Toyota Tacoma vs. Nissan Frontier

jarrad1jarrad1 Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I am looking to buy either a 2000 Toyota Tacoma or
a 2000 Nissan Frontier. I have narrowed the
selection down to the 4x4's or the Desert
Runner/PreRunner. Regardless, I will be buying a
V6 in either of the models. I live in Arizona, so
I don't really need the 4x4 feature. Can anyone
please send me some recommendations, theories,
thoughts, experiences, etc.

Thanks for the help!


  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    I know I am going never going to hear the end of this but...
    If your going to buy a 4cyl Toyota or Nissan, I have to give my vote to the Nissan 2.4 NapsZ engine. This 4cyl is built like a tank and give great peformance in its 2WD version.. I wish I still had the link showing how this engine is built but its been around for years and has been improved greatly....
  • goobagooba Member Posts: 391
    I live in AZ also andI have to recommend getting the 4wd.For the best value,I think you should get the Nissan.The Toyota is a good truck and will have a little better power then the Nissan but the difference in cost makes the Nissan look better.I have a Nissan CC 4x4 with the limited slip differential and love it.You can't go wrong with either truck.
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    I agree with Vince8 and Gooba, the Nissan might have an edge price-wise. Both trucks are excellent. I've had both older Toyota and now a 4X4 C.C. SE love them both. The thing I would look at next would be the dealer, it might pay to have the Toyota if the dealer is going to give you better service. All things being equal(other than Toyota might have a more powerful V-6) the Nissan in my opinion is better value.
  • jarrad1jarrad1 Member Posts: 5
    I am in agreement that the Nissan is a better value. Do either of the trucks have better reliability? And, in my situation, would you spend the extra money for the 4x4? I live in Phoenix, but I go to Sedona frequently, and would like to start exploring more of the state. I don't really need 4-wheel drive, but is it a better move for performance, re-sale, reliability, etc.?
  • xena1axena1a Member Posts: 286
    Just my opinion, but if you are considering the Toyota PreRunner, then you might as well take a look at the Nissan Frontier 4x4. Price them both. I'd be willing to bet that with similar options, they would come out around the same price. What becomes obvious is that the Frontier is a better value. You would get 4x4 capability as well as an LSD rear end. Yes, the Toyota V6 is stronger, but the Frontier folks seem to be pleased with the 3.3L.
    I've owned my first 4x4 for the last year and I've really enjoyed it. You are correct, you don't need it for weather related conditions on AZ roads. But, for off-road, it is a blast. I don't know what your life-style is like, but if you've ever wondered what is up around the bend on that rugged dirt road, well, with 4x4 you can go find out.
    I'm not a Toyota hater. They are good trucks. Albeit a bit pricey. I just think there are other alternatives. Check out the Nissan would be my recommendation...
  • hulk66hulk66 Member Posts: 37
    If you are not going to use it off-road or do any rock climbing, go for the TOYOTA PRE-RUNNER V-6 TRD PACKAGE. As for better value go TOYOTA! The pre-runner has the ground clearance as the same as the 4x4 but with 2wd. Expect many miles to come and it performs like the 4x4 tacoma but without the 4wd. I owned a 86 toy 4x4 and sold it with 100,000+ miles and still had the original clutch in it. Depends what you want to spend??
  • gonzo7gonzo7 Member Posts: 259
    In the last few years I've owned a 98 Frontier and currently have a 2000 Nissan Xterra.
    I had a 98 Prerunner and currently have a 2000 v-6 prereuuer. I too live in AZ
    Nissans; Mechanically just as good as a Toyota but There's a reason they're so much cheaper. Nissan has pinched every penny in the content of the vehicles and it shows.
    The Toyotas ride, handle and yes, look much better. Better quality materials and superior engineering show everywhere.
    The Verdict; I'd spend $17,000 for a used Toyota before I'd buy a new $17,000 Nissan.
    But if "cheap" is your primary mission then you'll get a dependable vehicle in the Nissan.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    value and cheap. Nissans provide excellent value. Toyotas don't. Over priced for perceived quality.
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    I've owned both although on extremes. My toyo was an '81 SR5 longbed on 33" tires, good engine 22R but very weak on torque. Presently own a 2000 Crew Cab SE loaded. Both trucks are fun I test drove the toyo and I couldn't see the price difference not in ride, power (the toyo felt faster) but 5K's worth, noway! If I were out for power alone nothing would have beat the ZR 2. Go Nissan you won't be disappointed. I personally hated the new Toyota's interior, it felt like i was sitting on the floor and I'm 6'-1". If I were you, test drive them both(toyo and Nissan) in 2wd and 4wd, take them for the weekend and go down some trails or whatever it is you plan on doing with it. When I bought mine I hooked a boat(my demo) to a Sport-trac, S-10, Tacoma and the Nissan and towed with all of them. I really don't think you can go wrong with either truck though. Good Luck!
  • allknowingallknowing Member Posts: 866
    Don't forget to consider the insurance cost. If you don't need 4WD you will save quite a bit on insurance by getting the PreRunner or the Desert Runner. I haven't tried the Desert Runner but Nissan makes quality vehicles. As for the PreRunner, I have tried one and it will surprisingly get you to most of the places a 4x4 will go.
  • gonzo7gonzo7 Member Posts: 259
    Overpriced is a very relative term. Let's put it in perspective: You can get a smoking deal on a nissan often 4,000 below sticker after all the incentives. Toyota dealers don't have to give their product away. The market response indicated that the Toyota is the better value in the eyes of the consumers, who have the final say.
  • goobagooba Member Posts: 391
    Toyota does give a good value and is a fine vehicle,but,if money is the bottom line on getting into a truck you have to weigh in on the side of Nissan.That is not to say that Nissan gives theirs away.One other area you should look at is the cost of normal parts over the life of the vehicle.As a general rule,I have found that Toyota parts are a bit more expensive.By the same token,you do not have to replace very many.
  • cyberwombatcyberwombat Member Posts: 7 first truck was an '84 Nissan, plain vanilla, didn't even have A/C (imagine that in Texas - of course, I was about forty pounds lighter when I bought it).

