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Toyota Tacoma vs Nissan Frontier



  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Member Posts: 1,722
    Seems like they like both the Nissan and Toyota:
  • bosawxbosawx Member Posts: 2
    I recently test drove the Taco (V6,6sp,4x4,Access Cab, TRD Off-Road) and the Front (V6,6sp,4x4,King Cab, Nismo Off-Road). I even parked them side-by-side, which made the salesmen laugh.

    This is what I thought (pro vs con):

    2005 Front
    Pros: sweet engine, regular gas, 4-disc brakes, 350Z gearbox, boxed frame, steel bed, 4 leaf springs, price$$$.
    Cons: bland interior, no rear leg room, departure angle for off-roading.

    2005 Taco
    Pros: good looks, sweet interior, rear leg room, 400W outlet, departure angle, headlights, payload, body height, front-seat ergonomics.
    Cons: engine ticks on driver side, premium gas, 3 leaf springs, plastic bed, clunky shifting to reverse, price$$$.

    Both trucks are worthy vehichles. The Front has a better frame, engine, brakes, and gearbox. The Taco has better looks, interior, and seats. Since the engine and frame make the truck, the Front has the mechanical advantage.

    I will wait until the 2006 models come out before I lay my money down. Nissan and especially Toyota need some time to iron out the problems.
  • boarhogboarhog Member Posts: 7
    SS580, you are correct, however disk brakes are superior for several reasons:

    1. They cool much more quickly due to their open design.
    2. They are much less susceptible to dirt and crud getting into them (especially good for off roading).
    3.They have fewer moving parts.

    Drum brakes are fine, but I prefer disk brakes. Toyota makes fine trucks too, for the money, I think I got more value with the Nissan.

    Do a search on the Internet comparing the braking system.
    Scott M
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    I think you hit the nail on the head. Perfect analysis IMHO.
  • dreasdaddreasdad Member Posts: 276
    I read the owners manaul on the Tacoma and it says that only reg unleaded is required not premium, who is telling people that super is required? 87 octane is listed as the required
  • coveredicoveredi Member Posts: 20
    Well, in the Tacoma info I got from Toyota, it specifically calls for Premium, but only in the X-Runner and Double Cab configurations. It's the same engine (V-6) as the other body styles, so why they ask for this is beyond me.

    I made my truck choice based upon driving both, and finding that while they were both great trucks, one of them was considerable less expensive for the options I wanted...
  • dreasdaddreasdad Member Posts: 276
    but does it say required or recommended? my doctor recommends that I only eat low fat foods but I run fine on french fries and burritoes
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    But, how long can you keep at you peak perfomance on fries and burritoes? Eventually it wears on your engine and your perfomance may suffer:)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 15,086
    They run on 87. But, I read several posts on the the '05 Tacoma forum where owners experienced pinging on 87 and higher octane helped. It may be dependent upon the driving style of the owner as to which octane is preferred and how the engine performs on that octane overall.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • saddaddysaddaddy Member Posts: 566
    As long as you are not climbing Mt. Everest, regular unld should be just fine. Higher octane is needed for the higher elevations, though -- read it in my manual.
  • coveredicoveredi Member Posts: 20
    The literature I have from the dealer (The big red '05 Tacoma brochure) lists "Required Fuel"

    Regular Unleaded for Reg Cab 4x2, Prerunner and 4x4.

    Regular Unleaded for Access Cab 4x2, Prerunner and 4x4

    Premium Unleaded for Access Cab X-runner, Double Cab Prerunner and 4x4, both short and long bed.

    Like I said, it makes no sense, since the Access Cab 4x2, Prerunner and 4x4 all have the same V-6 as the others.
  • coveredicoveredi Member Posts: 20
    Higher octane for higher elevations? I assumed you used lower octane at higher elevations. Where I live (Around St. Louis, approx 500 ft above sea level) minimum octane rating is 87. When I've gone out west, where the elevation is about 2000 to 6000 ft above sea level, the minimum octane level starts dropping to 85.5.

