesnt offer them. In fact the Taco didnt even offer manual height adjustment which the Frontier does! This may end up being a major deal killer of all things. EDGE = Frontier.


    Test Drive: The Tacoma had a very smooth car like ride, the bumps absorbed well, and the engine felt pretty smooth with adequate power although I felt like I had to push it down quite a bit to get some pickup. The engine also seemed to rev pretty loud. In comparison the Frontier felt downright quicker, more powerful, and much quieter. The ride was smooth, but the Tacoma did feel SLIGHTLY smoother over bumps. Not to dwell on the seat height adjustment again, but it came into play on the Tacoma because Im 5'7 and I felt it difficult to see well over the hood (without scoop). In the Frontier I could see and height adjustment helped more. EDGE = Frontier.


    Price/Value: I'm looking at fully loaded Double/Crew Cabs 4x4 and after all is said and done, prices will be close to the same after the discounts I have worked out, but I'm getting Sunroof, Bed Extender, Leahter/Power/Heated seats, Heated Mirrors, Satellite Radio in a Frontier for even a little cheaper still than a fully loaded 4x4 DC Tacoma. Which I might add, I cant even get the Side Airbag option in my region unless I do a 2-3 month pre-order as someone else mentioned. I can get a Frontier with everything as soon as this Friday at my local dealer. EDGE = Frontier.


    Resale Value: Toyota and the Tacoma is well know for it's resale value, but I had a great experience with my 01 Frontier buying and selling it too. While I dont see anyone losing their shirt on the Frontier, the Tacoma is the hands down winner. EDGE = Tacoma.


    Reliability: Toyota again a hands down winner, but I wouldnt say Nissan is anything to scoff at. No problems with my old Fronty and Nissan makes a decent car. EDGE Tacoma.


    OVERALL: After testing the Tundra, Titan, Tacoma, and Frontier again I am going to purchase an 05 Frontier this week. To me it was the hands down winner for me. Another note between the 05 Tacoma and Frontier, the Tacoma was REALLY loud compared to the Frontier. Engine revved loud and there was quite a bit of wind noise too. The Frontier impressed me by feeling more powerful and quieter. To top it off, with all of the extra options I get with the Frontier over the Tacoma for less money its a no brianer for me! However, to each their own! Good Luck!
  • I agree completely with the above analysis. Another point, I did not like the visibility both forward and rear in the Taco. The seat sit low so you don't take advantage of the height of the vehicle. I can't believe that Toyota doesn't offer leather, sunroof, power seats?
  • hkingshkings Posts: 74


    I also agree with you on the front and back visibility in the 05 Tacoma, horrible! The seat sits so low and it doesnt even offer a height adjustment... bad move. The rear window is small and I can barely see over the front hood.


    Visibility was MUCH better int he 05 Frontier.


    I can't believe Toyota isn't offering leather, power seats, or sunroof either but as have others have said they will probably start offering those options later, maybe 06. My situation is I need a truck now. Oh well. It's the Frontier for me!
  • This is another endorsement for the Frontier over the Tacoma. I have driven both and would hands down prefer the Frontier. I will say that the Tacoma feels a little roomier to me but the drive comparison isn't close. The only place I would quibble with the Frontier based on my two test drives was in the steering in tight, low speed areas - pretty wide turning circle for this size truck, but from what I understand Nissan traded that off for better high speed handling.


    With all that said, I am probably going to buy an 04 Titan. Have held off this long wanting to see and drive the Frontier and while I love it, I have decided I want more room for stuff and kids (which go together).
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    Really turned some heads with the 25 feet of christmas lights hooked up!
  • Comparison between the two new pickups:
  • Some excellent points in that article. Thanks for posting the URL. My vote is for the Tacoma. The design goes back 2 decades to the Hilux and Toyota has been pretty well bulletproof through the changes. I owned a '94 4 cylinder and my son is now driving it. 160000+ miles. I now own an '03 Tacoma and I have outgrown it. I am really impressed with the seats in the Tacoma. They are much more substantial than mine are now.


    The exception to the dependable record might be the tip over on the '04 Taco in Consumer Reports. As of this point, they haven't tested either of these two '05s. I know prior to '04 CR canned the Tacoma's flimsy bed. I installed a bedliner and had no problems. I guess if you don't, it dents like a beer can?


    My Taco is on order. I am skipping the TRD this time and sticking with the SR-5 #8 package. This is what Toyota dictated for the eastern region of Missouri. I understand the lack of options is due to the turnover they need to generate units on the line to get these trucks out. And for some reason Toyota thought the Access Cabs would outsell the Double Cab. And I am once again installing an aftermarket moonroof. I have an aftermarket now and really like it.



