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Toyota Tacoma vs Nissan Frontier



  • pryme21pryme21 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 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    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.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • leob1leob1 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.
  • ironmoironmo Posts: 7
    In my opinion, acceleration matters, period. Too many occasions that are safer with faster acceleration. Acceleration times may vary according to who is driving. It's obvious, when the times flip flop between different tests.

    The Tacoma felt faster and more nimble to me with about 450lbs less weight. I am well suited for it's 6speed, while others may not be. Saw it's 5Auto rated faster than it's 6sp, is it? Depends on who's driving.
  • centralcalcentralcal Posts: 215
    I would think the professional drivers who they are timing for these tests know how to use a stick. I think reaction time is more important than accelation. If acceleration was important to keep you out of accidents, your insurance would be cheaper if you car was fast, probably quite the opposit. There is a reason that drinking and driving is bad, it reduces your reaction time (along with judgement), not the acceleration of your truck.
  • ironmoironmo Posts: 7
    I think both the Tacoma and Frontier 6 speeds in 4.0L form are fast enough to blow the doors off most 4 cyl and many 6 cyl sports cars. So can many full size trucks/Suv's....Titan, Armada, Jeep Cherokee, Durango hemi. I think sports cars are slowing falling out of style to many people because of all the negatives.

    Over the years I have seen varying acceleration times from the 'testers' on most models. After breakin, the times usually get faster.

    These 6 speeds in the right hands are pure magic. I test drove both these trucks without a salesman and was quite impressed with both brands.

    I feel sorry for people in the autos. I love my Tacoma 6 speed, it brings a smile to my face every time.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    It is too bad that the choice of the MT is so limited - especially in the Frontier. Apparently, the thought by the manufacturer is that if you want a double cab with some ammenities, you must not want the "inconvenience" of rowing your own gears.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • leob1leob1 Posts: 153
    Sounds tedious and like a hassle when described as "rowing through the gears." I like to refer to the hand action on the stick as 'stroking through the gears'. Just because there are 6 speeds doesn't mean a person goes through each one. People seem to forget that its easy to skip as many as 2 gears in these trucks. Not so easy in a 4 cyl.

    I remember seeing a Frontier SE DC 4x4 with a 6 speed recently. Thought that option was available on all models.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    I thought it was available on the NISMO too, but the MT double-cab stops with the SE. After that, you can get a MT in a NISMO 4x4 KC, but anything else NISMO or LE is an auto. Maybe next model year they will expand the MT offerings. If I were to buy one of these trucks, I would not want to pay an extra 1,000 for a transmission I do not need (or even want).
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have recently test driven both the NISMO King Cab 4x4 A/T and TRD Offroad 4x4 Acess Cab A/T. I have an interest in buying either.

    I admit there are pros and cons of both.

    Taco: has excellent interior and comfort
    not excited about the bed (yet, might need some convincing) & 5 to 10 less HP on regular gas.
    -exterior noise was significantly louder once vehicle was started, interior noise just OK
    -back seats more practical with storage
    -toyota seems to be more prestigious than nissan when it somes to the truck dept.

    Fronty: has a smooth ride and more power but a piss poor interior design....seems very plastic and cheap. back seats suck!
    -very quiet start up and quiet ride

    To me both trucks look great and handled well on road. (rugged canadian roads)
    APR is lower on nissan 3.8%, 5.4% toyota
    (canadian rates)

    -prices are similar

    I guess from my list I am slightly leaning towards a toy, but really liked the power of the nissan,

    I have been reading the forums and worried about problems I may encounter with the toyota (ie squeaks and leaks and such)
    I havent heard of many problems about nissans (yet)

    Not sure who is the true leader in sales this year (if there are numbers published yet) or if I should wait till the fall for the '06's to come out

    I am trying to get the best prices as well.
    Best for Toyota so far is $34150 (without taxes)
    =$39259 incl taxes, minus 1000....grand tally =38k and change? (any other canadian out there in ontario get a better deal)

    Anyone have any nissan prices? 39k and change is best so far.

    any reccomendations for my future investment?

  • Take a 4 wheel disc truck and give it a good stop from say 50 MPH. Notice the lack of the nose dive and that big kickback missing at the very last part of the stop? Now do the same on an obsolete drum equipped truck. The nose dives a lot more and as you are almost at a complete stop the truck kicks back from the drums. (The big springs to pull the shoes back from the drum cause this.) Most people overcome this 'kick' by letting off the brake at the last moment. If you have never driven a 4 wheel disc car or truck, check it out! You don't have to put up with that kick at the last stopping moment!