    I always thought that the elevation and the octane rating was linked in this way, but if the manual says otherwise, now I'm really confused!
  • midnightsunmidnightsun Member Posts: 92
    Yeah, that quote from the manual has me scratching my head, too.

    I live at 7350' altitude and buy most of my gasoline at about 1500' to 2000' lower. What the gas stations label Regular here is 85 octane; Midgrade is 87; and Premium is 89 to 91 (varies).

    The widely-cited excuse, errr I mean reason, given for these lowered octane numbers is that lower atmospheric pressure means our 85 is equivalent to 87 at sea level, in terms of preventing knocking/pinging.

    However, my experience with multiple vehicles over 17+ years of living here is that I get better gas mileage using 87 octane instead of 85. And no knocking.

    Perhaps the Tacoma manual is trying to CYA Toyota's @ss by spec'ing higher octane for higher elevations (i.e., make everybody stick to at least 87 octane to avoid knocking/pinging problems). I notice that the higher octane is only for the heavier Double Cab models. If it has to do with the extra 200 lbs of weight (or whatever), then that would mean hauling cargo or towing in the other models would also require the higher octane gas.

    Do the Double Cab models come with taller axle ratios (lower numbers) than the Regular or Access Cabs?

    Or it could simply be a mistake in the manual.
  • midnightsunmidnightsun Member Posts: 92
    I looked in the big red Tacoma brochure.

    X-Runner axle is 3.13 but Double Cab long and short beds have 3.73.

    I wonder if Toyota assumes that the DC trucks will carry 4 to 5 adults in them; more weight to haul (compared with other cabs)---->more strain on engine, so specify Premium gas. ?????????
  • tgrossotgrosso Member Posts: 4
    I just checked the Toyota Web Site. It calls for regular gas. But for optimum "performance", use premium. Was also at the dealer yesterday. They have a sticker on the dash,"87".
  • saddaddysaddaddy Member Posts: 566
    My sincerest apologies guys. My previous comment was only a joke that was referenced to a previous comment made by a certain member back towards the beginning of this topic. Sorry for the confusion -- no such thing is said in my manual. I must be more careful.
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    I thought it was funny, but also you started an interesting discussion all the same. I wonder what would happen if it rained way up there on Everest:)
  • saddaddysaddaddy Member Posts: 566
    only tacoma drivers would actually be able to tell you.
  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    That comment was hilarious, but its true.
  • daveg1daveg1 Member Posts: 2
  • iconoclasticonoclast Member Posts: 67
    This has been interesting about octane and brakes, etc. but what about seats. The Frontier has so many adjustments to get comfortable for every size driver and the Tacoma has no bottom seat adjustment. That's OK if your 5'2", but if your 6'3" and 200 lbs. then your legs have no's like sitting on a baby chair and trying to drive. The Frontier wins in comfort hands down...not sure it doesn't win in most other categories, too. Drove both and found Frontier better off-road in the real hard stuff.
  • reddrigreddrig Member Posts: 3
    I have not bought either truck yet. But the Toy feels and looks much more refined inside and out. Materials used, fit and finish are better on the Toy in my opinion. Toy has more American truck looks now. Frontier still has the asian truck feel. I'm a converted Chevy guy so I guess the Toy appeals more to me. Don't loose your mind people this is just my opinion.
  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    I am well over 6 ft and prefer the TACO's seats by a long shot. Yes, I sat in the Frontier, including the NisMo. I think the Frontier's interior is lacking behind the rest of the truck. Come on Nissan, let your Infinity divsion do some work on it.
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    I think if you do some test drives you will find that the Taco looks much more refined, but the Frontier delivers a much quieter, more refined ride. The Taco is a great looking truck (I prefer it a little over the Frontier), but I was very dissappointed with the drive. I agree with the above post about the seats. I am 6'1", I found the Taco sport seats to be fantastic, the SR5 to be ok at best. With the Frontier ajustable seats, you can really find a good spot. Also, the seats are so low with the Taco, you end up having your legs wrapped around the steering wheel. If you get the sport package, you get the stupid hood scoop that decreases your visibility (and it sounds like people do get some sun glare off it). In the end, I went with the Frontier because of the engine and transmission (they are ultra smooth, not just for a truck, but anything). I do think the Taco looks very good though.
  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    How about a NisMo Type R Frontier to compete against the X-Runner? I think the Frontier would look great in that form. I would be very inclined to buy one..

