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Toyota Tacoma vs Nissan Frontier

seminole_kevseminole_kev Member Posts: 1,696
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 Member 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!
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    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 Member 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!
  • taylor35taylor35 Member Posts: 39
    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 Member Posts: 582
    Really turned some heads with the 25 feet of christmas lights hooked up!
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Member Posts: 1,696
    Comparison between the two new pickups:

  • buffalonickelbuffalonickel Member Posts: 113
    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 Member 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
  • fslaugtsfslaugts Member Posts: 36
    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.
  • dalejr8dei1dalejr8dei1 Member Posts: 5
    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.
  • 4wd_newbie4wd_newbie Member Posts: 5
    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 Member 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?
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    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 Member Posts: 1,696
    what about opinions on the 4cyl models?
  • pricklypetepricklypete Member Posts: 3
    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 liner...so 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 package...so 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 area..so 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...
  • tacofan4lifetacofan4life Member Posts: 33
    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.
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    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.
  • djwtarheeldjwtarheel Member Posts: 14
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 242
    hey how is the truck dude??great review
  • wvfrontierwvfrontier Member Posts: 9
    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!!!!!!!!!
  • drbill1drbill1 Member Posts: 8
    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.
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    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 Member Posts: 566
    but it climbs Mt. Everest!
  • pricklypetepricklypete Member Posts: 3
    The Access Cab prices seemto be the same as always in my area...where did you see this $800 drop?
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    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).
  • tacofan4lifetacofan4life Member Posts: 33
    When I first started looking at priceing on edmunds.com, kbb.com, and msn.com 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 16,792
    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.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • valance2valance2 Member Posts: 14
    was between the taco DC long bed 4x4 and frontier CC 4x4. I looked at Dakota and Colorado, but neither really compared to the quality of ride/comfort afforded by the taco & the frontier.


    Power/towing: Both will easily tow my 4000 lb boat+trailer easily, so no clear winner. Edge slightly to the Taco for the longer wheelbase.


    Exterior styling: I think the roof rails of the frontier are dumb looking, so I gave the edge to the Taco here.


    Interior styling: I thought both were nice. Neither really stood out as better than the other, they are just different. Wash.


    Comfort: The rear seats of the taco were much more comfortable than they are on the frontier, but since the passengers back there will be in car-seats, not the supplied seats, this is a wash. I like the fold-up on the frontier a little better. The ride itself seemed similar. Very slight edge to Frontier.


    Bed: The taco composite bed worries me a little bit since conditions in the upper midwest can be extreme, but I tend to think that was accounted for by the engineers. The length of the LB DC is nice, and I like the usability of the 6ft bed over the 5' bed of the frontier. Edge: Tacoma


    Options: The wife wants VDC and supplemental side airbags. Go ahead and try to find either of these with those options. This essentially meant either truck would be an order. Frontier gets the nod on available options though with factory moonroof and leather/heated seats.


    Dealers: The Nissan dealer in town is willing to give us a fair value on our trade without me having to negotiate it up to the fair value, and price the frontier at 500 over invoice. The Toyota dealer would come down 500 from MSRP and wouldn't commit to a trade value since its an order, and wanted $1000 non-refundable deposit. IE, Toyota dealer wanted me to be in a position where I either take their lowball trade offer or I lose the 1000 deposit. Guess which truck I'm going to order tomorrow? Yep: Frontier LE CC 4x4 with leather, side airbags, moonroof, traction package and radio upgrade. All this for less than $30k. Not bad. Now, how long will I have to wait....
  • tsikestsikes Member Posts: 3
    Hey Tarheel, what did you pay out the door? Did you have a trade-in? Let me know I'm about 2-weeks away from buying the 05 4X2 TRD Pkg. Also, any insight on how it drives feels on the freeway? Gas Mileage? Anything that will make me happy or not so happy :-). Thanks tsikes
  • firstdaddyfirstdaddy Member Posts: 19
    Hi guys,


         I had a great opportunity to compare the nuts and bolts of both of these trucks at our local auto show. It was great; Toyota and Nissan were all of a 30 second walk away from each other! Well, this is what I observed on the trucks. Since I have a family of four, the rear seats in the crew/double cab are very important to the family and me. My kids are only 3 and 6 years old, but they will only keep on getting bigger! Anyway, I liked the seat height on the Tacoma much better. There is enough height from the floor to the seat cushion that my thighs would rest on the seat. However, in the Frontier, the seat height was too low. My thighs could not rest on the seat cushion unless I crossed my legs. I felt like my knees where in my chest while sitting in the Frontier. I also liked the interior of the Tacoma much better. The Frontier reminds of the interior of a 1985 Chevy S-10. As far as the horsepower thing goes, both have plenty of power. Not that I have driven either one. I just figured my 2000 F-150 4X4 Ext Cab SB has 260HP and 350 lb-ft and weights 4800 lbs, so 245HP and 265HP in trucks that weight 4100 lbs should be more than enough power. Especially considering both have 5-speed automatics, which is better than the 4-speed automatic in my Ford.