    That poor little truck was used and abused for the 100K miles I put on it - on top of the 70K it already had. No major engine problems, never burned oil, and still running when I finally sold it a couple of years ago. Looked like hell but still got great gas mileage.

    If Nissan still builds them like that, you won't go wrong with one.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    Still have my '91 Hardbody with 115k miles on it. No oil burning, original water pump, just keep changing the oil, tires, plugs,wires, and cap. And it keeps on ticking...recharged the a/c twice over 9 years and it still freezes whoever is in the cab...
  • jarrad1jarrad1 Member Posts: 5
    I really appreciate all of the responses everyone has given. It seems that the opinions are that the Nissan is a better value for the money (cost is obviously lower), the trucks seem almost identical to me, but are there any facts that prove the Toyota is built better or with better materials. The Tacoma appears to have a better re-sale value, but is it worth the money to spend more now, just to get more money out of the truck latter on?
  • cncmancncman Member Posts: 487
    just depends on how long you need to keep it, if you will get rid of it in less than 3-5 years, you will save more money with the tacoma, but if you hold onto your truck for a long time, it kind of evens out. I own a frontier myself, I don't see spending the extra $ for the toyota unless you yourself see that it is worth it.
    Good luck
  • dragon3dragon3 Member Posts: 8
    I bought a 2000 Desert Runner SE (w/auto,pwr everthing, limited slip)in February. It looks great and also it's quite unique since there are so few of these trucks out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. So maybe you should think about how the truck looks vs the Prerunner. I don't think the Prerunner is worth the money.
  • iwphilliwphill Member Posts: 48
    I agree that Nissan makes a great product, but I don't think Toyota is necessarily more expensive. I bought a 2000 Tacoma 4X2, and it was actually cheaper than the comparably equipped Frontiers I had been looking at. Right before I bought my Tacoma, I'd finally found what I thought was a fantastic deal on a Frontier - 2000 Frontier XE w/AC, 5spd, AM/FM cassette, etc. for $11,800. The other dealers were selling theirs for around $12,999+, so I jumped at it. But sure enough, the salesman said "oh, sorry, that one JUST sold, but we have this other one similarly equipped for $13,000......" yadda yadda yadda.