    I have a PreRunner and don't like Toyota's hood scoop either. It's good for the X-Runner though.

    I've noticed nearly every vehicle I've owned does not like regular gas for some reason. What kind of mpg does the Frontier get? Haven't measured my TACO yet(4.0L), but people say around 21.5 mostly hwy driving and that varies on our forum. The 2.7L Toy sounds like a great engine, but no mpg reports yet.
  • motownusamotownusa Member Posts: 836
    Car and Driver mentioned on their test drive that the Tacoma "doesn't like" regular unleaded gas.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Member Posts: 1,722
    I know everyone wants to talk about the V6 models, but there are also 4cyl equipped ones as well. 4cyl Tacoma runs on regular gas just fine.

    (not trying to sound too nitpicky, just that some of these posts aren't qualifing what engine they're talking about which could be confusing to some.)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,400
    I've taken down the last couple of posts here. Try to avoid the trap of letting it get personal please!

    Thanks for your cooperation and participation.

    PF Flyer
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  • iconoclasticonoclast Member Posts: 67
    Thank you. Should have just ignored him, anyway.
  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    In regards to comparing two trucks that are the same, I meant the same model from the same manufacturer. Kind of like buying something off the shelf. Little differences can influence what you buy, even when you know what you want. A little closer attention to details at that point...imperfections in the paint, rattles/sqeeks, the way the truck sits, handles, etc. I would find it interesting reading any differences that people notice on the same brand.
  • steveh427steveh427 Member Posts: 25
    Has anyone compared the turning radius between the Tacoma Pre-runner DC vs. the Frontier CC 4x2? The Tacoma brochure shows the Tacoma's diameter (curb to curb)to be 40.7 ft. I can't find anything on the Frontier. I will be coming from a car that has an extremely tight radius and would hate to buy a truck where I'd have to make a 6 pt turn just to turn around.
  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    FYI; The Tacoma does has rear drums (10inch), but has a large front disc where most of the braking is done. It's a 12.56 or 319 (metric) in size, the Frontier has a 296 front disc. I had to call Toyota to get that front disc size in metric.

    Turning radius on Frontier: 43.3
  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    I like to counter some opinions just to give the opposing point of view, not to disrespect(tricky process sometimes). I expect people to do the same in response to what I say in this forum and it is quite entertaining sometimes. Don't take anything personally.
  • ironmoironmo Member Posts: 7
    Yeah, the rear brakes get little use. I've gone 7-8 years without needing to replace them. The front disc is where most of the braking happens, so that larger front disc is good on the TACO. I think the TACO has two pistons or something like that to make it's rear drums quite effective when needed.
  • jsmith5jsmith5 Member Posts: 12
    I've read that the Tacoma had a better quarter mile time than the Frontier. Does anyone know if that was done with premium gas? I wonder how it would go if they were both running on regular?
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    I guess i don't think it matters who has the better 0-60 time, who cares with a truck (get an M3). I sit in my truck for several hours a day and I did not spend the money (can you say Hummer, Range Rover) to get people to look at me, but to enjoy the ride. The Taco is a great looking truck. period. Nothing more, nothing less. The Taco has become the the Range Rover of Trucks. There are two issues: 1. sales are down or 2. They are doing limited production and yet still have a ton of problems, you decide.
  • jsmith5jsmith5 Member Posts: 12
    I like the look of the taco too, but looks aren't everything. To some I guess it means more than to others. I like to put function over form, especially with a truck, which is why I am having a hard time favoring the taco over the frontier.
    My earlier letter about the acceleration times is a point that taco fanatics like to point to. Based on the recommendations from toyota, max acceleration on regular gas might be something they would want avoid, especially if their egos are attached to their trucks.
    Still haven't heard much wrong with the frontier especially compared to the toyota. Seems there has been enough time by now. Maybe some frontier owners could provide some info. Toyota fanaticism really does no good for those of us who are trying to gain objective info.
  • centralcalcentralcal Member Posts: 215
    I have Frontier, CC, 4x4. I had the engine rattle, fixed (very quiet now) and my fan blower was replaced (sounded like a small leaf in the blower). Nothing else. I haven't noticed any other problems on other Frontier boards. When I was at the dealer getting repairs, the service guys said they hadn't had any in exept for oil changes (take that with a grain of salt).
  • matt30matt30 Member Posts: 27
    I took the time to look at both and found some surprising differences.

