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Toyota Tacoma vs Nissan Frontier



  • bosawxbosawx Posts: 2
    I have to disagree with the praise for the Taco's manual 6-speed. I drove the Taco and the Fronty with the 4.0L 6sp MT and thought the Fronty's 350Z shifter/gearbox smoked the clunky, hard-to-use Taco 6sp. There was no comparison.
  • dheidtdheidt Posts: 8
    Are you sure you didn't test drive an 04 Frontier? They don't make a reg cab 05.
  • My wife and I have owned both Nissan (80's sentra, late 80's Maxima, '95 300ZX, '96 240SX, '01 Sentra) and Toyota vehicles (91' and '05 Camrys, '93 4-Runner and '99 4-Runner Limited, '01 Sienna XLE, '02 Rav-4 AWD). I have had good experience with all of them. The '01 Sentra had a TSB service done. The Sienna had loose speakers and jammed automatic sliding door. The Rav-4 had issues with the oxygen sensor that had to be replaced twice. So both Nissan and Toyota, in my opinion, make high quality vehicles but some will have issues.

    Yesterday, I test drove a Frontier CC 4x4 AT. Today, I test drove the Tacoma DC 4x4 AT. A friend joined me on both trips as a passenger. After test driving both vehicles, we both came to the same conclusion: we both preferred the Frontier.

    What I like about the Frontier:
    - quiet cabin (engine, wind and road noise are quite dampened...almost like a mid-level quality sedan feeling)
    - throttle and brake response was very good.
    - the fact that I can switch on 4-wheel drive as long as I'm driving below 50MPH.
    - front passenger seat fold down flat, rear seats is configured for 60/40 folding and folds up along back of cabin
    - the two Utili-tracks on the truck's bed
    - heavier lift gate (compared to Toyota's) that is also lock-able

    What I dislike about the Frontier:
    - lower rear end height
    - low rear-view mirror placement
    - drivetrain not coated (I checked the Frontier but didn't get a chance to check the Tacoma)

    What I like about the Tacoma:
    - handling feels a little more refined than Frontier
    - angled rear-seats
    - 400W/100W inverter option in truck's bed
    - storage pockets along sides of truck's bed

    What I dislike about the Tacoma:
    - noisy cabin (road noise, wind noise, engine rev noise) all come thru
    - throttle and brake response seemed soft/delayed
    - lack of adjustments of driver seat
    - low rear-view mirror placement
    - 4x4 operation requires me to stop the truck (according to salesman)
    - there were two different 4x4 indicator lights (green & red) with the red keep flashing during the whole time I was test driving it (and the salesman really didn't know why it was doing it or what it's indicating)
    - poor visibility looking forward due to the raised hood
    - poor visibility looking rearward due to headrest on rear seats

    Price wise, I'm getting an offer of $24,900 for a base LE, where as the Toyota dealer wanted $500 below MSRP for the configured vehicle I test drove. Seems like I can get a lot more bang for the buck w/ the Frontier. Thus, I am in the process of getting more quotes for the Frontier as I'll be buying it instead of the Tacoma.
  • 88toylc88toylc Posts: 53
    I certainly can understand your choice. Nevertheless, I should point out that your Taco test was disadvantaged by having an idiot salesman. You can switch into four wheel drive in the Taco at speeds of at least 50 mph (I don't have my manual in front of me, but I believe it may be up to 60 mph). Also, I have no idea what was going on with the four wheel drive indicator lights -- sounds very strange and probably associated with incorrect operating instructions from your salesman. My experience with the four wheel drive has been excellent and exactly as described in the owners manual instructions.

    I certainly agree with your assessment of relative noise levels and relative handling feel. Fortunately for me, and it probably reflects my body configuration, the front seats in the Tacoma fit like a glove without further adjustment. Hope you enjoy your Frontier.
  • pb2themaxpb2themax Posts: 471
    Yeah, you can go into 4 wheel High while you're driving under 62 mph I think. You only have to stop if you want to put it into 4 Lo. I think all trucks work like this. I don't know of any stock truck that can go into 4 Lo without stopping and putting it in Neutral.

