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Toyota Tacoma vs Nissan Frontier



  • Some folks here seem to have buyer’s remorse or questioning decision as they seem really defensive. Particularly some of the Taco owners but that may be just when I hit thread. I am sure you can find same w/ Frontier owners.

    As for me, I think “jdunne” pretty much nailed it in his earlier post. Well done.

    I’ve been in buying mode for a couple of months and have looked very hard at both of these trucks. Both seemed to be best two options. Did research. Both solid.

    I have owned both Nissans and Toyotas exclusively. Both great quality. When I was first looking, before any test drives, I was pretty confident I was getting a Taco. I like the overall looks better, still do. Somewhat sleeker. Moreover, interior seems more refined -- two tones, etc. As for sunroof, don’t care. Leather – could always do after-market. Tacoma had edge and I was already pricing them w/ options. Not too concerned with the whole 87 vs 91 octane. Plus Tacoma got slightly better mpg.

    But then I took test drive of Tacoma; also Frontier and Dakota just for kicks and make sure covered all bases. Had to be sure you know. OUCH. Dakota was fine but throwaway. But the Frontier seemed much better on road than Tacoma. Tried to talk myself out of it and drove both Taco and Frontier again. Same story yet even more profound. Took someone else with me for third trips. Complete agreement.

    Now I have major dilemma on my hands. Priced Tacoma, like the looks and reputation, ready to go … but gut and brain telling me to stop.

    I will not rehash jdunne’s post but the most critical differences were handling and noise. Tacoma just plain sloppier in handling department. It’s fine and I would have less problem if was on our Camry but this is an off-road truck. And it is actually sloppier than our Camry.

    Second, the Noise. I don’t care what the tests say as some others have cited. Tacoma “roared” when compared to the Frontier. It gets you there but just seems to struggle more and you can really hear it when punch engine. Loud.

    Front seating seemed better laid out and more comfortable on Frontier. Tacoma clearly better in rear seating in double cab as less incline in back bench.

    Now leaning toward Frontier even though I really like the look of the Taco much better. Never labored over car buying decision like this one. Sat on decision for months and just put off. Time to fish.
  • dockeendockeen Posts: 68
    My advice is, having done your homework, buy what you really want. Sure, you could get unlucky with any vehicle, but the odds say, which ever one you pick will serve you well.

    Make yourself happy.


    p.s. I didn't drive the Dodge, but I did drive a Chevy - a Colorado - it did not feel as good or tight as my 1999 B3000 with 117,000 miles on it.
  • toykicktoykick Posts: 104
    let me point out a few more... Edmunds did a comparison test not to long ago on midsized trucks... same out come as others... tacoma first frontier second... Motor trend threw in the frontier for Truck of the year and lost vs. the tacoma :P ...
    Intellichoice ranks the tacoma a better buy then the frontier due to less depreciation... Last gen tacoma was on KBB top 10 vehicles with best resale value.
  • toykicktoykick Posts: 104
    lol dont know if you guys care much but thats JD powers new quality survey... in the past 4-5 years Nissan has been below industry average...does nissan still use ford parts like they did a few years ago? :confuse:
  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    The last J D Powers appeal survey I looked at showed the 05 Frontier slightly ahead of the 05 Tacoma. I believe that the Tacoma is simply more popular than the Frontier, and in some peoples eyes that translates to being better. The Tacoma is the current "champ" and it may take more than the Frontier to knock it off its throne, even though I feel the Frontier just may be a superior truck.
    Waiting anxiously for the 06 's.

  • badnessbadness Posts: 242
    I like my Nissan alot and I'm glad alot of people don't have A Frontier ,beging that every corner you see a Toy and I like knowing that we stand out more for that reason,and when you see us in our Nissans you can WOW .

    But we owners say oh another Toy big deal.

    Hey Driver, go on
    they have some new colors pretty nice,
    I got the CC-LE-S/b 4*4 the V-6 ROcks! I thing were the Superior truck 2.
    The nissan is way fast!!
    Goodluck with buying one.

