Toyota Tacoma vs. Nissan Frontier

By

Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - October 12, 2021

American automakers may dominate the pickup truck scene, but Nissan and Toyota have two very strong options in the midsize segment. The Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma line up against one another fairly evenly with similar towing capacities, comparable V6 engines, and identical body styles.

While the Frontier and Tacoma have a lot of similarities, there are quite a few differences between the two pickups. Which one of these pickup trucks is the better choice? That’s what we’ll answer in this comparison below.

What the Toyota Tacoma Gets Right

The Tacoma has an immediate edge over the Frontier when it comes to pricing. Pricing for the Tacoma starts at $27,715 (with destination), while the Frontier is priced at $28,990. The $1,275 difference between the two makes the Tacoma the better choice for shoppers on a budget.

When it comes to towing capacity, the Tacoma barely edges out the Frontier. When properly equipped, the Tacoma is rated to tow up to 6,800 pounds and can haul up to 1,685 pounds. The most the Frontier can muster is a towing capacity of 6,720 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,600 pounds. These aren’t large differences, but the Tacoma beats the Frontier.

Toyota offers the Tacoma with a lengthy list of standard safety features. Lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high-beam headlights are standard. The Frontier comes standard with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

Read Our Overview of the Toyota Tacoma

What the Nissan Frontier Gets Right

While the Tacoma comes with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine as standard, the Frontier is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine. The Frontier’s V6 produces 310 horsepower with the Tacoma’s four-cylinder produces 159 hp. The Tacoma is available with a 3.5-liter V6, but it makes 278 hp.

Both the Tacoma and Frontier offer similar amounts of interior space, but the Frontier offers slightly more room in the back. The Frontier has more rear headroom and rear legroom than the Tacoma. On the inside, the Frontier also offers larger touchscreens than the Tacoma. Nissan offers its pickup truck with a standard eight-inch touchscreen and an optional nine-inch unit. The largest touchscreen available in the Tacoma is an eight-inch unit.

Nissan gave the Frontier a full redesign for 2022. The truck now wears a modern exterior design with muscular elements, while the cabin has a snazzy look and much nicer materials. The current generation of the Tacoma came out in 2016 and is now starting to feel old. The same can’t be said about the Frontier, which now feels fresh.

Read Our Overview of the Nissan Frontier

New or Tried and True?

The Toyota Tacoma has always been a stalwart option in the midsize class. It delivers things consumers expect from a pickup truck while being incredibly reliable. It’s more affordable than the Frontier and has more standard safety features, but it feels old and looks outdated.

Our Verdict

Nissan greatly improved the Frontier for the 2022 model year. While the pickup truck isn’t the best option in the class, it’s a better choice than the Tacoma. It offers nearly the same towing capacity, a more powerful V6 engine that’s standard, more tech features, and more spacious back seats. For consumers that can afford the higher price tag, the Frontier is a better option.

Compare Side-By-Side: Toyota Tacoma vs. Nissan Frontier »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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