    I like the interior of the Tacoma much better. Super comfortable seats, and high quality trim on the dash and doors. Plus I think the exterior of the Tacoma is more appealing and aggressive. And I don't notice much road noise, but I have the TRD sport which has quieter tires than the TRD Off Road. The only thing I would change on the 05 Taco is: add power seats, leather, and a sunroof.
  • brodeyobrodeyo Posts: 26
    I have a 05 tacoma (4x4,dbl cab, sport pkg). The good things: power, comfortable, size, looks. The only bad thing I have to complain about is the engine noise while driving. The ticking of the fule injectors is driving me crazy.... Though it's only noticable with windows down.... It sounds as if I have a baseball card in my bicycle spokes while driving near a wall or large object. Seriously, that's my only negative feedback. I truly can't comment on the Frontier. As far as Nissan is concerned, I have an 02 Altima (v6)...very fast, but cheap on interior...not to mention the entire engine had to be replaced at 38K miles....and they couldn't explain why... As a result, I decided to go with Toyota instead of Nissan when looking at midsized trucks.. Although, my Altima issue was the only issue of it's kind ever reported at the time. It could have just been a 1 in a Million chance that they would have produced a bad engine.
  • The Frontier was sloppy handling? I had the exact opposite impression: the Tacoma was vague and wander-y; the Frontier solid, predictable, precise, and had the best road feel. I live where any drive from/to home requires miles of winding canyon climbing/descending on narrow 2-lane. I have had my Frontier 3 weeks and every time I drive it I am impressed by how this 4x4 truck does NOT have the body lean, wallowing, or any of the other tall-heavy-truck driving characteristics. The '05 Tacoma was very disappointing to me, after the good handling of my '92 truck. And it wasn't just the handling I didn't care for. Since I posted my full review back on Jan. 27, I won't repeat it here, but suffice it to say that the Frontier (which I did not expect to prefer) outshone the Tacoma (which I went to test drive automatically assuming I'd buy a Toyota).

    Toyota is coasting on its reputation, IMO. It's still a nice truck, just not as nice as the religious fanatics claim.

    I don't know how you can denigrate plastic when the Tacoma's inner bed IS plastic, while the Frontier's is full steel. There have been several posts about major accessories not being made for Tacoma's bed, just little "non-truck" things like tool boxes, contractor racks, and slide-in campers.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,017
    For interiors, it all has to do with perception of fit/finish. Plastic, in general, is perceived as cheap even though it can be and often is more durable than other materials used for the same purpose and subjected to similar conditions. I say "can be" simply because the term "plastic" is so general; there are endless grades to plastics - it is an industry, not a single product.

    Composite (fiber-reinforced plastic) as a bed material is not inferior to steel (but that does not necessarily mean the Tacoma's composite bed is not inferior - it all depends on how it was manufactured). Again, I think the argument here is more a perception problem than a true lack of functionality. Steel, though, will likely hold up better to outright abuse (such as dropping/throwing heavy objects from distance), at least on the short term, than will composite because it will bend and tear rather than break.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • cat9cat9 Posts: 2
    Help! I did lots of research, then test drove both yesterday. Although different, they both seemed comparable. I read through this forum, and am more confused than ever.

    Have there been any factory or testing updates since this debate began on either truck? Examples: Safety tests? Noise tests? Was the premium fuel question ever resolved? Are additional options that one truck had (such as leather & heated seats) now available on both? Thanks for any help people can offer.
  • matt30matt30 Posts: 27

    Cool video I found.

    Tacoma can be run without premium, however there is a ticking sound of the motor retarding the compression cycle to accomodate the lower grade fuel.

    Safety test has been done on base model 2wd tacoma- 5 stars
    Also one for frontier but I'm not sure what the rating was- it wasn't bad.

    "Have there been any factory or testing updates since this debate began on either truck?"

    There are a few enthuisits sites, they waver back and forth.