  • toykicktoykick Posts: 104
    So looks are more important then reliability?

    As for looks well we all have different tastes... The frontier does look smaller from the outside then the tacoma in my opinion... The nismo frontier with the 10.1 ground clearance doesnt have a higher stance then the tacoma... The prerunner tacoma has 9+ ground clearance... and sits higher then the frontier... thats measured from roof to floor...
  • 2005lekc2005lekc Posts: 145
    Looks are not more important to me than reliability, but from my experience the Datsun/
    Nissans have been more reliable than the Toyotas over-all.

    I have had 8 Datsun/Nissans and never had a bad one yet. I kept one of them for 24 years. I have had 2 Toyotas and have had one lemon and one very wonderful car
    that my wife is currently driving.

    Looks are purely a matter of personal taste and to me the Frontier is the better looking of the two, but my taste does not count to anyone but me.

    I would have thought this thread would have died by now, but some people just can't
    turn it loose. Why can't we agree to disagree and admit both trucks are very good trucks?

  • dockeendockeen Posts: 68
    Its the sort of thing, a rivalry, that pops up eternally - like Mustang versus Camera. As long as peope have fun with things, it OK. When the day is over, I hope that everyone has a great truck, including me.

    And yes, there is always that fear that "I bought the wrong one" ;)

  • ustazzafustazzaf Posts: 311
    What a difference 30 years does. Now we have Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans and Mitsubishis fighting that battle. The Mustang and Camaro still live, but the majority of "hot rods" have 4 bangers. Wow! As for the fear of buying the wrong vehicle, I didn't even look at anything but the Tacoma because I had a Tundra (that I will regret parting with for the rest of my days) and I was a true believer in the Toyota name (and still am). After purchasing it, I read about the Honda Ridgeline and quite frankly they had me second guessing my decision to not check their product out. On the Tacoma vs Ridgeline forum, 4 out 5 writers had good things to say about the Ridgeline and/or bad things to say about the Tacoma. So I went down and checked out the Ridge. Now I know why all the Ridge owners and very few of the Tacoma followers post comments. The Tacoma owners are out enjoying their new truck and the Ridge owners can't stand to spend any more time than necessary in their ride. Figure that if they say enough good things, it will come true. As for the Nissan, I may not even try that. I think it could impress me. If I am half as happy with my Tacoma as I was with my Tundra, I will have a smile on my face that will never leave.
  • toykicktoykick Posts: 104
    lol you know whats funny? i knew someone was going to post something like that... Oh i owned nissans in the past and they all have been more reliable then my toyotas... I should of posted this remark before you posted yours lol.... since most of the thread has been nothing but crap... I'm not saying i dont believe you, but then again this is a forum called tacoma vs. frontier... I could tell you how many electrical, Brake and tranny issues i've had with past nissans but whats the point... lol If you want me to Shut up Prove me wrong not with lame personal write ups... I've posted almost all sources... call them what you want Rag mags etc... They are the top reviewers... If people didnt buy or read their crap i wouldnt even be posting these facts...
  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    According to Consumer Reports Toyotas have been more reliable than Nissans.
    BUT, for the 05 season both the Tacoma and Frontier were totally redesigned. Only time will tell how either one holds up. I for one have faith in both these companies to build good, safe, quality vehicles. I am currently driving a 98 Sienna which has served me well. Except for a few electrical glitches, the vehicle has been a two thumbs up. Mind you, I maintain it very well. Am I stuck on Toyota?
    By all means, No! I'm keeping an open mind, doing my research, test driving, and conversing with as many people as I can, whether they be mechanics, or owners of whatever auto I may be interested in. Overall, I like what I've read, heard, driven, and seen of both the 05 Tacoma and Frontier. In the end though, it is all purely subjective. Go Toyota! Go Nissan!
  • time2time2 Posts: 25
    I agree with the reliability of the Nissans. Nissan has always built trucks as or more reliable as the Toyotas. Nissan owners have just never had to pay for more stylish (feminine in my opinion) interiors and style points that are so important for the typical Toyota owner's self esteem.

