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Frontier vs Ranger - III
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>>How much did those cost? are they just as quiet?
The Pirelli P400 Touring tires are $55 a piece at tirerack.com. They are just as quite if not quiter, but traction dry/wet is considerably better than the Firestone Wilderness HT.
I kept the old firestones, figuring that they may be recalled one day.
1. Price. It came down to a 4th-of-July sale where I got my Frontier DR XE for about $500 below invoice minus the $500 rebate in effect at the time. Price was $13995 plus the $520 destination, plus a couple dealer add-ons like pinstriping. Under $15k before tax. The cheapest V6 Ranger I could find would have been over $15k, easily.
2. Availability of configurations, and personal preferences. Every vehicle I have driven for the past 4 years (I'm only 24 years old, so basically every vehicle since I've been able to afford to pick and choose, that's 3 vehicles in 4 years) has been a V6 w/ manual trans. I am a power nut and don't mind shifting. Try finding the V6/stick combination in a Ranger. Virtually impossible.
3. Reliability and performance. Very comparable between the 2. As someone mentioned in one of the early responses in this thread, the Frontier 3.3 has more HP and torque than the Ranger 3.0. The Ranger 4.0 would have been prohibitively expensive for my needs, and impossible to couple with a stick trans unless I custom-ordered from the factory. Consumer Reports indicates very comparable reliability.
4. Bed size is probably very similar between all compact trucks and not worth arguing over, but it is true that Nissans have the *deepest* beds in their class, if that's important to you.
Things I preferred about my 1990 Ranger 2WD Ext Cab XLT I had until 2 years ago, that I don't like as much about my 2000 Frontier DR XE:
1. Leg room. The Ranger seemed to have a bit more of it. The Nissan's King Cab seats should slide a little farther back.
2. Seat comfort. Granted, the Ranger was a split bench and the Frontier has buckets, so not as cut-and-dried a comparison, but the Frontier's seats seem to have very little back support and are too squishy. My trick shoulder joint acts up after a long drive in the Frontier. It's the left one, so it's not from shifting.
Things I like better about my Frontier than the '90 Ranger:
1. More power. Comes with the 3.3L Nissan vs. the 2.9L 1990 Ford engine.
2. I have a Desert Runner, which means added ground clearance, tho I'm pissed that Nissan cheaped out and left the leaf springs BELOW the axle for the DR and apparently also on the 2WD Crew Cabs. WTF's up with that? If you're gonna raise the truck and sell it as an offroader, the leaf springs have no business being under the axle. Even so, it's a better riding and offroading truck than the Ranger was.
3. Sliding rear window. OK, just a packaging item that existed on the Ranger as well, but it is very cool that for 2000, the Value Truck Package included sliding window, meaning virtually every Nissan truck had one since very few trucks were produced without the VTP. However, I've noticed a lot of the new 2001 Frontiers with solid rear windows -- especially the Crew Cabs. OK, maybe in a Crew Cab if the rear windows roll down you don't need a sliding rear window, but I want to see them remain standard (or almost so) on the King Cabs.
Is there some hidden function of the sliding window I am missing here?
A dealer 2 miles down the street from me had a couple of Trailhead Rangers at 12.9K. The Trailhead is similar to the Desert Runner (it's 2wd with the looks of a 4wd). It came with A/C, a 5-speed, AM/FM/Cass, 3.73 gearing with the limited slip differential, and the 3L V6. It's no barnburner by any means, but it's good-looking, reliable, and very economical transportation at a price that's damn near a steal.
For 15K you should be able to pick up a fully loaded 2wd Ranger if you buy a '00 and take the rebate ($1500 I believe) over the special financing. I got my almost fully loaded 4x4 Ranger (absolutely everything minus the LSD and ext-cab) for 18.5K a couple years ago with the 3.9% financing over 60 months to boot (could have taken the $1500 rebate if I so chose).
