|Max Payload (lbs)
Who doesn’t enjoy the story of an underdog? There’s a reason why we always cheer on Rocky Balboa and not Apollo Creed. We love the aspect of a challenger rising to the occasion to dethrone the well-known champion. The pickup truck seems to embody the spirit of competition more than any other type of vehicle that’s currently available on the market. As a symbol of rugged individuality and hard work, the pickup has long been sought after by those with very specific tastes. Domestic manufacturers such as Chevy and Ford have always been the go-to for many. Still, the overseas importers of automobiles have been delivering results that are just as tough and reliable.
Nissan and Toyota, two companies with a profound role in the marketplace, have applied their ingenuity and design to the pickup in direct competition with their well-known and revered American counterparts. But, which one of these two manufacturers provides a superior product? In the battle between the 2022 Nissan Frontier vs 2022 Toyota Tacoma, there is a lot to look at, but when you compare the biggest points of each truck, the Frontier is the one that comes out on top. With better engine specs and higher payload ratings, the Frontier will be able to handle anything you have to throw at it.
For many truck owners, comfort and aesthetics always take a back seat to performance and versatility. Whether it’s off-roading or the necessity of having a workhorse at one’s disposal, performance is a priority. Therefore, the first step in our analysis of both these vehicles can easily be summed up with a question that’s been asked regarding several vehicles through the years: “What’s under the hood?”
There are two engines available for the Tacoma. The standard engine is a 2.7L four-cylinder paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The standard offering generates 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. If this seems a bit limiting for what you want from a powertrain, Toyota also offers a 3.5L V6 engine with a considerably larger margin in the performance department. It also comes with a six-speed automatic transmission (although a six-speed manual is available for those who want a more immersive driving experience). With 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, you’ll be able to handle heavy workloads with minimal effort.
When it comes to payload and towing, the Tacoma is more than capable, albeit this depends on the drivetrain you have. For example, the maximum payload of 1,685 lbs is only available when you choose the smaller 2.7L engine. However, pick the 3.5L if you want to reach the maximum towing capacity of 6,800 lbs.
While the Tacoma has some good specs from both of its engines, the Nissan Frontier takes a slightly different approach to powertrains than the Tacoma. As it's done in recent years, Nissan makes one single engine and transmission standard across all trims. While the scaled-down four-cylinder base option in the Tacoma might not grant enough of an edge for some, causing them to pay more for an upgrade, the Frontier provides the same power for every one of its trucks.
The standard offering from Nissan is a beefy 3.8L V6. Outperforming both of Toyota’s options with 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, there’s no question as to which vehicle is more qualified for delivering the goods. This elevated performance is accentuated by a standard nine-speed transmission. With this engine, max towing is 6,720 lbs, just 80 lbs less than the Tacoma's maximum, and the payload caps off at a higher 1,710 lbs.
The interior of your vehicle is probably the most important thing to consider when buying a vehicle. After all, this is where you’ll be spending your time, so you will want to be comfortable. Let's see how the interiors of these two trucks stack up.
When it comes to comfort, the Toyota Tacoma continues its lengthy consideration of having very little to brag about. While it’s never wise to judge a book (or vehicle) by its cover, the Tacoma's bland and uninspired interior design is the exception that proves the rule. Despite having a rather impressive-looking infotainment screen that stretches out to seven inches(or eight inches if you pay more), the abundance of hard plastic accouterments and little in the way of legroom hinder any comfort. The interior is all too telling of how innovation regarding the Tacoma has moved at a snail’s pace. With features such as Apple Play and an adjustable driver’s seat only recently making an appearance, it’s quite uncharacteristic for a manufacturer like Toyota to be out of step with the times.
If the Tacoma appears complacent with being outdated, then the Nissan Frontier has greatly benefitted from a recent redesign. If the powertrain options have a streamlined approach, the interior benefits from the hallmarks of a renewed eye for comfort. Not only does the standard infotainment offering match up to the Tacoma’s available option (eight inches), but an available nine-inch screen outclasses Toyota. Implementing comfortable seating matched with plenty of legroom, Nissan has brought their lineage of ingenuity to elevate the comfort of its customers. The industry-standard amenities are also included, such as Apple and Android compatibility and a variety of charging outlets to ensure you stay powered on and connected while traveling.
While Toyota has made a valiant effort to play “catch-up” with changing trends, it appears the Tacoma has a long way to go in terms of modernization. Nissan has made the jump, leaving the Tacoma far behind.
Even with a ruggedly built truck, advanced safety features are important to have. Whether you plan on using a pickup for work, play, or something between the two, being safe and obtaining peace of mind is of the utmost importance. The Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma offer driving assistance and safety features to give you an added layer of protection.
Both of these trucks offer a standard set of safety features that include everything you would expect out of a modern vehicle. They both have forward collision alert systems with automatic braking to avoid frontal collisions, a lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.
While the standard features that cross both models are great, we have to give the safety round to Nissan because of the rest of the features it has standard. With the Nissan Safety Shield 360, you also get rear automatic braking, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert in all trims. Toyota does offer similar features, but they have to be added on at a higher cost. Nissan’s Intelligent Driver Alertness trumps many of the offerings from the Tacoma. By implementing sensors that monitor the patterns of a driver, an alarm will sound that notifies the driver if they should take a break to avoid any lane drifting.
Nissan also offers Intelligent Cruise Control, which is similar to Toyota's Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and traffic sign recognition, so you never miss seeing a road sign. Finally, Nissan offers an Intelligent Around View Monitor, which gives you 360-degree views around your vehicle. Fitting into a tight parking space will be a breeze with this feature.
While the Frontier and Tacoma do share some similarities, Nissan offers more. There are more standard features in the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite, and the available features are unique in a way that Toyota does not provide yet.