    I just traded my 93 Nissan Pickup in with 512K and no problems for my 05 Frontier. I was ready for a change and I just trust the Nissan trucks more based on my experience and not magazine drivel. Just a solid and reliable truck. More reliable than Toyotas from what I've seen with my trucks and those that I know of locally.

    Really now, I suppose we'll next see the National Enquirer Truck of the Year-- Tacoma! LOL What a joke!!!

    I suppose whatever it takes to make you Tacoma folks feeling better about your truck. lol
  • time2time2 Posts: 25
    Make that 215K, not 512K. My mistake.
  • dockeendockeen Posts: 68
    I like my new Toyota so far. I liked my Mazda too. :)

    Hmmm, this is a fairly widespread on august body. It might be interesting to do an experiment. For a fixed period of time (I suggest a month or two), note the trucks that you see broken down by the side of the road. Note just the make. Don't count flats. I wonder what the stats would show?

    Yes, I know, its not always clear whether a truck is broken down, or the driver is out taking a pee, or is a left-over from an accident, so the study has some problems.

  • 2005lekc2005lekc Posts: 145

    You have a problem. In an earlier post I mentioned the Consumer Report results and said that the Tacoma was slightly better than the Frontier. As close as they were it looks like to me you have a very good chance of getting a good one which ever way you go.

    As far as not believing me I could not care less. I know what I have owned and how
    much I have had to do to each one in the years I owned it.

    If you were paying attention to what I said you also should have noticed that my wife is
    currently driving a Solara, which i said was one of the best cars I have ever owned. We
    may replace it with another Toyota when the time comes, but if I associate all Toyota
    people with you I would not have another one on a bet.

    I know better though, there are a lot of Toyota people out there who don't have to disre-
    spect someone else just because they don't agree with you.

  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that we would'nt be any further ahead in knowing the facts.
    I was just viewing the web site 05 Tacoma isn't looking all that good. What do you think of that? I expect both (if not all) trucks to improve over time.

  • I've gone back and test drove each vehicles a second time and still come back around to the Frontier. It just wins in the every day usefulness that I find important.

    Heated seats are great. I have to leave my truck outside for 10 hours during sub zero midwest winters while at work. It's a little bit of luxury I appreciate. The much quieter cabin and road manners are nice for my highway commute. The ease of flipping up the back seat to make room for things in the back is a lot nicer. An electric defrost is a nice touch. The Rockford stereo and Satellite pre-wiring is a bonus that Toyota doesn't provide either.

    My only hold up comes to the lack of long bed option, but it's something that isn't going to affect me in a day to day usefulness. I might miss it *sometimes*, but the little stuff that Frontier does right will be more apparent in day to day use of th truck.

    Oh, and the fact that I can get a Frontier right now for almost $2,000 under invoice is nothing to sneeze at.

    I think my wife and I will be picking up a fully loaded Frontier LE CC 4x4 later this month.
  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    Sounds like a heck of a deal! I for one preferred the ride and the handling of the Frontier but expected the reverse and have been leaning towards the Nissan ever since my first test drive. That truck climbs like a billy goat in rough terrain ( the Tacoma is no slouch). And don't worry about the long bed option. It'll be that much easier to maneuver and park.
    Go for it and enjoy!
  • toykicktoykick Posts: 104
    I've seen several 22r_ engines with more then 500k... whats your point? lol

    as for magazine drivel... i guess you didnt recognize what i said neither... Talking crap online or on a forum is useless... you've proved it.. But Theres several sources which have comparison tests and have more knowledge about cars and trucks then probably you and me... To be honest... I dont care much about nissan... most people know their history... I guess you probably like driving a [non-permissible content removed] truck with ford parts in it(older models)... and as for reliability... if nissan made great cars they wouldnt of gone bankrupt in mid-early 90s for crappy craftsmanship ... lol if it wasnt for a french company (which owns more then 50% of nissan now) they wouldnt be around today...
  • streaksstreaks Posts: 64
    You've been the biggest loud mouth about your Frontier!! What's the problem?? YOU buy the wrong truck!! Is it "Taco Envy"? LOL!!

