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Toyota Tacoma vs. Nissan Frontier



  • grubbs1grubbs1 Posts: 69
    but not so much because of the Frontier itself. The last time I bought new was 1989 so I've got the little doubt in my mind thinking I should have gone with a car. However, after test driving about six cars, nothing made me feel the way the truck did. Sorry, I'm turning this into a psycology post.

    The truck itself is great. Though I'm still getting used to the ride, I like the general feel of the toughness, the ride height and the utility of the bed (it's been used twice already).

    Lets liven this post up a bit! I'm disappointed that there are only a trickle of posts once in a while. Tell me, Tacoma owners, what are your likes and dislikes of your trucks, like iwphill's post? Volfy, our Frontiers are the same...what have been your experiences with your ride?
  • cygnusx1cygnusx1 Posts: 290
    Why does Toyo force you use a locker instead of giving you limited slip? Who out there actually stops (and you do have to stop) to engage their lcokers? I personally can't see having a locker unless you head out to Moab and do some boulder crawling. That's about the only place it's uselful. I like the LSD much better personally.
  • bigyotabigyota Posts: 2
    i have an 86 22r 4x4 and it runs like a bear. its got 200,500 miles on it. now i'm a jerk to her sometimes and run it without oil(has a small leak i'm trying to find), but she forgives me and i can't keep her down. When I buy another truck, I'm going Toyota..
  • mahimahimahimahi Posts: 497
    I don't think that the engines of today are as strong as the 22R. I had an '81 myself. sweet little engine. they don't make the, like that anymore.
  • donglaidonglai Posts: 2
    The Frontier and Tacoma are two different trucks. It really depends on your taste I own a Tacoma 4x4 and let me tell you I love driving that truck. It is definitely not an elegant, smooth riding, quiet and luxurious vehicle. If you are into all that, the Frontier is probably a better truck for you, people have said that the Frontier is a smoother and more refined truck.
    However, if you are into driving for fun, having a powerful engine, and best in the class off-road capability, then by all means go get the Tacoma. It's more fun than the Frontier in my opinion.

    Make no mistake that even though the Tacoma is more truckish than the Frontier, it's perfectly livable. I live in NJ and 99.99% of the road here is paved. If I lived in Arizona I'd go offroading every week and definitly go with 4x4.

    My friends and I took a 700 mile trip once from New Mexico to the Grand Canyon. We did the round trip in three days in a Geo Tracker (95 hp engine, soft top). A quarter of that trip was offroad...and it was the best trip I have ever had. There was no question for me that when it's time to get my own car I want the most rugged, reliable, offroad capable vehicle out there. Tacoma it was and there was no competition (I can't afford a Humvee or a Defender and Jeep isn't reliable enough...don't want to be stranded at the rim of the Canyon 60 miles from the closest road).
  • donglaidonglai Posts: 2
    I agree that for most people driving on the road, limited slip is probably more useful than the locker. However, the locker on the Tacoma is not made for these situations. It's made for emergency offroad situations when you are REALLY stuck. Most people who offroad on a regular basis prefer the locker over limited slip diff and they consider it one of the most valuable features.
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    I too had a 22re engine on an old Toyota. Put around 200,000 miles on it. A sweet little engine, durable as could be. BULLETPROOF.
  • mahimahimahimahi Posts: 497
    Soory about the long thread but since your're an avid Toyota fan I thought I would share my 'love ' with you. In fact part of the reason I now own a Nissan is because of my Toyota. I first should tell you I owned the following truck from '92-'94. I have always liked the truck from '80-'83 the best of any of Toyota's years because of body style(which I think that the Tacoma closely resembles)and the solid axle. I traded a co worker my '86 Samuri 4x4 for it(I made out on this deal). Now the Toyota was in much worse condition than my Samuri by far alot of work went into it.
    Yeah, I loved mine and it worked awesome. While I was attending FSU I needed the timing chain replaced. Since I didn't have alot of $$$ I went to the cheapest guy in Tallahasse to replace it but, he didn't replace the oil pump gears and he couldn't seal the cover correctly so the motor was not only leaking alot of oil but it wasn't getting the oil around the engine properly. I must have driven around on that motor for about six months, reving it up at stop lights and stop signs to get the oil to the top of the motor. I finally saved up $600 to buy an '83 Celica engine to replace mine. I went this route because it was about $400 cheaper than a rebuild and I just wanted it to get me through college so after I graduated I could really do it right. I planned on keeping this '81 4x4 longbed forever. I had completely redone the interior new carpet, new dash, Mazda seats that flipped forward so I could get behind the seats. Anyway, I did the trnsplant of both engines: air cleaners, flipping the oil pan and so on. I really good friend of mine who happened to be one of the best mechanics in town let me use the back of his shop. He actually did the installation of the engine and I paid him about $200. But anyways I loved that truck. I even had new decals on order, they were coming from Japan. I had 33" tire with 15x10 rims and a 3" suspension lift. The only complaint I had with the truck, and it was my fault because I didn't do the gear swap yet, was as 'bulletproof' as that engine was it was really weak after I put the big tires on it. Engine mods were soon to come. But, now she's gone and I never got to finish her. Maybe one day I'll take on another it'll have to be an '83 though I like the grills better and the transmission doesn't have welded gears on the input shaft(the '81 was the only year they did that, figures right? a you can tell I had the tranny rebuild after bearing failure)but these little guys are hard to find in stock condition. I used to love shopping for it. Every now and then I break out the pictures :)
  • jim4040jim4040 Posts: 1
    Hola Amigos - I have an '87 Nissan SE V6 with 270,000 on it. Change the oil every 4,000 and the silly rubber timing belt every 80,000 and it just goes on and on. When I bought my first Nissan P/U the dealer said 'drive it, don't baby it, its a P/U'. Boy was he ever right. But I've heard that Nissan's redoing the Frontier cause its not manly enough - sales and comments seem to back this up. I'm thinking Toyo Taco, but your posted comments have me rethinking this.
  • I have just read this thread, and now I don't feel so lonely in the world. ;-)

