Nissan Frontier vs. Toyota Tacoma Reliability

Nissan Frontier vs Toyota Tacoma Reliability

Frontier and Tacoma are great midsize vehicles that anyone will love to identify with. These two cars of, Nissan and Toyota, have an amazing reliability framework that makes them efficiently run for years without breaking down. But the question remains; which is better, Frontier or Tacoma?

This might not be what you expected, but Nissan Frontier is more reliable than Tacoma. You get cheaper repair and maintenance costs on Nissan Frontier than on Tacoma and high-reliability ratings.

The safety ratings for both cars are a mix. Frontier beats Tacoma with better frontal crash prevention systems for vehicle-to-passenger and vehicle-to-vehicle (day and night). However, it falls short with a poor headlight rating compared to Tacoma’s good overall rating.

Here’s all you need to know about Frontier vs. Tacoma reliability and why Frontier is better.

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Detailed Comparison

Great Technology
Great Technology
They can last more than 200,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 20 years.
They last between 200,000 to 300,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 20+ years.
Repair and Maintenance Cost
Great on Pavement and for Towing
Better off-road strength
Adventurous; More Horsepower, better towing and supports.
Adventurous; better headlights.
Gas Mileage

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Which is better?

On an overall scale, Nissan Frontier is better than Toyota Tacoma. This doesn’t mean that Tacoma is a bad car. It is actually one of the best midsize trucks in existence. However, Frontier offers better services and product offerings at a cheaper price.

The cost of maintenance is cheaper on Frontier than on Tacoma. With Frontier, you get fewer chances of severe and minor repairs than in Tacoma. According to Repairpal, Frontier has a reliability rating of 4.0/5.0, ranking 1st out of 7 midsize trucks. Toyota Tacoma takes many steps backward, ranking 3.5/5.0 and 7th out of 7 midsize trucks.

The truth is, understanding the reliability of cars goes beyond the ratings. Frontier and Tacoma have individual areas that they are good at. You need to understand these specifics to choose the right one for you.

Reliability comparisons on both cars vary according to their trim levels and years of production. For instance: the 2020 Nissan Frontier performed poorly in terms of safety, but it got a boost in 2022, although with needs to update its headlights.

On an overall scale, Frontier offers more value than Tacoma, a better-equipped towing bed, more towing capacity, and better designs. It falls short in off-road ability and fuel economy. You must understand that this review is based on the 2022 version of both cars, as there may be variations in other years.

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Design

The definition of good design varies for many drivers, but the standard remains the same. The new 2022 Frontier comes with better designs than the Tacoma. With the Nissan Frontier, you get a better comfy road feel on track rides. This is sponsored by its new rear sway bar and amazing Bilstein high-performance shocks.

There are guarantees for extreme terrains and comfortable rides. Both cars adopt the same 9.4 inches of ground clearance, aggressive terrain tires, electronic locking rear differentials, and lots more.

Although, Tacoma takes off-road rides seriously by introducing forged upper control arms and an internal bypass fox shock package. With the inclusion of the low-speed crawl control system on Tacoma, multiple terrain modes, and rock-crawl features, the Tacoma design makes it a more reliable choice for off-road rides. Both pickup trucks offer similar advanced driver assistance systems, like Traffic-Adaptive Cruise control and lane departure warning.

On the other hand, Tacoma’s off-road tuning doesn’t make it the best option for on-pavement rides. The new Frontier offers a more cabin environment, better immersion in modernity, and similar tech offerings in their designs.

Other Tacoma seats seem comfier, but the Frontier’s zero gravity is much more popular. You get heated steering wheels, and more USB ports than on Tacoma, with an all-round display of 21st-century digitalization. The space on Frontier is enviable. You get more legroom, a wider bed, and a more exclusive interior.

On a side note, if you're looking for tonneau covers for your Nissan Frontier, our recommendations might be worth your time.

Winner: Frontier

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Repair and Maintenance Cost

It is cheaper to maintain a Frontier than a Tacoma. Tacoma tends to last long, but the overall cost of ownership of a Tacoma is higher than what is obtainable on Frontier. Frontier has an average annual repair and maintenance cost of $470, while Tacoma has $478.

The average frequency for repairs on Frontier is 0.24, while on Tacoma, it is 0.25. This includes a 12% chance of severe damages on Frontier and 17% on Tacoma. This means that with a Frontier, you will have fewer reasons to visit the repair shop than with a Tacoma.

Winner: Frontier

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Durability

The level of durability attained by a car depends on the driver's maintenance culture. However, on fair terms, Tacoma lasts longer than Frontier. The Toyota Tacoma isn’t considered durable until it hits 200,000 miles. There are chances for minor and major repairs with both cars, but you can always rely on Tacoma to last longer.

