2020 Toyota Tacoma vs 2020 Nissan Frontier

2020 Toyota Tacoma
2020 Toyota Tacoma
$26,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2020 Nissan Frontier
2020 Nissan Frontier
$26,790MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Toyota Tacoma
$26,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Nissan Frontier
$26,790MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma is 7.5 out of 10, while the 2020 Nissan Frontier scores 5 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma emerges as the stronger choice. With its modern tech features, better safety ratings, and excellent off-road capabilities, it offers more value and functionality for those seeking a reliable and versatile midsize truck. The Nissan Frontier’s charm lies in its nostalgic design and new powertrain, but its outdated safety features and lower rating make it a less compelling option for most consumers.

Overview

MSRP

$26,050

MSRP

$26,790

Average price

$33,631

Average price

$25,307

Listings

1573

Listings

334
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

7.5 out of 10

Expert reviews

5.0 out of 10
Pros
  • Easy-to-use technology
  • Standard advanced safety features
Cons
  • Interior materials feel cheap
  • Underwhelming base engine
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Off-road capability
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
  • Poor value for money
  • Outdated technology

2020 Toyota Tacoma Reviews Summary

Growing up in the post–Marty McFly era, I saw small Toyota pickups everywhere in America. When the American automakers abandoned this market in the late 2000s, Toyota kept on trucking. The Tacoma remains the best-selling midsize truck in the US—it's more popular than the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier combined. The Ford Ranger isn’t a threat, either. Nearly a quarter-million people purchased a Tacoma last year, a vehicle that by any measure is loud, slow, and defiantly old-fashioned. It’s the capability, size, and dependable off-road features that keep Tacoma buyers satisfied. For 2020, it gets few but important design and technology updates to push this rough-and-tumble pickup into modern times.

2020 Nissan Frontier Reviews Summary

Nissan is celebrating the Frontier’s Sweet 16 this year, but this is not a coming-of-age milestone. Rather, it’s a long-overdue retirement party. And the Frontier is going out with a bang thanks to a brand-new engine and transmission that give a preview of what the next-generation Frontier has in store. Just make sure you don’t get into an accident, or you’ll get pretty banged up yourself.

No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

2.7L 159 hp I4

Engine

3.8L 310 hp V6

Drive Train

4X2

Drive Train

4X2

Seating Capacity

4

Seating Capacity

4

Horsepower

159 hp @ 5200 rpm

Horsepower

310 hp @ 6400 rpm

MPG City

20

MPG City

18

MPG Highway

23

MPG Highway

24
2020 Toyota Tacoma
2020 Toyota Tacoma
$26,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Nissan Frontier
2020 Nissan Frontier
$26,790MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Toyota Tacoma
$26,050MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Nissan Frontier
$26,790MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma is 7.5 out of 10, while the 2020 Nissan Frontier scores 5 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma emerges as the stronger choice. With its modern tech features, better safety ratings, and excellent off-road capabilities, it offers more value and functionality for those seeking a reliable and versatile midsize truck. The Nissan Frontier’s charm lies in its nostalgic design and new powertrain, but its outdated safety features and lower rating make it a less compelling option for most consumers.

Overview
MSRP
$26,050
$26,790
Average price
$33,631
$25,307
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.3
4.6
Expert reviews

7.5 out of 10

Read full review

5.0 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Easy-to-use technology
  • Standard advanced safety features
Cons
  • Interior materials feel cheap
  • Underwhelming base engine
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Off-road capability
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
  • Poor value for money
  • Outdated technology
Summary
Growing up in the post–Marty McFly era, I saw small Toyota pickups everywhere in America. When the American automakers abandoned this market in the late 2000s, Toyota kept on trucking. The Tacoma remains the best-selling midsize truck in the US—it's more popular than the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier combined. The Ford Ranger isn’t a threat, either. Nearly a quarter-million people purchased a Tacoma last year, a vehicle that by any measure is loud, slow, and defiantly old-fashioned. It’s the capability, size, and dependable off-road features that keep Tacoma buyers satisfied. For 2020, it gets few but important design and technology updates to push this rough-and-tumble pickup into modern times.

Nissan is celebrating the Frontier’s Sweet 16 this year, but this is not a coming-of-age milestone. Rather, it’s a long-overdue retirement party. And the Frontier is going out with a bang thanks to a brand-new engine and transmission that give a preview of what the next-generation Frontier has in store. Just make sure you don’t get into an accident, or you’ll get pretty banged up yourself.

Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
2.7L 159 hp I4
3.8L 310 hp V6
Drive Train
4X2
4X2
Seating Capacity
4
4
Horsepower
159 hp @ 5200 rpm
310 hp @ 6400 rpm
MPG City
20
18
MPG Highway
23
24
Look and feel
2020 Toyota Tacoma
8/10
2020 Nissan Frontier
8/10
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma, while not likely to turn heads at a beauty contest, offered a clean and simple design that many found appealing. Despite some throwbacks to older Toyota trucks, such as the tinny sound when closing the back doors and the faux hood scoop, the Tacoma carried a certain rugged charm. The hood’s bulge served more as a masculine prop, indulging drivers with an image of rugged machismo, even if the truck was heading to a yoga class in the suburbs. Available in extended Access or Double Cab configurations, the Tacoma sported a rounded body with enough upright lines and chiseled panels to remind everyone that it wasn’t just another cushy SUV. With most models, efficiency took precedence over flashy embellishments, although the Limited trim did boast 18-inch wheels. The TRD Pro trim, however, upped the ante with newly designed LED headlights featuring “TRD” and “PRO” engravings, a striking Army Green paint option, and a new chunky grille with the classic “TOYOTA” branding. This trim level also included an aluminum skid plate with a red TRD logo, exposed red shocks from Fox Racing, and 16-inch black TRD wheels announcing its off-road prowess. The interior remained straightforward, marked by long rectangular planes, a modest touchscreen, and toggle switches. Despite the good fit and finish, the cabin materials were mostly bargain plastics and rubbers, which might detract from a more luxurious feel. In comparison, the 2020 Nissan Frontier’s design echoed its mid-2000s roots, yet still managed to look good, especially in the PRO-4X trim. Features like the tube-style roof rack, unique 16-inch alloy wheels, knobby white-lettered tires, and spray-in bedliner, complemented with cool bedside graphics, added to its appeal. The Frontier was available in King Cab and Crew Cab styles, with a variety of trims and configurations offering a mix of long and short cargo beds. Stepping inside the Frontier was like a trip back in time, with its symmetrical, modular dashboard and extensive use of silver plastic. While the interior design might have appeared dated, it was impressively solid, with no squeaks or rattles regardless of the road surface. This old-school charm combined with solid construction and good looks made the Frontier a nostalgic yet attractive option.
Performance
2020 Toyota Tacoma
7/10
2020 Nissan Frontier
8/10
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma came with two engine options, but the base 2.7-liter 4-cylinder, producing 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, was best avoided for its poor output and struggling performance in a heavy vehicle. Most buyers opted for the 3.5-liter V6, standard on higher trims, which delivered 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Tacoma had RWD as standard, with 4WD available. The TRD Pro trim came exclusively with 4WD. For those desiring more control, a 6-speed manual was available on the TRD Off-Road and Pro models, featuring the Clutch Start Cancel for tricky off-road conditions. The Tacoma’s off-road capabilities were robust, with features like Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control enhancing traction and control in different environments. However, these technologies weren’t essential, as the truck’s electronic locking rear differential, 9.4 inches of ground clearance, and excellent approach/departure angles ensured it could handle tough terrains. On paved roads, the Tacoma felt cumbersome, with a slow, numb steering response and a droning V6 engine. Fuel economy wasn’t stellar either, with the V6 achieving 18 mpg city, 22 highway, and 20 combined. However, the Tacoma excelled in towing, with a capacity of up to 6,800 pounds, and a payload of 1,440 pounds, making it a strong performer in off-road and towing situations. The 2020 Nissan Frontier received a major powertrain update with a new 3.8-liter V6 engine, producing 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This new engine replaced both the previous 4.0-liter V6 and 2.5-liter four-cylinder, offering significant improvements. The new powertrain provided smooth acceleration, robust low-end response, and high-revving capability, enhancing the driving experience. Fuel economy improved slightly, with a combined rating of 19 mpg for RWD models and 2 mpg more for 4WD models. The maximum tow rating stood at 6,720 pounds. However, the Frontier’s driving dynamics were less impressive. While the four-wheel disc brakes performed well, the steering felt both slow and heavy, and the truck’s turning radius was wide. The PRO-4X trim’s high-pressure Bilstein off-road shocks absorbed trail ruts and speed bumps but allowed road surface irregularities to reverberate throughout the truck. Despite its dated design, the Frontier’s sturdy character and new powertrain made it a compelling choice for those who valued a traditional truck feel.
Form and function
2020 Toyota Tacoma
8/10
2020 Nissan Frontier
5/10