    Well, I bought the Tacoma instead, and got A/C, AM/FM cassette, power steering, full size spare, alloy wheels, the works for $12.6k out the door (tax, tags, everything). And I think this is the best truck out there. Granted, it's not a 4X4, but I still think it just depends how hard you're willing to look for a good deal. Just my $.02
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    In a round about way iwphill points out another VERY important consideration in the 'hunt' for the better truck. The Dealer in which you make your purchase from is very important. It sounds like iwphill got the 'bait 'n switch' technique pulled on him. Iwphill, aside what you think is a better truck, I agree that not purchasing from that Nissan Dealer was a smart move and they didn't deserve your business! Imagine if the sales department was like that, what the service dept. must be like!
  • vitahawkvitahawk Member Posts: 14
    Hi guys. New to this conference. I historically have been very pleased with toyota products. I have had two toy trucks, 4x2 and 1985 SR5 4x4 which I just sold. I want a 4x4 v6 xtra cab, something around the 95 or 96 vintage. I would love to hear comments from nissan and toyota owners on their trucks. It is my understanding that when it comes to timing chains, if the nissan goes it causes real damage to the engine where as if the toyota goes, no damage. All other comments appreciated. Thanks. B
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    Welcome vitahawk,
    I guess the answer to the timing chain is whether the motor you're looking at is a 'free-spinning' motor. I know that my C.C. has the 3.3L and it has a belt rather than the chain(like my '81 Toyo had). I loved the older Toyos with the solid axle(front) easier to lift and no CV joints to worry about. Although, it did ride rougher on the trails. As far as the Toyo or Nissan, what can I tell you for me it came to price and especially four doors. Other than that I think they're both awsome and in my opinion the best compact overall(even with the trade off of power).
  • cygnusx1cygnusx1 Member Posts: 290
    For me, Nissan and the options available far outweighed the Toyota. Toyota's are fine trucks (although some head gasket problems reported which are costly), but when you start adding options - the price skyrockets. I looked at the TRD Tacoma extstensively before I finally settled on the Frontier. Lower price than the Tacoma with all the options I could want, plus a very reliable engine. the term "Value" is subjective to each person, but as far as how much "bang for your buck" you get - the Nissan is much better.
    But most Tacoma owners I know are happy with their trucks too. One thing I will say for the Frontier is that it rides like you're on a cloud. It's so smooth that if you close your eyes there's no way you'd know you were in a pick-up truck. The Toyota to me seemed bouncy and swayed on the road a lot. The frontier feels like you're sitting in a nice recliner in your living room. I love it.
  • cygnusx1cygnusx1 Member Posts: 290
    Timing belts and chains can both break if not changed at the proper intervals. And just for the record, my Chevy truck snapped it's timing chain a few years back and caused a world of problems (my own fault because I negleted to changed it at the 90K mile interval and it snapped at about 115K
    miles). I personally don't believe one is better than the other if you remember to change it. We have an old Toyota Corolla that has a belt and at 180K miles we still haven't changed it (when it goes we'll get rif of it).
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    I owned a '96 Tacoma 2WD reg. cab and now drives a '99 Frontier 2WD ext cab. I think previous comments about the Nissan riding much smoother than Toyota must be talking about the 4WD chassis. Between the two 2WD trucks I owned, the Tacoma had a distinctly better ride, but the soft springs allow too much lean and wallow in cornering. OTOH, the Frontier handles better but is rather harsh over potholes and railroad tracks. Which is better depends on your preference. I don't mind my truck riding like a truck, so I gave the Frontier a slight edge.

    Interior amenities and overal features in general, the Frontier holds a definite advantage. My '99 Frontier came with every option Nissan offered. The equivalent Tacoma would have costed... well, I couldn't find a Tacoma with all the same niceties at any price. Anything that came close costs quite a bit more.

    Resale value wise, they are usually comparable depending on the region you're in. I had the Tacoma for 3yrs, and when the insurance company totaled it following an accident, I got a check for more than what I paid for the truck brand new! I also just check the KBB value of my '99 Frontier and it was thousands more than what I paid for. So either I got very good deals, or the resale values of both makes are simple outstanding. I'd call it a draw here.

    One thing I do like better about Frontier is that it is actually a bigger truck. Bed is bigger and deeper; cab is a little more spacious. Frontier also weighs considerable more, however, which translates to worse gas mileage. I use my pickup as a commuter/hauler. Tacoma is a better commuter; Frontier is a better work truck.

    In closing, I'd say you can't go wrong with either truck. Engineering/reliability of both makes are equally good. It all comes down to which has the style/size/amenities more to your liking.
  • cygnusx1cygnusx1 Member Posts: 290
    Good points Volfy. And yes, I was talking about 4x4 Frontiers and Tacomas when I stated that I think the Frontier has a much softer/smoother ride than the Tacoma. But, some people actually like a bouncier, feel-the-road type of ride. So again, it's just a matter of preference. But the Frontier has a very soft ride. And since I have an auto tranny I have to say the shift points are perfect. It shifts so smoothly that you barely notice it.

    Good point on the Frontier being heavier, especially when you add on the 4WD. But the heaviness of it translates into a nice solid feel from my perspective. Also, wind noise is really kept to a minimum in the Frontier which I liked better then the Tacoma.
  • vitahawkvitahawk Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the welcome" MahiMahi! Someone said the Toyota gets better gas mileage. Anyone with xtra cabs v6 4x4 that can give me some numbers on MPG. Since I am looking for a 95, 96or 7, I will shop for both trucks and go with the best deal. I only use my 4x4 during hunting season so I have until Fall to find another one. All comments appriciated. Bill
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    The wind noise, yes. I noticed that right away when I test drove the Frontier. The cabin is much better isolated than the Tacoma.