Thanks for the honest observations. There's usually so much BS flying around these forums that it's annoying. No one will actually admit that their truck is not flawless or there are things they'd like to change about it.
In response to the Trailhead Rangers... at least for the 2000 year, they were only available in regular cab. I haven't checked for 2001, so I guess it's possible they've added an ext. cab to the Trailhead lineup. I simply won't drive a regular-cab, compact pickup. My legs are too long. Note my previous post about how even the Nissan KC's legroom seems an inch or so stingier than the '90 Ranger I used to have.
Also, that $1500 rebate wasn't offered when I bought. It might've been $500, same as the rebate at the time on the Frontier DR.
Money aside, my first choice within the genre was and remains the Toyota Tacoma PreRunner. (My other car's a Camry, and I'm definitely sold on Big Japanese 3 reliability overall -- Honda, Toyota, & Nissan.) Only reason I didn't buy one was the $6k to $7k higher price tag, and the fact that I intended the truck as a 2nd vehicle that wouldn't warrant that kind of spending. The Desert Runner's a good poor-man's alternative, but until there's an ext. cab Trailhead Ranger, not worth my consideration.
Those Trailhead Rangers I was talking about didn't have any rebates attached to them at the 12.9K price. In any case, it's easy to get a 2wd, ext-cab, V6 Ranger for under 15K (without even applying a rebate).
I don't think they're offering a Trailhead package for '01. I think it's being replaced by the entry-level Edge package. The Edge is a few hundred dollars more but adds some additional features (CD, monochromatic treatment, 4-wheel ABS)
I do agree that the Tacoma is overpriced. But, it also seems that you're comparing what you paid for your Frontier with both the Ranger's and Tacoma's MSRP (which to me is like oranges to apples). For a Ranger, it's easy to get a price at dealer invoice (base invoice + destination + allocation of ad fees). For a Tacoma, you're doing good if you can get $500 over dealer invoice.
I love my sliding rear window. But, I also know first hand from locking the keys in the truck how easy it is to break into it.
Shouldn't the first line of your response read? "Have you driven...A FORD LATELY?" j/k
Noticed that all of the '01 CC's I've seen on the road don't have the sliding rear window. I love mine. I wouldn't ever own a truck without it. I did that once my S-10 SS didn't have one and I missed it big time.
Is the Sport Trac the one with the power sliding rear window that rolls down? You gotta love that.
>Ranger? They increased the cab length by 3
No. I did not know that. But I still have a fondness for king/ext. cabs in compact trucks. It's very useful for throwing the ice chests and sleeping bags back there and not worry about weather or theft from putting them in the bed.
>Those Trailhead Rangers I was talking about
>didn't have any rebates attached to them at the
I recall seeing a bit more, but it's not worth wracking my brain or squabbling over. As for your statement that "it's easy to get a 2wd, ext-cab, V6 Ranger for under 15K (without even applying a rebate)," I assure you that I tried. It would be possible to barely come in on one side of $15k with a stick shift, but none of the trucks that I saw on any Phoenix area Ford lots had the V6/stick combo, unless they were 4WD's with the 3L V6. All 2WD/3L and 4WD/4L trucks were sent from the factory with auto tranny, and that tacks on an extra $1k or $1100 I believe.
The Ford dealer I most looked at, Earnhardt Ford in Tempe, AZ, also annoyed me because they have the hideous practice of tacking on a $3k "dealer markup" that no one expects to pay and nobody in their right mind ever WOULD pay. I punish such dealers by refusing to do business with them. Not many dealers in Phoenix put on markup, but every single dealer I looked at in Sacramento, where I lived up until a couple years ago, tacks on markup.
>For a Tacoma, you're doing good if you can get
>$500 over dealer invoice.
Most dealers in my area have an agreement with my credit union where C.U. members have the option of purchasing thru the fleet dept. for a predetermined price of usually between $100 and $500 or 1% or 2% over invoice. There's no reason a savvy shopper should ever pay more than $200 over invoice, except maybe on a very popular SUV or luxury vehicle.