Tacoma’s durability has always been its major selling point. At some point, the Toyota Tacoma wasn’t considered the longest-lasting midsize truck. The Honda Ridgeline outlasted the Tacoma. However, there are no arguments that Tacoma does it way better than Frontier when it comes to durability.

Winner: Tacoma

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Engine and Performance

Nissan Frontier beats the Toyota Tacoma on engine strength, specifications, and performance. The new Nissan Frontier runs on a better 3.8L Direct Injection Gasoline engine, while the Tacoma runs on a 2.7L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT-i. Nissan delivers up to 310hp, which is miles ahead of Tacoma, which releases a meager 159hp.

Due to their varying engine strengths, the towing capacity is also different. Frontier has a max towing capacity of 6,720 pounds, while Tacoma offers 6400 pounds. Although engine capacity varies on Tacoma as some trim levels offer better options. However, even the best Tacoma configuration offers just 278hp, which is lower than Frontier’s base 310hp.

You are assured that no matter your choice for Frontier, it offers better horsepower than all Tacoma models and configurations. The 278 horsepower is only achievable when you swap Tacoma’s standard four-cylinder for the V6 engine. Frontier comes with a standard V6 engine.

Both cars use old-fashioned hydraulic-assist power steering, but Tacoma has more engine support for a better dirt ride. This includes more engine supports, like forged upper control arms for improved suspension articulations, and a great internal bypass Fox shock package. These features offer a better off-road driving experience than what Frontier’s Bilsteins offers. However, while Tacoma offers low-speed control, Frontier comes with engine-braking downhill systems.

The argument on Tacoma vs. Frontier, which has a better engine and performance, depends on what you want from a car. If you want off-road performance, then Tacoma is your best bet. For increased horsepower and stable/comfy performance on a normal road, you should choose Frontier.

Winner: Frontier

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Gas Mileage

Irrespective of how good Frontier’s engines are, they are not deserving when it comes to gas mileage. Tacoma’s are not good either. Probably because they are midsize trucks, but the gas mileage of Tacoma and Frontier is not what you should rely on.

The new 2023 Toyota Tacoma comes in seven trims. The highest fuel economy achieved by the trims is 20/23 MPG, which is by Tacoma SR5 and SR. 2023 Frontier comes with 24 mpg, which equates to 18 cities, 24 highways, and 20 combined. The truth is, none of the cars has exceptional gas mileage. But it is hard to expect great gas mileage from trucks as is achievable on compact cars.

Winner: Both

Frontier vs. Tacoma Reliability: Safety and Technology

Both cars offer similar amazing technology, but when considering the purchase cost, Frontier is a better option. You get all the nice tech from Frontier without overshooting your budget.

According to IIHS safety ratings for 2022 cars, the Tacoma has better safety scores for headlights, but the Frontier has better seatbelt reminder systems. Both cars have superior front crash prevention scores for vehicle-to-vehicle. While Toyota optimizes the use of the pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, Nissan integrates the use of standard automatic emergency braking with its pedestrian detection system.

There are no safety credits for Tacoma’s safety scores on vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention at night, but Frontier still maintains a superior score. However, Tacoma beats Frontier by including lots of great safety features at standard. These features are usually available on Frontier via packages.

Considering the price differences between both cars, it is fair to say they offer similar safety standards, although Frontier needs to work on its headlights.

Winner: Both


The truth is, Tacoma might not be considered the most reliable truck, but they’ve still got impressive things going on with them. The longevity of Tacoma trucks is unrivaled, with off-road performance and endurance. It is necessary that you consider your choice and driving needs to ensure that you choose what is suitable for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a Nissan Frontier last as long as Toyota Tacoma?

Yes. A Nissan Frontier can last as long as Toyota Tacoma or as long as you want it to. Toyota Tacoma has an average lifespan of 200,000 miles. You can get your Nissan Frontier to reach such records if you are big on maintenance.

Moreover, the Nissan Frontier has a higher reliability rating than Toyota Tacoma, so why shouldn’t it last that long?

Is the new Frontier better than the Tacoma?

Yes. Aside from the poor headlights, the new Frontier is better than Tacoma. You get more horsepower, comfy rides, higher reliability scores, great gas mileage, better towing capability, and more cabin space. This includes better interiors, infotainment, and passenger space.

Is the Nissan Frontier the most reliable truck?

Yes. The Nissan Frontier is the most reliable truck (midsize truck), according to RepairPal. The truck has a reliability rating of 4.0/5.0, ranking 1st out of 7 in its category.