  • novanova Posts: 135
    Lets here some reveiws from people who are driving these new trucks. I have two questions.#1 What kind of gas milage are you getting with the v6 auto.

    #2 rpm's at 65/ 75/ mph. Any thing else you could ad to help the rest of us out with our choices.

                THANKS FROM FLORIDA
  • My vote is for the Tacoma. I like the outside design better. I think the interior is better. I like the local toyota dealer better than the Nissan dealer. I don't like how all nissan's have the same front design. I did not like the feel of the 6 speed transmission in the Tacoma. I hope to buy a 4 cylinder 5 speed Prerunner by summer. I have looked at the 05 Frontier but have not test driven one yet.
  • My choice is the MOTOR TREND truck of the year. Test drove both trucks, taco IMO is much more refined then the Frontier. I think Nissan screwed up with no long bed option on the Frontier for 2005. I will be getting my new taco sometime this month.
  • Test drove the new Frontier yesterday. Had some "bells and whistles" that I wish were available in the Tacoma(sunroof, leather seats, light in the bed(what's up with no light in the Tacoma bed, even my old '93 Ranger had that, thought that was a "no-brainer"). IMHO, however, the Tacoma is a much better looking vehicle, and there is no comparison in the ride.


    I then made the mistake of test riding the Titan - NICE!!! Lots of room, lots of "WOW". The large center console folds back into a small seat! After the "Wow" factor wore off, I realized that the Tacoma is still the truck for us.


    Will be buying/ordering our new Tacoma next week!
  • pablopepablope Posts: 10
    I have looked at the DC 05 Tacoma...liked the composite bed...and the storage behind the back seat, which the previous Frontiers did not have. I have not seen the 05 Frontier yet, as the nissan dealer here does not have one yet. I did have one major problem with my 01 Frontier, the AC leaked after only 51,000 miles, which is pretty unusual for any vehicle, American or import. For quality, toyota tops nissan, hands down. For those who have seen the 05 frontier, did nissan finally have a usable storage area behind the back seat?
  • Someone previously started an interesting discussion group of 05 Taco vs 05 Frontier, not much interest so I thought I would go to the Taco board. I have test driven all the foreign players in full size and mid-size truck market, my impression is the Frontier is by a much better truck if your goal is a livable daily driver and you don't need a full size truck for towing or transport. Maybe the Taco is better if your goal is to climb Mt. Everest with your truck, but how many people really do this? The engine engine is unbelievable in the Frontier. The Taco feels and sounds like a truck, I expect more for my money and from Toyota. Also, the lack of options is ridiculous, no excuse. I hope some people are either offended or have strong opinions because we are the people who shape this segment. I will post this in the Frontier vs Taco discussion board and encourage people to voice their opinouns From my point of view, if your desire is 80-90% daily driving and weekend adventures, the Frontier is the winner. If your goal is to beat climb Everest with your truck, the Truck of the year is for you.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    what about opinions on the 4cyl models?
  • I am in the market for a new small truck and have been heavily leaning toward a new Tacoma, but I have no problem with Nissans and was interested in the new '05 model that recently came out. So my girlfriend and I went to the dealership and took the truck on a good 20+ minute test drive and really looked the whole truck over.


    I have to say I was impressed with the Nissan. Overall construction looked/felt pretty solid. Engine was torquey and felt every bit as fast/smooth as the Tacoma engine. The overall ride quality was decent (although a bit bumpier than the Tacoma). The tacoma may be a little more composed, but these are trucks and both are more than bareable. The Frontier definitely does seem to have a stiff chassis as nothing shuddered when running ruff terrain. I'm up in the air over the Composite bed vs. the spray in bed no leaning either way on the beds.


    Interior wise is where the Nissan definitely has some issues. The overall materials (top dash, window sill, and especially buttons) were not as high quality to the touch as Toyotas was. I did like the stearing wheel and the layout of all the controls....just not feel of some of the plastics. The radio controls felt particulary plasticy...just really cheap plastic.


    The seats in the NISMO package are very similar to the ones in the TRD I'm cool either way. One thing I did notice was that the seats in the Tacoma allowed for much more driver leg room (something important to me since I'm 6'5"). I also did not like the back of the Frontier's access cab as much as I did the Tacoma's. Some might like that the seats in the back fold up to give you the flat floor, but I personally do not and felt the folded up seats took up way too much space.


    The overall look of the Frontier is nice. My girlfriend actually likes it more than the look of the Tacoma. I still like the Tacoma more (it looks more athletic to me), but the Frontier is warming up to me. I'm not a huge fan of the silver center stack of the Taco, but I love the interior materials and overall feel of the Taco. The Frontier is kind of bland in side...but it gets the job done.