The Trailhead Rangers did sticker for more money, MSRP was something like 14K. That Ford dealer had a one price, no haggle policy similar to Saturn. That is what the dealer marked the price at.
It really sounds like you've dealt with some terrible Ford dealerships. That's by far the problem with Ford.
Did they even look into a possible dealer trade for you? My salesman did a dealer trade with a dealer in WI and personally drove there and back to get the exact truck I wanted.
"There's no reason a savvy shopper should ever pay more than $200 over invoice, except maybe on a very popular SUV or luxury vehicle."
Tell that to the Toyota, Nissan, or Mitsu dealer where their closest dealer of the same make is an hour drive away. I'd rather pay a couple extra hundred bucks than deal with that sort of headache. Plus, the revenue will filter into your local economy.
In any case, have fun with your truck. That's what they're there for, right?
Recently, I saw the new Frontier commercials with the truck powersliding across some rough surface. To say the least, Nissan marketing should never have aired that commercial.
It just doesn't have the appeal of the Max power-sliding across the desert (very cool, definately a top contender when replacing my SVTour in a coupla years especially with that new 260hp engine on the very near horizon).
It looks like I'll have to get out and test drive some trucks soon to keep abreast of the current offerings.
So, what do you think? The SOHC 4L versus the S/C 3.3L??? I haven't had the pleasure yet, waiting for the 5-speed manual tranny in the Ranger.
it's been awhile since I have driven the 4.0l, so I can't tell right now without driving again. But I was very happy with the performance and it was very smooth acceleration, not alot of kickback when you floored, this may be why Vince and others may think that the 4.0l pulls more on acceleration. I am not sure, but I think the times would be similar, not enough to make a difference.
Hey Vince, Just busy with work and school, trying to get ready for my trip in December, going to Italy! Of course business slows down alot when you really need to make the money! Last month was very slow for all dealers, not alot of traffic. What did you think of the SC vs. the regular 3.3? Wdoyle is right, the VQ won't fit in the frontier platform, I still would not be surprised to see in the next 1-2 years, a 3.5-4.0l version of the same engine now with an optional SC.
our SC has Firestone firehawks, alot of folks tell me those are good, the 15&16" have either generals or BF goodrich longtrail TA's, both great tires.
Hey, I also hear that Nissan is going to have a full size truck? Have any pictures?
Oh well, different strokes for different folks.
Also, more and more of the contractors are turning their pickups into their mobile offices. So why not a little more creature comfort to go with the work truck. I don't see how a CD changer makes an otherwise identical truck any less capable.
As for fitting VQ in the Frontier, I think Nissan should eventually do it for those VERY FEW who want and are willing to pay for the extra ponies and refinement in a compact package. The Frontier line looks like it will continue to grow in popularity and the volume might soon justify an even more expanded trim range.
For me however, I would much rather Nissan spend the R&D budget on refining the existing 3.3L V6 and 2.4L I4 - the bread and butter of the Frontier line. If I want that much power in a work truck, a 1/2-ton full-size would be a much more appropriate platform. Unless of course, I just want a little play truck that get fling big rooster tails. :-)
I did consider the Frontier seriously, but I was able to get more power for much less money in the Ford, and based on what I found I'm not taking much of a hit in quality. However, if Nissan had a more powerful engine in the lineup (like the supercharged engine) for a competitive price I might have gone that way. But the prices I got weren't close. I did like the Frontier's bed-size and locking tailgate quite a bit, but didn't like the handling much. And the 3.3L that was similar in price didn't even compare to the (newer) Ford 4.0L. Maybe for my next truck . . . especially if the 3.5L goes into it or the 3.3L has more power, but at a reasonable cost. Of course, that assumes that the Ford dealer stops cutting their profit to the bone to get my business, something the Nissan dealer (understandably) didn't want to do.
Also, if hit a boulder with typical urethane plastic bumper apron, it deforms and then bounces back. Do that with a steel one and you end up with a dent period.