    It comes down to personal choice, styling, comfort.
  • centralcalcentralcal Posts: 215
    someone posted some very nice pics of the taco with leather and sunroof, both aftermarket. Don't know how much they cost, but not heated seats, heated mirrors and some other stuff you get with the LE Frontier (homelink, power seats, satelite radio, mp3 capable CD player). There are pluses and minuses to each, I think just go with the one that feels like it fits you better. It looks like a lot of the early Taco issues are getting fixed, Frontier hasn't had too much in the way of problems so both are looking like very good choices. Seems like most magazines pick the Taco (a lot based on previous experience), but a few are picking the Frontier. You may also want to look at the Ridgeline, interesting truck that is getting pretty good reviews as well.
  • metuxmetux Posts: 2
    I went with the Nismo for the the styling. Sold my 2000 Tacoma for one.
  • I own one in Black sand pearl
  • leob1leob1 Posts: 153
    Saw the change on the shelf recently.
  • leob1leob1 Posts: 153
    I wasn't aware of this until recently, but people interested in extra handling in a Tacoma should consider the TRD sport which comes with the front sway bar for improved handling they say. I opted for the Off Road and am very satisfied with all the handling scenerios I've put it through. It's nice to have a reasonably fast truck that can move quickly on or off road and has good clearance. Kind of reminds me of wearing a good pair of all terrain shoes.
  • dheidtdheidt Posts: 8
    You own a 2005 Frontier REGULAR cab???? Was this custom made for you? The only cab configurations Nissan is making for us normal folks is the King cab and Crew cab.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,017
    Perhaps you should go back and reread kapelusprime's post:

    "Just got me a new 05 Taco reg cab 4X4 with 2.7L."
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • dheidtdheidt Posts: 8
    This is from the original post from kapelusprime...

    "I did drive both the new Frontier and Tacoma ; I have to say being biest toward neither the nissan reg cab i tested was a sloppy handling truck, compared to to taco i bought."

    He said he test drove a Nissan Frontier Reg cab and commented on the sloppy handling. This statement needs further explanation do to the fact the new Frontier is not made in a Regular cab.
  • matt30matt30 Posts: 27
    The some reasons why I choose Tacoma over Fronty, (mainly because of my off-reaod needs)

    -The tacoma sits higher off the ground
    -Tacoma has better apprach and deparutre angles
    -Progressive rate springs on the tacoma
    -Tacomas lighter
    -Tacoma's engine has a smoother powerflow (Fronty is toruqy and quick off the line which is why some poeple like it better, not good offroad when you need slow crawl speeds)
    -Shorter turing circle
    -I didn't want a crome bumper
    -I can fit a winch and farelane inside the bumper of the Tacoma, but not in the fronty
    -Creture comfort (leather, moonroof, electric seats controls) come second to capablility
    -Fronty only has one tow hook on the front on the right side, I could undersantd if it was in the middle but its not. (why nissan?)
    -Tacoma's rated to tow more by about 300lbs
    -Fronty's drive componets are not coated, Tacoma has the black poweder coat all over.

    I realize these aren't the things most people look for in a truck but its the reason I chose the Taco over the Fronty.
  • :shades: First off let me say, I love my new 05 Tacoma Reg cab 4X4 2.7L. This don't mean all the guys and gals who are Nissan lovers on this forum have too.
    Yes I've test driven both in 05 extended cab Frontiers, Thank you for my editing error who ever you are! As well as extended cab Tacomas' I like a reg cab because I don't have kids and all reg cabs no matter what the make TEND to handle better that extended cabs, I.E. body roll, cornering, power to weight and the like. Okay before I get 100 threads back saying "it's a truck not a sports car" or "not all makes handle better" :mad: Stop right there. I thought the frontier was sloppy around the corners compared to the Tacoma, and when compared to the Tacoma reg cab, the frontier extended cab's suspension design showed it's need to offer a reg cab. Yes the frontier is designed to get better handling at high speed in a straight line, but then you may get into the "it's a truck not a sports car" argument that Involved the before said Tacoma. I did like the frontier price, I liked the other bells a whistles offered on the frontier as well. The base motor on the nissan 4X4 was great, If your into paying round about $50 to $60 a week in gas! If you are, than the edge is given to Nissan, How ever the Toyota has variable cam that is controlled by a computer. I would think the aftermarket industry may soon help, The power hungry Toyota owner gain an edge. The nissan is a great looking truck, but in my opinion so is the Toyota. I was not too crazy about the composite bed, but the biggest thing i haul is me an my camping gear. You could Rhino coat if you looking to get some more strength in the bed, most people do that any way when they are going to put regular heavy loads in even a steel bed! As for time tested reliability of either vehical the only way to know that is, WAIT they just redesigned these vehicals' so any thing about which will be better in the long run is pure OPINION!!!!! For me I wanted a 4X4 with higher resale and reliability that the Chevy's, Ford's and Mopars I've been driving for years. I liked the fuel consumption of a 4 banger ,Toyota lets me decide if i want that in a 4X4 option, @ $2.30 a gallon that V6 is cool but I have a V8 in my 69 Buick. So affordable driving is a plus in Buffalo NY, where a 4X4 in the winter is nice and the daily drive 4 banger lets me keep some money for other things. Toyota and Nissan build great vehicals, I think being a mechanic for the last 14 years, gives one an apreatation for good design and innovation, I.E. composite truck bed/no rot. hell if i wanted a work truck I'd of got a one ton. I liked that fact the Toyota fit my needs and me a 6ft3in 225 lbs amiture power lift er, buy the way if your built like me the Nissan falls a little short and i do mean short, you'll need the moon roof.
  • It sounds like the salesman that took you for a test drive in the Tacoma hasnt bothered to read the manual. 4x4 operation can be turned on or off from h2 to h4 or vice versa anytime under 60mph.