    First while the Tacoma has a lower stated Min. ground clearance number it's frame sits significantly higher than Frontier. The mesurement as I found out later was form the bottom of the rear differencial to the ground.

    Both tacoma and froniter have traction control systems, stablility systems, and lockers. Only the Tacoma has a mechanical limmited slip diff, however Frontiers come standard with traction control systems

    While under both vehicles things seemed to be tucked under the frame well with the excepetion of Frontiers skid plates esp. on the gas tank which houng a good inch and a half below the frame.

    I didn't get to test drive the vehicles but I did get to look at both of the suspentions very well. The Tacoma and Frontier come with high-pressure blistine shocks and the NISMO/TRD off-road versions add progresive rate springs in front. Frontiers come with larger tires from the factory.

    The Tacoma had more suspention options including the TRD Sport and Non Pre-runner 4x2, which I will assumes offers a more car-like ride.

    The Frontier spits out more horsepower on cheaper fuel, but the drive train looks like it was neglected, on the 3 Frontiers that I had examined the drive train was untreated and suffered from brown rust spots from the transmission to the differencial. All the tacoma were treated with a black power coat layer to prevent rust.

    Both vehicles suffer from crossover pipe vulnerablities, with the frontiers being more of a problem than the tacomas. The tacomas V6 crossover pipe goes right under the transfer case and about 9mm's of the pipe sit under the frame. On frontier the pipe crosses midbody with no frame crossmember to protect it. It too sits about 9mm's from the frame rails.

    Mud guards and fender flares on the Frontiers are more pronounced which is why I belive the tacomas have a paint chipping problem near the running board.

    The tail gate on the forniter LOOKED stronger than Tacomas flimsy inch and a half tailgate. Also frontiers come with a tailgate lock.

    Tacoma has superior approach and departure angles at over 30 deg. in front and around 26 deg at back. The Frontiers gill though looks more massive and tough, much like Titans.

    Both vehicles come with outstanding sound systems and steering wheel mounted controls.

    Frontier's cockpit opted for the tough look with shades of black and brown, Tacoma went for a classy look with two tone silvers and black contrast.

    Feel free to add more.
  • badnessbadness Member Posts: 242
    pretty good outside discrip. nice impute dude.
  • pryme21pryme21 Member Posts: 11
    Seems you have done a pretty through check of both trucks. (on the lot) I have looked at and test driven both trucks back to back more than once. I feel the Frontier is by far the better truck. It feels and sounds more solid. The option packages are similar for both trucks, ie: basic mid and upper grade. Both offer a off road package(TRD/NISMO)but here are some difference's that I noticed, Frontier offers a oil pressure gauge/sunroof/low air pressure warning for the tires/leather,heated, power seats(LE model,more car like). None of which the Toyota offers. I don't think not having big fender flares or splash guard's is an excuse to have chipping paint along the runningboard's. Seems the tacos are having several problems(leak's,rattles,paint problems) compared to the Frontiers for a first year vehicle.
    The big difference is the Frontier dose not come in a long bed.(big mistake on NISSAN'S part)
    If it come's down to 9mm's here and there the bigger picture is weather you are a Nissan or a Toyota person. If you look hard enough you will find what you want.