    I too am trying to make that switch from car to truck for the reasons of getting into a house which will mean I will need to carry things.

    In my case, the car I have is a last generation Mazda RX7 baby!

    I tested a 1997 Toyota Tacoma SR5 4x4 (auto) with 36K miles. The dealership here in Austin, TX was originally asking $ were talking around $18.5K. What do you think? I haven't yet tried a Frontier, but I had heard some of the same comments posted here from a co-worker earlier wrt to bang for buck coupled with reliability giving the nod to the Frontier. Of course that Tacoma has puppy dog eyes now, and I want to take it home. Help me out! Thanks!
  • mahimahimahimahi Posts: 497
    I my opinion the Taco has the best looks for 2000 but, 2001 it's the worst(it looks like a catfish). I love my Nissan CC 4x4. It doesn't look bad at all either.

    I think that even at 18.5 no matter what options that truck has is too much for a 3 yr 4x4. For 23K you could get a fully loaded(every option)2000 Frontier CC 4x4. BUt you probably don't want the CC so a King Cab would be even less. Full warranty and only driven by you...who knows where a 4x4 has been.
  • 4xfun4xfun Posts: 1
    Hey Jessie, I have to say that the Taco is a great vehicle. I recently bought a 2000 Taco 4x4 Ext Cab V6 with TRD off road package for $22,500.
    Yes, BRAND NEW FOR $22,500! The price of the 97 Taco you are looking at is about average, a little high for my taste, but is average re-sell price for used Tacos.
    You are in the same boat I was in last month...I looked around for a 97-99 Taco, all around $18k PLUS...well for only $2k more you can have new. That's why I bought new.
    Understand this, Toyota Trucks ARE THE BEST. HANDS DOWN.
    My last car was a '93 Toyota 4x4 std cab 4Cyl and I got $5300 for it on trade in. The '93 had 160k miles on it with no AC! Fact of the matter is, Toyota Trucks are extremely dependable. On my '93 I replaced the brakes 1 time, battery 1 time, and a couple of head lights. Along with oil changed every 4k miles.

    Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to let you know that I was in your position and bought new and that Toyota builds the better truck.
  • iwphilliwphill Posts: 48
    Just got back from taking my Tacoma on a trip from NC through New England and back (1800 miles total), and I'm very impressed with the ride and mpg. The sticker that came with the truck rates the mpg at 22 city 26 hwy, but for the whole trip, I averaged 28.3 overall!!! In fact, on one tank (all hwy), I averaged 30.1 mpg! Not too much behind The Honda Civic I traded for this truck. I averaged around 35 on the hwy with that car.

    Needless to say, I was very happy. I used to own a '93, and it was a great truck, but this one by far has the best ride. It was very comfortable to drive - no problems whatsoever. And for a truck, it was a very nice ride. Toyota makes a great truck. I haven't seen any photos of the 2001's, but I can say that the 2000's are outstanding!
  • mahimahimahimahi Posts: 497
    Well in my opinion the Nissan Frontier is the better of the two. Although I like both trucks and I think they are very very similar(I know that stings the Tacoma owners)You get the reliablility and similiar features for a fraction of the cost, plus I got a Crew Cab without the 'catfish' look!
    I just got back from a trip from Tampa to Miami and found the truck to perform flawless. It was great through the FL thunderstorms, I passed while all the tourists sat on the shoulder(something they do here because we do get some heavy downpours). I averaged 85mph the whole trip there and back and it rode so smooth the seat's position is actually more comfortable than my Legend's was :).
    If you do see the new Taco get you fishing rod ready and hide the cat food because they look just like a catfish! I think that 2001 is going to be a bad style year for Nissan and Toyota. Thank god for the 2000's. Do you have the 2wd?
  • volfyvolfy Posts: 274
    having owned both Taco and Frontier, I'd say you can't go wrong with either. I loved the smooth power delivery and efficiency of my 4cyl 5sp 4x2 Tacoma but didn't care much for the spartan cabin and smallish size. I like the interior amenities and the larger size of the Frontier but wish for more power and a better gas mileage. The steering on both trucks are overboosted.