         You may be wondering why I’m looking at a mid-size truck with a growing family. It’s true that I own a full-size truck, but the Ext cab just doesn’t have enough room for adults to sit comfortably. In addition, because of these stupid horsepower wars going on between manufactures, none of V-8 engines around the 5-liter range get anything better than about 12-14 mpg. I just can’t afford to feed a gas hog like that. BTW, my F-150 has a 3.55 rear end and is a 2 valve per cylinder design and gets 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. My revs at 70mph are only 1800 rpm. Why in the world would anyone need more than 250HP in a full-size truck, no along in a mid-size truck? I’ve never run out of power in my Ford. When I needed more power pulling stumps and bushes out, I used Low Range. Because of the above reasons, I am pretty much forced into buying a mid-sized truck with a crew/double cab. Sorry if I’m ranting a bit. I’m looking to either buy a Tacoma or Frontier within the next six months. I am leaning toward the Tacoma because we bought a Sienna and the dealer says he can match the Nissan’s lower pricing because we would be repeat buyers. I don’t know if that is a line of B.S., but is worth looking into. That’s my $0.02 worth.
  • djwtarheeldjwtarheel Member Posts: 14
    I got the dealer to back down off the price about $1800 when all was said and done. I did indeed have a trade in (it was a 99.5 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro with a 5 spd. manual)- they gave me a decent price on the truck and then really low balled me on the Audi big time (supposedly because a manual transmission and black exterior are not desirable here in Atlanta). I expressed my disgust and began to walk and they came back with a much more reasonable offer-I got close to what I wanted per the blue book value and research. Anyhow, the typical games that we all have to play with them.


    I have taken one long trip to Savannah (about 260 miles) and it rode great...I think you feel a few more bumps with the sport TRD package than you would say with a standard SR5 package, but the handling is great for a truck like this which was important to me just coming out of a sporty sedan.


      I've switched back and forth with gas octanes and have gotten a bit over 18mpg in the city and 19-20mpg on the hwy (cruising around 75mph). Not quite as good as the 22mpg on the sticker, but ok. I'm hoping that the engine will get "worn in" and the mileage will go up? I don't believe there was much difference in gas mileage between the different octanes.


    Overall, I'm pretty happy with the truck and have gotten several complements from

    coworkers...including one who wants to trade in his '04 tacoma for the new one since he rode in mine. Dislikes, I have a few - I have the weird suspension noise that some have been complaining about-dealer has gone over it and has ordered new parts (apparently this is a relatively common problem across the country and they now claim to know how to fix it-we'll see). Also, with the sport package comes the hood scoop, which I like the looks of very much....however, I have a silver mica exterior and when the sun hits the scoop just right, it shines right in my face-very annoying. Luckily, it's not often, just in that one spot. Anyhow, good luck with your new Tacoma, which in my opinion, is still the best option in the mid-size truck market today.

    PS Just FYI my other household car is a 2001 Nissan Maxima SE which I would choose any day of the week over a camry...just so you know I'm not strictly a Toyota person.
  • tsikestsikes Member Posts: 3
    Tarheel, thanks for all the insight. This really helps me. I'll keep in touch once I get my new Tacoma. Tsikes
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    ...I have a '98 Nissan Frontier 2-wheel drive 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual regular cab truck that's a lot more basic than what you all seem to be buying nowadays! It has only 46,000 miles, because I use it primarily for commuting and light hauling around town. However, we also take it to the beach in the spring and fall, so my wife and I can ride our bicycles there. I'd much rather carry the bikes in the truck bed than hanging off the back of our Camry sedan!


    It has been VERY reliable - the sole problem was a faulty (leaking) coolant hose clamp that the dealer failed to fix on 2 tries, but my favorite independent shop fixed properly. NO other problems. (I would have done the clamp myself, but it was in a very hard-to-access location.) There was a "service campaign" (recall) for a faulty A/C line bracket early on, which the dealer took care of, but I've never had any actual A/C problems.