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma’s smaller size compared to full-size trucks made it more maneuverable in urban environments and easier to park in standard garages. Its compact dimensions, relative to larger trucks, allowed for better handling on wooded trails and congested streets. The Tacoma offered two bed lengths: 5 and 6 feet, with the higher trims like the TRD Pro and Limited only available with the short bed. The bed featured a rail system with movable cleats for tying down cargo, an optional power outlet, and LED lighting. Despite its practicality, the Double Cab’s rear seats were cramped for long journeys and lacked air vents. There were hidden storage bins under the rear seats, but these didn’t offer a flat loading floor as seen in larger trucks. The absence of a rear defroster and a driver’s side grab handle was a drawback, but the quick and powerful cabin heater as well as easier ingress without the optional side steps compensated somewhat. Conversely, the 2020 Nissan Frontier made efficient use of space despite its dated interior design. The truck’s center console might have seemed wasteful, but it compensated with dual glove compartments and a decent-sized bin under the center armrest. The PRO-4X trim featured an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat that provided a supportive position, although not from Nissan’s Zero Gravity design, leading to discomfort during longer drives. The front passenger seat height wasn’t adjustable but sat high enough to be comfortable. Rear seat space was tight, with a flat bench seat and a backrest angle that offered little comfort. The lack of rear air conditioning vents and USB ports was notable. However, the Frontier’s bed came equipped with a standard spray-in bedliner, bed-rail caps, and a Utili-Track channel system with adjustable tie-down cleats, ready to carry up to 1,020 pounds of payload. The bed depth was shallow at 18 inches, offering a total volume of 27.1 cubic feet up to the side rails.
Technology
2020 Toyota Tacoma
7/10
2020 Nissan Frontier
3/10
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma was equipped with a user-friendly infotainment system, featuring a standard 7-inch touchscreen or an optional 8-inch version with navigation, cloud-based traffic routes, and online searches via voice or keyboard. For 2020, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa were included as standard, along with a new USB-C port. Available features like wireless phone charging and onboard Wi-Fi added to its modern appeal. However, options like a proximity key with push-button start and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror were not standard. The Tacoma’s 360-degree camera system provided ample views of the vehicle’s surroundings, though video quality was lacking. The off-road view feature displayed a graphic showing the truck’s tilt angle, active at low speeds in 4-Low. A suite of driver assists, including adaptive cruise control, enhanced the truck’s driving experience by providing essential safety nets. In contrast, the 2020 Nissan Frontier came with a smaller 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This included NissanConnect Apps, satellite radio, a navigation system, and a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium sound system. While the Frontier lacked Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, pairing an iPhone to Bluetooth allowed the use of Siri Eyes Free voice assistant as a more natural alternative to the Frontier’s basic voice recognition technology. Though limited, the simplicity of the Frontier’s tech offerings had an old-school charm, delivering basic functionality without modern frills.
Safety
2020 Toyota Tacoma
8/10
2020 Nissan Frontier
1/10
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma saw improved safety features, with standard forward-emergency braking and pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning. Optional features included blind-spot monitoring and parking sensors. The Tacoma scored 4 out of 5 stars in NHTSA crash tests, with similar scores for front and side barriers tests. The Tacoma was also recognized as an IIHS Top Safety Pick, earning top ratings in five of six crash tests, with an Acceptable rating for the front passenger in the small overlap test. Meanwhile, the 2020 Nissan Frontier struggled with safety ratings. NHTSA awarded the Frontier an overall rating of four stars, but its frontal-impact protection was rated three stars for the driver and a concerning two stars for the front passenger. The RWD model also received a mediocre three-star rollover resistance rating. IIHS ratings were similarly underwhelming, with a "marginal" rating in the small overlap frontal-impact test and a "poor" rating for headlights. The Frontier’s limited safety features included a reversing camera, antilock brakes, traction control, and stability control, but it lacked modern driver-assistance and collision-avoidance technologies.
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By: CarGurus + AI

This car comparison has been created with using generative AI. It is based entirely on CarGurus expert review content, ratings and data, and leverages our extensive library of hands-on product tests to create thousands of unique comparisons to help shoppers choose the right car.