    The red flashing 4x4 indicator means its not engaged or has malfunctioned.

    Im assuming your under fairly short not being able to see over the hood and the rear seats.

    Noisy cabin?? were you driving the 2005?

    I own one and could compare the road noise to a volvo or lexus.
  • centralcalcentralcal Posts: 215
    You must be very lucky if your 05 Taco is that quiet. Most people comment on both engine and wind noise in the 05. The Frontier is much quieter and I would still not compare it to a Lexus or Volvo.
  • cat9cat9 Posts: 2
    For those of you who have 2005 2wd double cabs, what city and highway mileage are you actually getting? Please also include what grade gas you're using.
  • dcblydcbly Posts: 6
    Take a look at the comparison test of 4 door compact trucks.

    1. Honda

    2. Nissan

    3. Toyota

    4. Dodge

    5. Chevy/GMC

    Darren in Bakersfield
  • arcpassarcpass Posts: 53
    I looked and feel that the test was lopsided. The Tacoma they tested was the double cab long bed. The testers didn't like the fact that it couldn't be thrown around corners & wasn't any fun to drive. If they tested the short bed model, then the test would be a good comparison. I posted this info on another Tacoma forum and they were several responses that the manufacturers (Honda) paid Car & Driver money to rate their Ridgeline #1. Is this correct or just internet speculation with no basis in fact?
  • centralcalcentralcal Posts: 215
    You could say that about "Truck of the Year". Also, the ridgeline wasn't in Motor Trend and the Frontier was an access cab, not a CC like all the other models. If you are looking for a magazine to make you feel better about your purchase, Nissan, Toyota and Honda have all been named to the top of a major magazine. Test drive all three, one will fit you better than the others. All the models have pro's and con's. It is nice that there is actually some real movement in this segment of the market. The 06 models will be interesting to see how everyone responds.
  • Centralcal, I could not agree with you more!!!!!
    As for the magazine getting paid for a comparison, I say NO WAY would a business ever do some thing so unethical!!!!! Hint, Hint, Wink, Wink.

    Check and see see how many times a vehical brand is advertised in the particular mag. and you might , I say might see a pattern!!!
  • tiger10tiger10 Posts: 46
    I am surprised that you would even consider comparing Taco to the underperforming Nissan trucks(except the Titan).
  • arcpassarcpass Posts: 53
    I am surprised that you would even consider comparing Taco to the underperforming Nissan trucks(except the Titan).

    tiger10: I could not agree with you more!!!!!
  • centralcalcentralcal Posts: 215
    I am not sure what you mean by underpeforming. Could you give an example? I sure wasn't impressed with the Taco, so I would like to hear what you think the downside of the Frontier is in comparison, that is what this forum is about (or did you even test drive one)?
This discussion has been closed.