    Since I have both a Toyota and a Nissan, I have no particular bias toward one or the other, so I think you can't go wrong with either the new Frontier or Tacoma.
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    Glad to hear a long time Nissan owner without problems. This is my first Nissan purchase, but a lot of my friends have had PF, Altima, Maxima, Xterra's. They really never had any problems that I was aware of. JD Power looks about the same between the 04 Taco and 04 Frontier. Cost of ownership is higher because of depreciation. Sounds like some people are leaning toward Taco because of reliability, but to me it seems the Frontier has as good of record as the Taco. Does anyone have a reliable source of quality other than "I have a friend who had a friend, who had problems"? Just wondering where everyone gets their information on quality. A new post on the Taco forum now with paint problems now, I hope Nissan did a better job than Toyota this time. I do not want a leaky truck, with a noisy air blower that rattles and the paint comes off.
  • tacofan4lifetacofan4life Member Posts: 33
    Sorry but I never said "I have a friend who had a friend, who had problems"

    I know he has had these problems because I was the one out there until 2:00am helping to fix the clutch problem and replace the power window motor. I was also the one that picked him up at the dealer when he dropped his truck off to get the AC fixed since that happened when the truck was still under warantee.

    I have noticed that the Nissan cars don't have any problems like that so maybe Nissan will start putting that quality into their trucks!
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    I hope so as well. It has me worried that the Taco has had such problems. Really didn't mean to be sarcastic, but outside of JD Power, consumer report (which seems extremely biased), where do you find good quality data on reliability?
  • tacofan4lifetacofan4life Member Posts: 33
    I went to the JD Power site and didn't see any info on the 05 frontier or Tacoma.

    As for reliablilty I am going by past experience of owning multiple and knowing people that have owned Nissan trucks. Also the resale value of a Toyota is a lot higher than any other vehicle so that says a lot about their reputation. 10 years ago Toyota had a bigger edge over the rest of the auto companies but now days it is a lot closer. Even still I think Toyota still has a slight edge... Just my opinion. I am just speaking from past experience.
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    I was comparing 04 models. Only thing you can do for now. I would tend to agree that Toyota holds and edge in both resale (big advantage) and reliability. I am more just frustrated that Toyota doesn't offer a lot of amenities with the Taco. Hopefully they will lose some sales because of this and upgrade the options.
  • stephen1stephen1 Member Posts: 27
    I do like the Toyotas. I've owned a couple and currently have one to trade in on whatever truck I decide on. I finally saw an 05 Frontier crew cab this past weekend and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I like the looks, impressive tie down rack system in the bed, factory spray in bed liner, and price. Everything appeared to be much improved from the previous models which are also on the lot. I can now say that the Frontier is in the running for my next truck purchase. I'm a little disappointed with some of the quality issues with the new Tacoma but who knows, the Frontier will probably have its own issues. I'll have to see how the Nissan drives. Not real impressed with the wind noise of the new Tacoma. I realize that Toyota will probably hold a higher resale. But as mentioned before, you pay more up front and you get more when you sell it - so its a wash. One of my factors may be my Toyota trade. My local Toyota dealer has been very generous in the past when I have traded in a used Toyota for a new one. Will have to see how it goes...
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,792
    My local Toyota dealer has been very generous in the past when I have traded in a used Toyota for a new one. Will have to see how it goes...


    Rewarding customer loyalty? Smart move on the dealer's part because he'll make money on both the rigs anyhow and is likely guaranteeing not only a future purchase from you, but also free references!


    This could also work in your favor with the Nissan dealer, though. If you get to the point of negotiating a purchase, you can just let the dealer know that you are a repeat-buyer of Toyotas and it will take a little extra incentive to win your business. The dealer knows how much he can make off the trade so I wouldn't be afraid to push him a little... Of course, if he doesn't budge, maybe that '05 Tacoma's wind noise is not such a big deal after all!
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • mafanmafan Member Posts: 4
    I "seriously" considered both trucks and went through great pains trying to decide on which one to go with. I actually took each one on three separate test drives (one in the city, one on the highway and one when it was raining). Here is what I found (obviously, this is purely subjective based on my opinion):


    The three main pros for the Frontier are:

    - Frontier has a more powerful engine. I have seen multiple 1/4 times posted for each truck and sometimes the Tacoma is within 1/10 second and other times it is a second behind (I think the differences were probably street vs off-road test). Subjectively though... you can feel it. At low RPMs, the Frontier is just quicker (however, the Tacoma feels quicker at higher RPM).