    We're all trying to help each other here dude.....Like I said before BOTH trucks are good!!

    Sayin' " feminine in my opinion" ....." Nat. Enquirer. T.O.T.Y" and your previous crap makes you look like a IDIOT!! Why don't you tell ppl whats good (or bad) about your truck?? Maybe you could help someone?? Ever thought a that?? Makes you feel good too!!

    You know, you can still "bust balls" and keep it cool!!

    Raise a glass to both Taco and Fronty!! Cheers! Till we meet on the street or in the dirt!!
  • dockeendockeen Posts: 68
    "I think my wife and I will be picking up a fully loaded Frontier LE CC 4x4 later this month."

    Cool! Enjoy it, particularly that odor of the gods, "new car smell"!

    :) :) :)


    p.s. My wife hates new car smell
  • time2time2 Posts: 25
    but you Toyota loyalists are just so fun to get riled up!

    OK, I'll just concentrate on being helpful.

    Buy a Frontier! lol
  • streaksstreaks Posts: 64
    There you go!!

    Nice and of luck to you and your Frontier!

    Thank You!!
  • my first new truck was an 89 B2600i 4X4 5speed. It was supposed to be my dad's truck but I ended up with it. It never gave me problems, only what I had put it through and even then it was all wear and tear. So... buying a new truck for the first time is and was a big deal.

    I was leaning towards Toyota at first because of what other people and magazine experts and commercials, etc. had said.

    I don't want to get into too many details but I ended up testing both the 05 tacoma automatic(couldn't find a 6speed) and teh 05 frontier 6speed. Both trucks are great but again I've only owned a 4cyl. 4x4. so I guess anything taht is not 4cyl. would be very impressive to

    Seriously, If you gonna have an oppinion that others will appreciate, validate it with having test driven both sides, not jsut from what you have read or what teh statistics or these experts have said. Both trucks have their pros and cons and neither one is without their quirks. I've done my own homework and, checked both the Nissan and Toyota Forum. The Nissan forum in my own opinion is a very boring place. The only exciting part that became a big commotion was an intake manifold noise(it was taken care of with the TSB, other than that not far.

    I test drove the Toyota then the Frontier then the Toyota again to make sure...
    ...i have been driving my new Frontier SE 6 speed for 7 months now and have been very fortunate not to have the problems that some frontier owners are having.

    Climbing up H3 towards the mountain and seeing multiple waterfall in the Koolaus with the windows down and feeling both the wind on my face and feel of my frontier's power doing what it is supposed to be doing is jsut awesome, awesome, awesome.

    It took me awhile to get over my selling of my mazda truck but I'm over it now and i still see it roaming around town..

    Don't want to get in too many details but I test drove
  • I've posted a few times on the Nissan 2005+ forum re: my Frontier NISMO experiences.
    See those for my off-road experiences in detail.

    I've had 3-4Runners (including its predecessor, the Trekker). Have great respect for the Toys and their reliability. Drove my 91 185K before my wife realized it didn't have airbags and insisted I replace it. Tears ran down my cheeks as it went out the driveway on the Jerr-Dan, headed for an auto actions for the benefit of Purple Heart. That truck and I had shared some great experiences and my GSDs loved going for a ride in it. Have used the 98 4Runner for past few years and it too has earned my respect.

    So why did I desert Toyota for Nissan and purchase a Frontier? First of all, when I found that the new Tacoma needed premium gas for best performance I said no way. I wasn't going to take a chance that it would run "ok" on regular gas. I wasn't going to pay more for the premium given current gas prices, even in late July when I was looking for seriously for a new truck. I did not get the rude treatment that some have complained about at Toyota dealers. The salesman even searched the regional inventory to see how many Tacomas were available with side airbags, which my wife insisted I get this time.