    Another thing is that the power mirrors are foldable on the Frontier, not on the Tacoma. I've been paranoid about that every since I shattered a side mirror backing out of a narrow driveway in my first car. My fault, yes, but still.

    One thing I don't like about the Frontier is a loud "clunk" every time the AC compressor engages. Also I think the Toyota engines are still more refined than the Nissan's, particularly when comparing the V6s.

    BTW, anybody considering a Frontier should know that Nissan is introducing a restyled version in August. If you like the new look, you might want to wait till the end of the year to buy one. Or you might want to pick up an old-style at a bargain price right after the new ones come out.
  • cygnusx1cygnusx1 Member Posts: 290
    I personally don't have any A/C "clunk" noise. But I have had cars in the past that have that noise. I think it's fairly common.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "refined". But both
    engines have proven to be pretty reliable- and both can be pushed to pretty high RPMs on a regular basis without any cause for alarm.

    I think it all comes down to preference when talking about these two particular trucks. Both have pros and cons. They just mean different things to different people.
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    I don't get the clunk that some have posted. Volfy, I agree that the toyo engines might be more refined than the Nissan but I think of this 3.3L that I have as durable as the old 22R engine I had from Toyo. I have several hunting buddies that hate their toyo V-6's they wished they had the four-bangers but that is THEIR opinion,not mine.
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    I have no doubt that the Nissan engines are as durable as the Toyota's, as I have stated before. To me, the Tacoma I4 just has a smoother power delivery through out the RPM range and doesn't sound as strained when pushed hard. Also, Nissan just went DOHC in the '98 Frontier, whereas Toyota has had 4V twincam truck 4-bangers for quite a while.

    Nissan's 12V SOHC 3.3L V6 really isn't in the same league as the Toyota 24V DOHC 3.4L V6. Both in terms of design sophistication and raw power output. Not that Nissan doesn't have the tech knowhow, the Pathfinder's 240hp (250hp w/ manual) 3.5L 24V DOHC V6 will reshuffle the pecking order against Toyota's 190hp 3.4L V6 in a jiffy.

    Alas, that is not to be. Nissan puts in a half-[non-permissible content removed] effort to keep up with the Jones's by SC'ing the 3.3L. My guess is that Nissan doesn't want to dillute the upscale image of the Pathfinder in the lucrative luxury compact SUV segment by sharing genes with the truck-based Xterra. Plus, supercharging fits the testosterone-rich truck clientele better anyway. Makes good economic & marketing sense, but leaves the power-hungry still wanting.
  • goobagooba Member Posts: 391
    I wonder why people keep ragging on Nissan about their supercharger.The above posts do make sense and the opinions are well expressed,but to say that power hungry people would still be wanting because of the SC is stretching it a bit.The power hungry people would not be looking at the Frontier.They would be looking at the Quad Cab or larger.
  • cygnusx1cygnusx1 Member Posts: 290
    If I wanted/needed more power I would have bought a different truck. I've owned trucks my entire life and use them in my own personal way. If I wanted peak power I would have bought a full size Ford or Chevy. And sisnce when did adding a supercharger to any vehicle become a 1/2 [non-permissible content removed] way as you out it to keep up with the jones? Tons of vehicles throught the years have had SC's. And in my own opinion, the Taco has no more power (any that one can feel anyway) than the Nissan. If you want a race car, buy a Mustang or a Vette. If you want a decent truck that's not overpriced like the Taco then go with the Nissan like I did. Why pay Toyo's outlandish price for compact truck that's no different for the most part than the Nissan. That's how I see it. And for an extra $500 you can now get an SC model and still beat Taco's price.
  • gonzo7gonzo7 Member Posts: 259
    There is no possible way anyone can compare the performance of the Tacoma and Frontier V-6 engines. I've owned both and the Tacoma has MUCH more power. That applies when comparing 4cyl models and V-6's
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    You're preaching to the choir. I own a 4cyl. '99 Frontier, so do the vast majority of Frontier owners. Absolute power output obviously wasn't high on my shopping list either.

    I bought the Frontier because, to me, it offer a better overall package. Value: Frontier holds a definite edge. Power: advantage Toyota.

    I try to offer an objective viewpoint in comparing the two pickup lines and not to let my ownership biases cloud my judgement.