    After 46,000 miles on my 2002 Chevy I traded it in with about 40% remaining on the original brake linings. Unheard of pad life for a GM pickup before 4 wheel disc was put on in 1999 model year trucks. Before 1999 it's like 12,000 miles per pad change!

    GM brought back or still use the obsolete drum technology on the 2005 "light duty" pickups. The Hybrid and Heavy Duty models do not suffer this problem.

    GM's excuse? Put 17" tires for bigger brake surface area over the 16" tire size on the 4 wheel disc models and use the "hardly used" rear brakes thought. GM claims it stops quicker (than the 16" 4 wheel disc system). So? It would stop just as quick if not quicker with 4 wheel 17" discs! When you feel the above drum kickback, suddenly you don't care how little they are used. it's no longer an issue! Then when you do put a trailer on the truck it isn't the time to find out the 'hardly used' means it… As you wait for them to turn the now warped drums at the dealer!
    You can't justify obsolete drum technology no matter how big you make the front disc brakes! So with the excessive brake dive, drum kickback, excessive pedal travel from the drum adjustor slack, and poor overall brake performance compared to a 4-wheel disc design of the same size my money is on the 4 wheel disc. Maybe the "Bean counters" at the car and truck manufactures will catch on when 4 wheel disc units outsell obsolete drum technology! Ford trucks still have 4 wheel disc, as do some other manufactures listed in this posting. It's something to think about when you are looking at the window sticker.
  • ironmoironmo Posts: 7
    Apparently Toyota has justified the rear drums by saying they have a "tandem booster." Wow, impressive huh. It must mean something good, but I have no idea what. Without Toyota further explaining it, they look cheap. They need further explain those rear drums with these comparisons going on. "Ten inch" and "tandem boosters" doesn't really cut it.

    The tests of braking performance indicate that the Tacoma is at the top of it's class despite the drums. I would rather have discs, but oh well. Maybe someone will total an X-Runner and I can get a deal on them. Guaranteed, the next Tacoma will probably have rear discs...
  • leob1leob1 Posts: 153
    The braking tests indicate the Tacoma has excellent braking under that particular test condition. I think these braking tests should go a little further to note differences that arise under harder and repeated braking conditions with some payloads to indicate any sinificant differences. We can only speculate until someone does it. That would tell us all about whether drums are justified or not.
  • jsmith5jsmith5 Posts: 12
    Gotta say your viewpoint is refreshing. I came to this board looking to find useful info on both the Tacoma and the Frontier. What I got mainly from the Toyota side was anything but useful. Sort of a strange religious thing going on. There doesn't seem to be any die hard Nissan lovers, just objective folks making a prudent decision.
    I commute to work about 50 miles and see some hills on the way. Sighting a Toyota on these hills sends up red flags in my mind as they generally slow, which makes me wonder how they got such a following. No matter I guess, they did as evidenced here on this board. I have a camry that has needed some work, so I know they are not bullet proof. (?)
    Thanks for your input.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    Here is my best possible "apples to oranges" comparison of a 4-disc system to a 4-drum system. And, I think it works well because when you want to isolate the pros/cons of an apple as compared to an orange, it is better to have an apple and an orange than an apange and an orple...

    '96 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon (4-disc) loaded at it's meager 900# (cargo/passenger) capacity vs. '69 Chevrolet C20 (3/4 ton) 2wd pickup loaded at 2000# cargo/passenger - I think this is below rated capacity, but I would have to dig a little to confirm. Under these conditions, 60-0 brake fade (this is not to say it stops as quickly as without the added weight) on the 4-disc vehicle is minimal (not noticable) while the drums exhibit significant fade to the point that 'pumping' to slow heat buildup is necessary/preferable. Unloaded (with only a driver at 180#), neither vehicle's brakes fade significantly and both exhibit consistent stopping ability throughout the 60-0 range.

    Granted, this is an extreme example because rarely would you (if competent) slow the loaded C20 60-0 primarily on brakes unless in an emergency. But, then again, an emergency is when brakes are most critical.