    The really nice thing is the price though. The Tacoma I want has a sticker at 27,251 and is basically Access cab, TRD OR, V6, 4x4, 6spd manual. The same NISMO Frontier comes out at 24,910. Buying the frontier just based on sticker prices will save about $2300. That is not bad. On top of that, Nissan is much more willing to deal around my the savings could be even more substantial. Not to mention that I could have some nice extras like the upgraded sound system (not available in Taco access cabs) and side/curtain airbags and still be over 1K less than the Taco.


    This has definitely made me think more and more about my purchase. Probably my biggest positive I have is for overall Toyota quality. I realize some people have been having some small problems here and there...but it doesn't seem anything like what people have been having on Titans, Chevy Colorados, etc.


    So, at the moment I'm still planning on buying that Taco ... but who knows if I'll change my mind...
  • The last three trucks I've had have been Tacomas. I had a 95, 01 and now I have an 03 4x4 TRD. I have never had any problems with any of them.


    On the other hand my buddy is a Nissan fan and has had 3 Nissan trucks. 96 Hardbody a 00 Frontier and now a 03 Frontier Double Cab. He has had nothing but problems with all three of them!! Clutch going out after 45,000 miles of mostly highway driving, AC going out, power windows wont roll down to name a few of the many problems. The 03 he has is giving him more problems than the other two so I don't trust Nissan's engineering at all! My buddy said he is going to switch to Toyota when he decides to get a new truck! He is tired of all the problems with Nissan.




    As for price you get what you pay for but I have been quoted $25,100 by a local dealer for a truck just like what you are looking for. 05 access cab 4x4 V6 TRD offroad #2 6-speed manual. That was a couple months ago so I'm sure the deals are better now that the Frontier has come out.

    27,200 is just the sticker price you can do a lot better than that if you deal with the dealers internet sales manager!


    Also Toyota just lowered the invoice prices on the new Tacomas by about $800 on the access cab so the dealers should be more willing to deal with the buyers now. I guess Toyota did that to be more competitive with the Nissan pricing now that the Frontiers have hit the lots.


    I am going to wait another 2 months to see if the prices will drop more once people really start comparing the two trucks before making a desicion to buy. Then I will go buy my truck.
  • That is interesting, I have thought Nissan had fairly good reliability. I am seeing some issues with the Taco (I am sure the Frontier will have some). I am hoping others chime in. Is it only about Toyota's reliability that most people are going for the Taco? The midsize truck market has been very small, hopefully these trucks will put it on the map. Very interesting about Toyota lowering the price.
  • I just bought an '05 Tacoma 4x2 DBL cab SB with the TRD sport package #2. I narrowed my choices down to these two trucks and I think it's safe to say they are both great trucks and vast improvements AND both will likely have a few problems because they are new designs-but still much less than the competition.

    I chose the Tacoma because of the resale history, reliability forecast, exterior looks (just not sure about the Frontier yet-just my opinion) and the interior feel and quality of the Tacoma. Also, since I live and work in Atlanta, a wide turning radius is a bigger deal to me than it may be to others-another reason I went with the Tacoma. I agree that the Frontier does have an edge based on price and the options (oh, you can get a Tacoma with leather-at least here in Atlanta-for an extra $1300 list-I've seen them in person). Both have great engines and improved handling and rides.

    Something I thought of for discussion and please do correct me if I'm way off here:data is directly from each company's web site.... the Tacoma has 245hp and a listed curb weight of 3800-4100 pounds for the double cab V6 (this is 15.5 to 16.7 lbs/hp). The Frontier Double Cab V6 has 265hp and a listed curb weight of 4200-4500 lbs. (this is 15.8 to 17 lbs/hp)- slight advantage for the Tacoma. When you examine the torque per lb - 282lb/ft for the Tacoma and 284lb/ft for the Frontier and then factor in the greater weights of the comparable Frontier over the Tacoma, the Tacoma has more torque per lb than the Frontier. So,the Tacoma actually seems to have more power per pound in horsepower and torque despite the Frontier's engine actually being stronger. I realize these weights are only for the double cab and don't factor in options which may greatly change the weights here, but it is something to think about.
  • jokerjoker Posts: 9
    I just purchased a 2005 LE Crew Cab with leather and Rockford Fostgate packages.

    I initially test drove and had my heart set on a Taco but chose the Frontier because...

    1) I like the exterior styling of the LE better than the Taco Sport with the cosmetic hood scoop.

    2) Leather/Power Seats, Sunroof, Compass, Homelink not available on Tacos here in Chicago.

    3) Spray in bed liner. Step rails.

    4) Availability issues for both but found a Frontier close to what I wanted. Couldn't find a Taco close to what I wanted.