    Best of luck choosing your truck.
  • streaksstreaks Member Posts: 64
    Man, after reading this stuff, I'm wonderin' why I've got "Motor Trends 2005 Truck of the Year" in my driveway!! Just kidden'.. Love my Taco!!(TRD off road.. (diggin' the stick)
    They've always been labeled as "generic" and "the Tacoma doesn't have that". Still the best small/midsize truck out there.
    Maybe a few problems with the new design. That will be handled. Meanwhile I'm havin' FUN!!
    Toyota gets the "power to the wheel" better anyway so bring on your Frontier!!
  • steveh427steveh427 Member Posts: 25
    I checked out the Frontier LE CC 4x2 the other day at the Nissan dealership and was impressed with its features vs. price. I did not have time to take a test drive. I told the sales person that I will also be checking out the Tacoma too. He said that they brought in a Tacoma DC onto the lot and took a floor jack to the side of the truck and hoisted the car from about mid way from front to back. He told me that you could see the gap from the cab and the top of the bed actually widen. They did the same thing on a LE CC and this did not happen. Is the Frontier frame that much more stiff? That bothered me cause I was leaning toward the Tacoma. I don't want to deal with more rattles and creaking down the road.
  • midnightsunmidnightsun Member Posts: 92
    Both Tacoma and Frontier can be had with a 6' bed (that is what is being labeled "longbed" these days). The difference is that with Frontier, all King Cab models come with 6' bed; all Crew Cab models come with 5' bed. With Tacoma, it is possible to get a Double Cab with 6' bed.

    The notion of "Nissan person" or "Toyota person" only applies to some people. Based on past ownership, I (and evidently many others here) would be "Toyota persons" but when we compared with open minds, we chose Nissan. In the future, it could be another Toyota, or a truck from one of the other manufacturers. NO brand loyalty is worth forsaking critical examination and independent thinking! (And thorough test driving.)
  • matt30matt30 Member Posts: 27
    Tacoma and Frontier are some of the stiffest compact/midsized trucks out there.

    The frontiers frame is boxed up front and in back, while tacoma is only boxed in front. The difference in stiffness is marginal.
  • canadiantacocanadiantaco Member Posts: 24
    go to gov crash test rating site and you will see another reason why tacos are better ... heres a few
    everyone likes the looks(unlike nissan)
    inside looks like a high class sedan( nissan looks like old f150)
    tacoma rides nicer and is faster(according to magazines)
    and now it is safer... nissan release a new frontier next year maybe this one will be on par.. and not oogly .. it may be a nice truk but the shoulda saved there money and not painted them or added nething extra.. itll still look as bad

    sites for crash test are

    Very good for 2wd Tacoma, better than Frontier.
  • lywqlywq Member Posts: 2
    I've looked extensively at both the Tac and the Frontier and seemed to have developed a preference for the Frontier. They both seem very comparable, but I like the looks of the Frontier better. To me, it looks tougher.

    One of the things I noticed about the Frontier that I don't find very appealing is what appears to be a lack of quality underneath the truck. I've noticed that both drive shafts, all the U-joints, the exhaust and a couple of other components are rusted. Is it possible this was intentional? I've heard that some steals are designed to form a thin layer of rust for protection. Does anyone think that's the situation or just a lack in quality? The Tac does not have this problem.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 15,086
    Perhaps other areas of the country are different, but I have never seen a vehicle suffer due to surface rust on the drive train. Admittedly, preventing this with a powder coating looks prettier, but I do not make a habit of crawling on the ground looking at the underside of vehicles so this seems like a rather moot point. My grandfather has a '76 Ranger and a '97 F350. The drivetrain on both look nearly identical, rust-wise, and neither suffers for it.

    The exhaust could be an issue - the steel exhausts on my '69 C20 and '69 Econoline rust up pretty good within 5 -7 years, but the stainless exhaust on my '96 Subaru is still perfect after 180K miles and 10 years (well, 9.5). It does have some very mild surface rust, but it is strictly on the surface.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • leob1leob1 Member Posts: 153
    Thanks for posting that info, I was waiting to see for myself and figured that the results would favor the Tacoma. However, sometimes you will see varying test results between different tests.

    Many people don't realize that the previous style Frontier had better crash ratings than the Tacoma. I know because I had one. Seems like Toyota did some homework after noticing that. Safety ratings affect insurance rates. FYI, I just called my agent and the Tacoma is approximately $30 cheaper every 6 months on insurance. I know, big deal, but $30 less might matter to some people.
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