    Fact is: the top of the line model usually accounts for a very small percentage of overall sales, but it speak volumes when you are talking about bragging rights. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the influence of the muscle truck crowd.
  • lvsk8lvsk8 Member Posts: 2
    ive been looking for a fun truck for offroad. I've looked at both the nissan and the toyota only to find that they are similar in price (at least in my area). I am not too knowledgable in mechanics or anything of that matter, so I am looking for some info. Which do you guys consider better as an offroad vehicle, and why?
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    on what you plan on doing. As far as performance offroad I think they react the same. But if you plan on adding stuff to it i.e. lift kits, bigger tires and stuff the toyota at this point is probably better. As far as I can tell there aren't any kits available for the new Nissan's.
  • gonzo7gonzo7 Member Posts: 259
    I guess we can tell just how boring the Frontier is by looking at the stats.
    35 posts comparing the Tacoma/ Frontier
    Approx 4500, and counting, comparing the Tacoma /Ranger
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    What?????? That doesn't make any sense!
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    Talk about yawn...that toic that has sooooo many posts, it's two guys for the last hundred or so posts talking about nothing. How do they find time to drive their trucks to even talk about them?
  • gonzo7gonzo7 Member Posts: 259
    The tacoma/ranger topic is in it's 7th phase. Each contains about 600 posts.
    It is pretty tired however. I guess once you near 5000 posts , there can be some repitition.
  • tacoma_trdtacoma_trd Member Posts: 135
    A lot of people were saying that the Frontier is so much cheaper than a Tacoma, well a lot of people say everything is much cheaper than a Tacoma. Edmunds shows base prices for all 4x4 extra cab trucks and guess what the tacoma is the cheapest, the Frontier SE 4x4 is more expensive than a tacmoa, now the XE 4x4 is about 1000 less but I dont think the XE is up to par with the Tacoma. So Tacomas arent that expensive in base prices, now when you start adding all kinds of other things it gets pretty pricy, but I think the Tacoma can get more expensive just from getting packages like the TRD package which is probably the best off road package for any truck. I believe in the top of the line models you may pay a little more for a Tacoma but you also get a little more.
  • tacoma_trdtacoma_trd Member Posts: 135
    Dont let my name fool you either, I dont know why I chose this name but, I do not own a tacoma, so I am not just saying all that stuff just cause I own one and I am a big toyota fan cause I like the Nissans a lot also
  • vitahawkvitahawk Member Posts: 14
    Hi. How about some input. I am shopping for a used xtracab 4x4. Looking at both Tacoma and Frontier. Have owned toyotas previously. I test drove a 95 xtra cab frontier (92,000 miles, all power, moon roof, cd, etc). Super clean truck, good maintenance record, original owner. The guy is actually a sales manager for a toyota dealer! He wants 10,950 for the truck. What do you think about the price? One thing I will say is that the drive was much nicer than my toyotas and the 4 wheel drive shifter was smoother although my last toy was a 85. Comments welcome!
  • mahimahimahimahi Member Posts: 497
    I don't know if it matters to you or not but Nissan didn't come out with the Frontier until the '98 model year. The Frontier is a completely different animal. But anyways on the topic #2026 Frontier v. Sport trac a member on there, cncman, is a nissan salesman out of Houston I think. I'll post on there now to see if he can read your above post and offer you advice. He can probably tell you all the differences between the HardBody and the Frontier.
  • lilly2000lilly2000 Member Posts: 25
  • gonzo7gonzo7 Member Posts: 259
  • cthompson21cthompson21 Member Posts: 1,102
    I've created a new topic. Head here for the
    war between the compact trucks:

    Do you think the Tacoma or Frontier is the best thing since sliced bread? Tell us why.
  • vitahawkvitahawk Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the comments on the 95 Nissan. It is a nice truck with all the bells and whistles. I didn't buy it though. Waiting for a little more cash so I don't have to finance. I noticed the guy still is selling that truck for 10,950. Will let you know what I end up with.
  • grubbs1grubbs1 Member Posts: 69
    I am looking to buy a new vehicle. Have considered four or five asian import sedans and still can't find one that seems to make me happy enough. Then I decided to test drive a 2000 Frontier 2x4 king cab, 4 cyl, 5 speed. A little rougher on the roads but I like it. I own a home and have needed a truck many times. Who else out there has recently purchased a truck for the first time? Does the harder ride and louder cab become tiresome over time. Thanks!
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    you buy. My old Nissan does make a lot of noise and it does get on the nerves once in a while...but after 9 years of solid performance, can't really complain cause it does what it is supposed to do...

    If you upgrade to the V6, you may notice some improvement in cab insulation, plus the v6 runs a little quieter than the 4.... check it out, may be worth the $.02
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