    The other main reason I went with Nissan is that we purchased a Nissan Armada in 04 primarily for traveling (now has 36K on it) and it's been a great vehicle. Uses too much gas, but other than that, it is an excellent vehicle. However, it's too large to use on a regular basis for off-road adventures, but it can do it when it has to. The Armada impressed me for a first year production by Nissan so I was willing to take a chance on the redesigned Nissan Frontier.

    I believe you will find you get more for your dollar with the Nissan. Look at what you get in the basic truck or even when you have selected your options compared with the Tacoma. Then, go to the dealer and see what price they will offer you. Think you will come out better with Nissan. They don't have the attitude that too many Toyota dealer have. As the old Avis advertisement use to say, "we try hard". On the other hand, the Tacoma is probably worth more after a few years than the Frontier.

    In summary, I don't think can go wrong with either. You could save a lot more if you had purchased a US company's vehicle during the family prices era, but don't think you would get as good a vehicle.

    81 Trekker
  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    What are the facts? I took a look at the I.I.H.S. crash tests and the N.H.T.S.A. crash tests and noticed one very important fact. The Frontier in the I.I.H.S. test weighed in at 350 lbs. more than the Tacoma and in the N.H.T.S.A. test the Frontier weighed in at a whopping 982 lbs. more. The experts say that if any two vehicles are not within 250lbs. then they should not be compared.
    The more weight the more force. It is that simple. And, I betcha' that if you were to slam these two vehicles into each other at any significant speed the Toyota would be worse for the wear. Just something to think about. We see what we want to see.
    A non biased car enthusiast.
  • ustazzafustazzaf Posts: 311
    You are right about seeing what we want to see, but I doubt the non-biased part. If you test a 2K pound vehicle and a 10K pound vehicle against concrete barriers and get better survivability out of the lighter vehicle, I would not expect the lighter vehicle to fair better in a head on crash. However when the weight is within 350 or even 1000 pounds, I would expect the same results as in the test considering that the vehicles are about the same height and will be hitting something considerably more forgiving than a concrete barrier. If the "experts" say not to compare vehicle of different weight, why do they catagorize the Tundra and Ford, Chevy and Dodge half tons togeather? I guarantee the weight varies more than 350 pounds. It is because they are close enough to where it does not make a measurable difference.
  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    Who are they, that are categorizing Tundra, and Ford, Chevy and Dodge? According to the crash web site, the # 1 determining safety factor is weight. If you are involved in a two vehicle crash you'll generally fair better in the heavier vehicle (mass absorbs energy).
    When running into a concrete barrier at whatever speed, the added weight of whatever vehicle will play a role in how much damage occurs to that vehicle. That is why the + or - 250lb. difference is figured in. More weight = more force. That is why we should look beyond the ratings ( in this case, the star ratings) . In other words, read between the lines.I just wanted to make a point in reference to what toykick posted and the crash test results. That said, I believe that the new Tacoma and Frontier are both very well built trucks and I would feel 100% secure in either.
    just another auto enthusiast
  • ustazzafustazzaf Posts: 311
    I have used the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site. I just checked, and they included the S10 also, which is definately lighter (I looked at 2002 because that is what year my Tundra was). 2005 used the Canyon, Colorado, all full size trucks, the Nissan, and the Toyotas. The Nissan came up with 4,4,5,5 stars in areas tested. The Tundra and Tacoma came up with 5 stars in all areas tested. Ya, I am biased!!!! 4 1/2 stars out of 5 is definately something I would haul my kids in. Depending on the test and tester, it could obviously go either way. Had I driven the Nissan, I could very well be driving one. Just was estatic with the Toyota service after the sale. Had to go back. Mazda and GM pretty much ended up in the bottom of the heap. In my opinion, if you are driving a Frontier or Tacoma, you got your money worth.
This discussion has been closed.