    5) Local Toyota dealer not in a bargaining mood. New model, Truck of the Year....Blah.Blah..Blah.

    6) Nissans reputation for building excellent engines and improving quality over the past few years.

    7) Disc brakes front AND rear.

    That said, I'd be darned happy with a Tacoma if I could have found what I was looking for. I dont think you can go wrong with either.
  • badnessbadness Posts: 242
    hey how is the truck dude??great review
  • In making my choice i drove both the frontier and taco twice and this is what i decided.

    1) Both are pleasing to the eyes but i preffered the frontier styling. Just personal preference i dont like the toyota front end. Just looks weird to me can't really explain why.

    2)The options taco just didn't have them

    3)Road noise in the cabin of the taco was terrible. Toyota really needs to sound proof the cab better

    4)I thought both road about the same decision push

    5)interior i acctually liked the simplistic interior of the frontier. clean lines very nice.

    6)bed i like the spray in bedliner and railing system of the frontier. But i have to say the plug in in the tro is nice but in the end how often would i really use it

    7)I liked the rocksford system over the taco system. Sub puts out just the right amount of base for me.

    inconclusion either truck would be a great edition to your driveway. Both manufactures are proven. The frontier was just more to my liking.

    Happy Trails!!!!!!!!!
  • Where did you see that Toyota lowered the invoice price on the Access cab? According to the Toyota web site, they are the same price as always in the Denver region.
  • I thought I was the only person who found the Taco noisy. Slam the door on the Frontier and slam the door on the Taco, no comparison. No engine sound proofing on the Taco. The engine/transmission in the Frontier is heads above the Taco. It suprises me how many people are so into the Taco, not sure if many have even driven the Frontier. I read the Motor Trend Article, not really a very thorough review of any of the trucks. They like the Taco because it has 18 different ways to be order, WOW! You still can't get what you want anyway so who cares.
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    but it climbs Mt. Everest!
  • The Access Cab prices seemto be the same as always in my area...where did you see this $800 drop?
  • What model did you buy/drive? Did you test drive anything else, or just know you wanted the Taco? Inquiring minds want to know. Also, how is the view from the top, can't wait to get there,(hopefully the ac works when i get there, but knowing how cold it is, i will probably enjoy my heated leather seats on the way up, or open the sunroof and get some fresh mountain air and sun).
  • When I first started looking at priceing on,, and for the Taco the invoice price for the truck I want: 05 Access Cab 4x4 V6 6-speed manual TRD #2 was 25,297. Now if you go to those same sites and price the truck the invoice price is down to 24,500 so almost $800. I'm sure the price difference will vary depending on the model and options you select but another 800 off the truck I am looking for is great! The sticker price hasn't changed much but that doesn't matter if the invoice has gone down.


    Now I just need to find a dealer that has one in stock!!


    Good Luck in your search
  • jasong2jasong2 Posts: 18
    I bought my 2005 Frontier CC 1/7/05. When I arrived at the dealership, the sales force was meeting with the Nissan corporate execs for "2005 Frontier Training." I stuck around for a bit and eavesdropped for a while. For the training, the execs brought Tacoma, Frontier, and Dakota crew cabs for the sales guys to look through and test drive. Afterwards they gathered and had a very honest discussion of the three trucks.


    To start, the Dakota wasn't even considered as being in the same class when handling, quality, power, etc. were considered. The real competition is between Tacoma and Frontier. The Frontier has a little bit of an edge on paper under the hood and a few other areas. The Tacoma has some advantages, too. Most agreed the buyer will make a decision based upon past experience with the maker, whether they are a "Toyota Person" or a "Nissan Person," pricing (Nissan has an advantage), and styling. Nissan is betting on grabbing consumers who are not loyal Toyota buyers, like the lower price tag, and the new 2005 styling (compared to the somewhat dated 2005 Tacoma styling).


    Interesting insight I thought - Jason
  • badnessbadness Posts: 242
    hey pal,good luck on your truck,can you tell me anything about the truck,need some impute,what the high point of the truck,and can you fit a 4wheeler in the the bed.


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,083
    Yes, apparently it will hold a 4-wheeler no problem with the gate open. Nissan was advertising it's '05 model as carrying a new Bombardier machine without effort on its website a few months ago.


    My father has an '01 Frontier CC SB in which he carries his Honda 4-wheeler quite frequently. He has a large tool box in the front of the bed though, so he has rigged a double-ramp system on which the machine is driven up into the bed and then the front wheels are driven up onto the tool box. He can actually close the gate on his, but if it was flat in the bed, he could not. It rides like the machine is not even there which is great for hunting and taking it off road with the 4-wheeler on board.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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