    I don't like either the 'catfish' look (great description, btw :-) of the new Tacoma, nor the 'boxer glove' front fascia and WAYYY-oversized fender flares of the '01 Frontier. May be I'll get used to the new styles in time, but for now i feel somewhat old-fashioned and prefer the old if not stodgy looks. I just think pickups ought to look like a work truck, not a plastic panel laden show car.
  • Thanks for the advice. However, I wanted to give the used car market one last try. Instead of working with the local Toyota dealership (they po'ed me with their trade-in "offer" anyway), I found a couple selling a pristine red '99 PreRunner SR5 with 21500 miles. We have agreed on $16,900, and they should be dropping the truck off today! Of course, I'll be selling my RX7 soon. I'm still a little sad about that, but maybe I will buy a Jet Ski and/or dirt bike to make up for it ;-).

    How does that price sound? Be brutally honest...I can take it, and it will make me a better buyer in the future.

    Thanks again!
  • Yes, I got a 2000 Tacoma 2wd reg cab (5 spd, alloys, a/c, etc.). I've only had it a little over 4 months (8000 miles and counting), but I love this truck! And judging from the catfish comparison (lol!), I'm glad I got the 2000!

    Sounds like your crew cab is a fine machine. How's the room in the back? There's a guy at my work that has a Frontier crew cab - a 4x2 base model 5-speed, and he seems to love it. The only thing he's added to it is a roof rack, so far. It looks like a lot of room inside.

    I like Nissans because I think they're great vehicles. I just went with the Toyota because it was the best deal I could get for what I wanted. I priced a similarly equipped Frontier (checked 3 different dealerships in my area and the internet), and they wanted more money. Maybe Toyotas are more expensive on the 4x4's, extended cabs, etc., but my reg cab 4x2 was cheaper than the Frontier at the time.
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  • Thanks, I'm really enjoying my Crew Cab. The room in the back is like a small sedan(civic). Being that Nissan offered a crew cab is one of the reasons that I went with the Nissan. I looked at the Tacoma love the styling and think it's a good truck, but no crew cab...yet :) I think that both the Nissan and the Toyotas have about the same reliability(at least in my experience). Hope you are enjoying your new truck. I'm glad you got a good deal, some of these dealers don't really want to 'deal' on their trucks.

    One thing I seem to notice is this topic is the most civilized that either of these two vehicles are involved with. I mean the frontier v. ranger is crazy, the ranger v. tacoma certainly has it's moments but, after seeing this room the above common denominator could be proof of why those topics are so crazy.
  • Am looking for used King Cab Nissan 4X4 in the 1992 to 1994 years.
    Is the 4 cyl enough power? Will be travelling throughout Mexico in mountainous terrain, not much off road.
    How is the gas mileage?
    And what should I pay for one with about 80,000 miles or so?
  • Looks like I am more in the $7,500 to $9,000 range for 1993 or 1994, so will move down to 1990 to 1992.
    How about power, mpg?
    Any options to look for that owners really like, especially for long trips?
    What major things go wrong with Nissan 4X4 from 120,000 to 180,000 miles so I can do some preventive maintenance before heading to Mexico?
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    The reason is because Dodge, Ford, and Chevy owners aren't in the discussion......;)
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    denominator was the ranger fans...LOL
  • I think you both are right!!!!!! hehehehe
  • Boy I really ask some dumb questions. No wonder nobody answers.
    So here is another one.
    Which year(s) were the best for Toyota pickups?
    1990 through 1996.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I used to try to answer more questions, but since almost nobody thanked me, I quit.

    Best Toyota pickups--from reading this board, I think the '89-'94 generation (before the Tacoma) wins the most points. But I have no personal experience; I own a Frontier.
  • If going with a used toyo truck, go with a late 80's model if you can find one in decent shape. Those things still run like a swiss watch, and are also easier to modify if/when you decide to do any mods. That's what I'd do anyway. Or....just buy a Frontier :-)
  • Thanks for input: it all helps to make decision.
    Started search: '90, '92, '85, seen so far.
    '92 v6 only one so far that drives like a dream, though could be too small a sample.
    Seems like I can get a 92 or 93 in good shape for mid 8k.
    ??? How is AT on v6 of 89-94 models, still enough power??? Anybody?
    Thanks again.
  • spoogspoog Posts: 1,224
    I had a 91 Toyota pickup 4x4. Put 200,000 miles on it and it still ran like most other trucks with 50k.

    I now have a Tacoma, and I must say there I some things I like about the Tacoma better, and some things I like about the 85-95 pickups better.

    The Tacoma's have more goodies, and don't feel as sparse. The factory 4 wheeeling options are better, better suspensions, lockers, ect.

    However, so far, the 85-95 Toyota's feel a little more solid to me, in terms of taking abuse and overall seals, quietness, and toughness.

    The 85-95 Toyota pickups are PURE machines with no frills fine tuned and honed from the finest auto parts ever crafted. They are bulletproof, and no truck ever made could ever even HOPE of living up to the durability and reliabilty of those trucks.
  • I'm from the LA/SD cali. I own a 99 frontier xe king cab 2.4 auto. I want a 2000 desert runner, 5 spd. with out lossing that much $$$. If any one has an idea please e-mail me at
    I would appreciate it very much.
This discussion has been closed.