    - Bed tie-downs. While both have movable rail tie-downs, the Frontier has tracks in bed itself which is much more flexible.


    - Value. For the exact same price (within $80), I could have gotten a 10-speaker 380 watt stereo, sunroof, roof rack, Stability control, Bed Extender, Hill Climb/Decent Assist and a locking rear differential.



    The three main pros for the Tacoma are:

    - Hands-down better driving experience. Handling was better, felt more stable on the road, absorbed bumps better (both Tacoma and Frontier had off-road packages), better transmission, etc. Note that, while the Frontier felt quicker, the Tacoma was no slouch either and actually felt like it had more punch on the highway (versus a standing start) than the Frontier.

    - Exterior design. Frontier looks nice, but the Tacoma IMHO just outshines it in this category.

    - Undeniable reputation for Quality and Reliability


    However, the deal breaker (on behalf of the Tacoma) was:

    - Better interior design, comfort and room. If I am going to be spending a large amount of time in a cabin I want it to be comfortable, nice and ergonomically sound... seats in the Tacoma offer MUCH more support, dash is nicer, more overall room (especially in rear seats), placement of center storage was better (offered better armrest). The interior design of the Frontier is unimpressive (which surprised me for Nissan).


    While both trucks are excellent, I decided on the 2005 Tacoma Double Cab Sport 4x4
  • 307web307web Member Posts: 1,033
    Too bad.

    The Frontier has the uncomfortable rear seat and the Tacoma is just plain loud inside.

    I suppose Toyota could add more sound insulation in future models more easily than Nissan could improve the rear seats, but neither have done either so it doesn't matter at this point.
  • midnightsunmidnightsun Member Posts: 92
    For more than 2 years, I have been looking for a pickup truck to replace two very different vehicles (a '92 Toyota longbed 1-ton 2WD PU and a '00 Jeep Wrangler Sport). Taken together, both vehicles do everything I want but so far I have found no one vehicle that is the perfect replacement for both. However, with the introduction of the '05 Tacoma and Frontier and the giving up of one requirement (7 ft or longer bed), my "compromise truck" is looking much better.


    TACOMA: I first test drove the '05 Tacoma (4WD Access Cab 6-speed, non-TRD). There was no TRD truck available to test drive, or I would have tried that. Impressions are summarized as follow:


    - Clutch felt radically different from the older Toyota truck clutches. Took more travel before engaging. Did NOT like this change, as I have to start up a very steep hill any time I drive. With my present vehicles, I do not need to use a parking brake or "hill holder."


    - As expected, the engine gave plenty of oomph, including climbing up a famous local highway grade. Both the Tacoma and Frontier 4.0L V6's feel like they have gained a lot of power while *increasing* highway gas mileage--going strictly by the EPA ratings on the latter attribute.


    - Tacoma's handling felt a bit vague and wandery and the ride too soft for my tastes. Steering effort was so light I did not like it in the gusty crosswinds.


    - Hood's tallness obscured view.


    - Dealbreaker #1: the transfer case would not go into 4Lo until many minutes of experimenting, driving a few feet alternately in 1st gear and Reverse. It just keep beeping. (The transmission also beeps when you shift into Reverse, adding to the irritation.) It finally did go into 4Lo, but then it put up the same fight when I tried to return to 4Hi.


    - Dealbreaker #2: I am very skeptical about the composite inner bed. The ads claim that the impact strength is higher than that of steel, but there are other types of "strength" that may be more important in a truck bed. (I don't plan on dropping engines on the bed floor.) Another potential problem is warping due to environmental temperature extremes. I also wonder how the composite inner bed will behave if/when the outer bed twists.


    Basically, I was disappointed after driving the new Tacoma. I would have driven a TRD for comparison if they'd had one (to see if the vague driving feel improved) but that would have still left the 4Lo and composite inner bed as negatives. I have owned 2 Toyota pickup trucks so these comments are coming from a long-time happy Toyota owner.


    FRONTIER: When they finally became available, I test drove 2 Frontiers. First one was a 4WD Crewcab 6-speed, non-NISMO.


    - Right off the bat, the truck lurched forward from a dead stop. No gripes about long clutch travel here! In fact, one time I accidentally peeled out. Then I got used to the clutch. I like it. (In 4Lo, it's not as touchy.)