Bear in mind that there are still steel reinforment beams underneath the plastic bumper covers so that crashworthness is not compromised, if not enhanced. Instead of having to provide a cosmetic skin, all the steel is used in the structural member. Plastic bumper covers take up the cosmetic part.
As far as leather vs. cloth seats goes. Having had both in my vehicles, I'd say leather is actually more abrasion resistant and cleans up easier than fabric. Granted, it depends on the particular leather since some are softer and thinner than others, but the same goes for fabric as well.
One might have reservations about parking a mud-soaked, grease-stained butt on expensive leather, butI can guarantee ya leather seat will stand up to it far better than a cloth one.
I've worked with upholstry-grade leather, and I can tell you that a screwdriver would have punctured through any automotive fabric long before it'll do damage to a leather seat.
I think this issue is somewhat akin to those sports car purists who think having a cupholder in a Porsche is a sacrilege, and that the presence of a Big Gulp gripper somehow makes it less of a sports car.
Plastic bumper covers ove steel beams may not be as tough and macho as an all steel one, but it is every bit as functional and in many ways superior.
I'm not saying that the plastics are bad per say just not fitting in the 4x4 arena. Because usually those that pay the extra money for the 4 wheel drive usually take them offroad and when you're offroad there's a good chance that you're going to hit something even if you don't mean to.
As for the interior being leather I've had both too. Alot of this will depend on several things such as miles, how well taken care of and the grade of materials used. But really take a look at some older leather interiors(you say you've worked with some of these leathers, well I used to detail cars-had my own business)like Cadies, Mustangs, Porches comparably the leather has always shown age more strongly than it's cloth counterpart. Leather, as it's supposed to do, stretches, gets softer with the more use therfore it begins to wrinkle/crease, which is always a different color than the rest of the leather. It does this because there is no dye after the leather "breaks" to crease, it's the true leather color. You might be right, the screwdriver might not punchure through the leather as easily as the cloth but, I promise you that it will take less effort to scratch/scuff that nice leather.
Again it's got nothing to do with being "Macho" rather more resistant to element use.
This won't be a flame war unless we make it one, and I have no intention of doing so. I actually agree with a lot of what you've said. My point is that the use of plastics is simply another engineering compromise that has its advantages and disadvantages.
The question you raised is a philosophical one. Sure a steel apron would have sent a stronger protest to the inattentive driver immediately upon hitting the boulder, but the unyielding nature of the steel apron will ensure that more damage is done. Think about it. A 3500lbs vehicle rolling into a boulder - something's gotta yield. And it sure ain't gonna be that boulder.
Urethane plastic has pathetic yield strength compared to steel, yes. But it'll sustain way more elastic deformation before permanent damage occurs.
Your friend would have ended up with permanent scratches and dents on a steel bumper apron. More rugged? Yes. Cosmetically superior? Debatable.
And to make a steel bumper apron strong enough to survive such an incident unscathed would incur a weight penalty that I find objectionable. Others may disagree, of course.
BTW, you make it sound like styrofoam in bumper designs is a bad thing. Th styrofoam acts to protect the vehicle occupants the same way the styrofoam in a fibreglass helmet protects its the cranial content. Engineered in concert with the other parts of the bumper system, it'll abosrb a huge amount of energy - albeit only once.
Unlike an all steep bumper, which is traditionally designed to abosrb energy by deformation, the composite bumpers of today is designed to absorb energy by failure. The carbon fibre chassis in Formula One cars is designed to absort crash energy in the same failure mode.
Like the plastic aprons, the styrofoam may not appear as sustantial as good ol' steel, but its function is nothing to scuff at.
It was bound to happen, at 28,000 miles I finally had a warranty claim, my parking light burned out, had it replaced under warranty, I was actually expecting to pay for it! Take care everyone, Vinny, where ya been man? Keeping those tacoma guys in line? Happy holidays.