    Personally, I would prefer a 4 disc system on a truck because I use trucks to work at, near, or over their capacity fairly often and the better the brakes perform under these conditions, the safer it is for everyone on the roadway. With how 80-90% of Tacoma / Frontier owners use their trucks, this shortcoming of rear drums will probably never be noticed or impact roadway safety.

    The point here is not that one is absolutely better or more justified than the other. I am simply saying that, based on my observations, drums exhibit fade faster than discs because they do not shed heat as quickly.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    I drove my last Toyota truck for 18 years and was a huge Toyota fan until several years ago. I longed to replace it with a Double Cab w/manual transmission, but until 2005 Toyota never offered the combination. Now that Toyota has finally done it, I am saddened by the new Tacoma's large size and *potential* premium gas requirement (Toyota's website notes this potential under a header of LEGAL DISCLAIMER. Nice.).

    My garage isn't huge. Frontier is 2-1/2" shorter and almost 2" narrower, which is of great benefit and it's absolutely happy doing all things with 87 Octane. I'm after a truck I can live with and for my needs, Fronty fits my wallet and garage better than Tacoma.

    Tacoma's a great truck, but Frontier wins the comparison at our house.

  • caltacocaltaco Posts: 8
    I sent a note off to Motor Trend questioning their 0-60 listed time of 8.7 seconds for the 2005 Tacoma V6. They mentioned it was a typo and should be 7.4 seconds and that they would correct. Haven't seen the change in the recent issue though.
  • matt30matt30 Posts: 27

    Heres a good link explaing the difference between the two type of braking systems.

    And about nose dive, I drive a Chevy silverado (disk brakes all around) and the thing dives juut as much as a rear. Drums do not have less braking force, that's important to know. However Drum brakes are more likly to fade after long term use
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,092
    Great article. Thanks for the link, Matt. After reading it, it helps reinforce my previous thoughts on the subject.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • rephluxrephlux Posts: 1
    Just got a 2005 Tacoma access v6 prerunner. Asa, the manual states it can use 87 octane, or higher for improved performance. 91 is NOT required, and IMO performance is good with 87... I have no plans on spending the extra $8/tank here in taxifornia.
  • Hey,
    Just got me a new 05 Taco reg cab 4X4 with 2.7L. Only have 385miles on her,
    I do have to agree with the rear window visablity, It is poor. I solved it with a mini fish eye in the corner of the side mirrior of the driver side. 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. The taco is bigger and sits higher, but corners like it's on rails. as for the power aspect I felt they were an even match. The cab on the taco is after all a cab of a truck unlike the cheap tinny feel of the nissan. The nissan looks cool and the Toyota looks Beefy. I'm 6ft 2 and I just sold my 2nd Ranger, I wanted to try some thing new. I liked many things about the ranger but it was a bit cramped. I liked the look and features on both the toyota an nissan, thus why I test drove both. I bought the Toyota because of the reputation that Toyota has and the fact that i wanted more of a truck this time like my old F-150 gave me, but with better gas mileage and better resale ok and more quality built in. The nissan has got a great little truck, but that is the problem. It's a little truck and for a little truck you should have car like visablity and car like power take offs' but it has a very uncar like ablity to handel well i.e. very sloppy in turns and a mushy rear end. Fit and finish, it didn't even come close to the Toyota, The nissan has plenty of plastic as well, just because it's painted or crome plated dose'nt make it any stronger. If you like the car/truck look, nissan is your next buy and a good one. I wanted a truck that operated like a truck and was hardy and roomy in side Thats why I took the Tacoma.
    P.S. Thank you Upstate Toyota of Batavia N.Y. you guys gave me an awsome deal and top market for my ranger
  • mtpktsmtpkts Posts: 3
    My GSR got stole (purchased prefamily) and now I got a Taco. I tried them all and liked the Taco best. I like the mech lsd, the handling is almost as good as my GSR... tires could use some work and has more understeer due to the length of the LB. The sport package made ALL the difference. I do get frequency match on the the freeway which roughens the ride at speed. This is an issue in SoCal. The Fronty couldn't come close to matching the handling of the TRD Sport even in the LB config.

    500+ miles and not a single issue. Hopefully it'll match my Acura GSR which had $100k w/o issue.
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    Thanks for the word on the 87 Octane rephlux. If the Tacoma is happy with the 87, I'd not spend the money on 91 either. Thanks again for the reply.

This discussion has been closed.