    - I took this truck up the same famous climb that I drove the Tacoma. Next thing I knew, it was doing 80 mph in 5th gear like nothing--better be careful not to get speeding tickets in either the new Tacoma or Frontier! (The salesman said it could go up it in 6th gear but I wanted to compare apples with apples.)


    - Frontier had good road feel. I felt like I could tell where all 4 wheels were, yet it was still a very smooth ride. Steering was responsive without being too light. Truck was unaffected by crosswinds, but to be fair, they were not as high as they were the night I drove the Tacoma.


    - I made sure the transfer case worked in all modes, and it did without a hitch.


    - The full steel bed with spray-on coating and cargo tie-down rails will be just the ticket for my needs.


    - I went back and test drove a NISMO 4WD Kingcab (automatic; there were no 6-speed NISMOs available). Basically, I just took this one over some speed bumps. I preferred the stiffer suspension (as expected, based on my appreciation of the 1-ton PU's ride) as well as wanting the locking differential, skid plates, and so on.


    Soooooo, I ordered a 4WD Kingcab NISMO 6-speed with tow package and "bed utility package." With mudflaps, all-season floor mats, body side moulding, and bug shield, it came to about $24,650 plus another $250 destination and handling (of course), or $24,900. I got this price by dealing exclusively with the Internet sales rep. It is at least $470 less than the "no-haggle" dealership's price quote for the same configuration, which itself is below MSRP.


    I hate to lose my 7 ft bed, but if I make better use of the space fore and aft of the wheel wells, I should be able to get by with the 6 ft bed.


    Now I just gotta sell my existing truck and Jeep while I wait.
  • badnessbadness Member Posts: 242
    Hey Great review,waiting for my dealer in NJ too call me and come test drive the king cab le 4wD,

    but I want the auto,TOOOOOO much traffic in NJ for 6speed even if its alot of fun I wont even enjoy if you no what I mean.

    can you let me know what your truck is like when you get it, email me. lgdead optonline net


    fill in the lug nuts if you understand me.


    thanks man.

  • kay7kay7 Member Posts: 1
    I agree. I think the biggest sell point when I visited the Taco dealer was that Toyota has a high rep for reliability. He also keeps talking about resale value--I see its importance, but at the same time Im talking about BUYING the truck, not planning when i will sell it.


    It cant be denied that they do have a good rep. But Toyota has let the competition creep up, and truth is Frontier is every bit a mid-size power house (if not more) than the Taco. In fact the sport pack on the Frontier might be a bit better (skid plates and clearance). Toyota has also become excessively pricey over the years.


    Im planning to buy the Frontier so far, but Im still shopping all the details before deciding which one. Toyota has not impressed me so far.
  • 3tacoma3tacoma Member Posts: 15
    I have owned 3 Toyota P/U's over the past 10 years. Toyota has become a whole lot "pricey" over the years. I to am in the market for a new truck and I am leaning toward the Nissan Frontier also. Toyota has definitely let the competition creep up, and the Frontier has gone further (more HP, more standard options, and LOWER PRICE. Also with what I am reading in posts from this site and other sites, the leaking and other problems with the 2005's has me worried and thinking that Toyota quality has slipped.


    Resale? Nobody knows what will be the difference between the new Frontier and the new Tacoma since the playing field has changed. I think it will be very close.


    I can buy a new Nissan for $2,500 less than a new Tacoma now (with the same options), but I noticed that Tacoma now has a $1,000 rebate. The only problem is that the rebate is only if you finance for 48 months or less (as if anyone can afford a $30K midsize truck with a note for 48 months) (what a joke). The only reason Toyota has put on a $1,000 rebate is to get consumers to the dealership and then drop the bomb that it is only if you finance for 48 months. I guess Nissan has put a crunch on their expected sales.


    I know that over the years Toyota has proven great dependability and reliability, but as for me, I will either buy a Frontier now, or wait for the 06' Tacoma.
  • mrjjgittesmrjjgittes Member Posts: 156
    Price is what has sent me to look at the frontier. Sorry, but $30k, before ttl, is just too much for a small pickup. From what I have seen, out the door on a double cab 4x4 will be more like a $3k difference between the nissan and taco. Nissan's bed feels exceptionally solid too. I'll be buying later this year, so I can wait for both to cool down. I also want to see if the quality issues persist with the tacoma.
This discussion has been closed.