Battle of the Trucks: Ford Ranger vs Nissan Frontier

If you’re in the market for a midsize pickup, you’ve probably considered the Ford Ranger and the Nissan Frontier—but which one is better? Here are the details!
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The 2022 Ford Ranger and the 2022 Nissan Frontier are pretty evenly matched competitors, but the Ranger edges out the Frontier in terms of overall value and truck capabilities
The Nissan Frontier is bringing some stiff competition to the midsize truck field, but it’s not quite enough to upset the Ford Ranger. With best-in-class towing capacity, unparalleled off-road chops, and basic straightforward tech, the Ranger has everything traditional truck lovers want and need.
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2022 Ford Ranger vs 2022 Nissan Frontier: the basics

Let’s start with the basics: size, price, fuel efficiency, and towing power.
  • Size: The Ranger and the Frontier are comparable when it comes to size, not differing by even a full inch in terms of wheelbase, length, width, or height. 
  • Pricing: While the Ranger and Frontier are also comparable in price, the Ranger starts at about $2k cheaper at $27,425 to the Frontier’s $29,985.
  • Efficiency: The 2WD Ranger beats the 2WD Frontier with 26 mpg highway to the Frontier’s 24. Both the 4WD Frontier and the 4WD Ranger return 24 mpg highway.
  • Towing power: The Ranger is the clear winner when it comes to towing capacity. When equipped with the optional tow package, the 2022 Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds. Meanwhile, the Frontier can only pull 6,720 pounds.
There’s a lot more to these two trucks than just performance specs, though. Let’s take a closer look to see if we can’t determine a clear winner between these two strong competitors.

2022 Ford Ranger vs 2022 Nissan Frontier: power & performance

The first round proved that these two competitors are pretty evenly matched, but let’s see if that stays true once we look under the hood and consider powertrains, horsepower, and efficiency.
Pop the hood on any Ranger and you’ll be met by a 270-hp 2.3-liter turbo-four mated to a 10-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) and either rear-wheel or front-wheel drive
Like the Ranger, the Frontier offers just one engine option, but that option is Nissan’s new naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 with 310 horses married to a buttery-smooth nine-speed automatic transmission and rear or four-wheel drive
Though the Frontier edges out the Ranger a bit when it comes to power, it does so at the expense of fuel efficiency.
2022 Ford Ranger
2022 Nissan Frontier
2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost®
3.8L V6
270 hp
310 hp
310 lb-ft
281 lb-ft
Ten-speed automatic
Nine-speed automatic
RWD or 4WD
RWD or 4WD
EPA fuel economy (combined)
19 mpg (Tremor only) to 23 mpg
10 mpg to 20 mpg
MORE: Nissan Pathfinder S towing capacity

2022 Ford Ranger vs 2022 Nissan Frontier: interior & storage

So if what’s under the hood doesn’t help us decide between these two pickups, let’s see if what’s inside will make things simpler. 
Both offer two cab configurations: SuperCab or SuperCrew for the Ranger and Crew Cab or King Cab for the Frontier. Interestingly, while the trucks’ wheelbases and bed lengths are nearly identical, passenger space in the cabins differs quite a bit between the Ranger and the Frontier. 
Both the Frontier and the Ranger offer surprisingly roomy interiors, but the Ranger SuperCrew offers up some of the most impressive rear passenger headroom and legroom we’ve seen in a small truck.
Unfortunately, where the Ranger falls short is interior storage. On the other hand, the Frontier offers hidden cubbies aplenty.
2022 Ford Ranger
2022 Nissan Frontier
126.8 inches
126.0 inches
210.8 inches
210.2 inches
Bed length
60 to 72 inches
59.5 to 73.3 inches
Headroom (front/rear)
41 / 38.3 inches
39.7 / 36.6 inches
Legroom (front/rear)
43.1 / 34.5 inches
42.3 / 26.2 inches
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2022 Ford Ranger vs 2022 Nissan Frontier: technology & trims

When it comes to technology, a lot of truck owners would almost rather do without. Both Nissan and Ford keep that in mind by keeping the tech in their trucks pretty low-key.
The bare-bones base Ranger XL starts with just a WiFi hotspot, a 4-speaker sound system, and forward collision mitigation. Like we said—low-key. If you want to add the Blue Oval’s Sync 3 infotainment system, two more speakers, and a few other perks, like power mirrors, buyers can add the 101A Tech package. Interested in safety? Add the Co-Pilot360 package, which includes blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist.
Stepping up to the Ranger XLT trim gets you all the tech mentioned above, plus keyless entry, an 8-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. XLTs are eligible for tech packages that add such additional features as:
  • Remote start
  • Power-folding mirrors
  • Power-adjustable, heated front seats
  • Front parking sensors
  • Navigation system
  • Adaptive cruise control
Tech features available on the top Lariat and Tremor trims that aren’t available on lower trims include automatic windshield wipers, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, and a universal garage door opener.
The Nissan Frontier starts with a similar, though not quite as severe, stripped-down configuration. Base S model includes:
  • Push-button start
  • 6-speaker sound system
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration
  • Forward collision mitigation
The Frontier S, and all other Frontier trims, are eligible for Nissan’s Safety Tech package that includes:
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear automatic braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
Climb the trim ladder to the SV, and power-adjustable seats now come standard. Buyers can also add a Convenience package that includes features like:
  • Bed under-rail lighting
  • Two household-style power outlets
  • Heated mirrors
  • Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Heated front sets
  • Keyless entry
Buyers can also add a Premium package to their Frontier SV that includes a 10-speaker Fender sound system.
The range-topping Pro-4X includes a 10-speaker sound system and a 9-inch touchscreen, plus buyers can add a Convenience package that includes a 360-degree camera and wireless device charging pad.
The Nissan Frontier certainly seems to win out over the Ford Ranger when it comes to available tech, but for truck buyers, that’s not always a good thing. If you’re a tech-lover, the Frontier will likely be your favorite here, but if you prefer a more down-to-earth utility truck, you’re likely to gravitate to the Ranger.
MORE: How to build a custom Ford Ranger
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2022 Ford Ranger vs 2022 Nissan Frontier: towing & off-roading

We’ve finally reached a category in which we have a clear winner. When it comes to towing capacity and off-road capability, it’s hard to find a midsize truck that can beat the Ford Ranger. 
Both the Frontier and the Ranger are undeniably built for hard work, but when properly equipped with the available tow package, the Ranger is capable of pulling up to 7,500 pounds. The Frontier’s 6,720-pound capability is impressive, but simple math tells you everything you need to know here.
The Ranger has the Frontier beat for payload capacity as well. The Ranger is good for up to 1,860 pounds, while the Frontier can only handle 1,610
The Frontier puts up a tougher fight when it comes to off-road capabilities, but the Ranger still takes it to school here too—especially when outfitted in Tremor trim. 
Both the Tremor and the comparable Frontier Pro-4X receive upgraded dampers, raised suspensions, and increased underbody protection, but the Tremor’s lift is higher, its stance is wider, and its tires are taller, which offers better geometry for approaches and departures. Plus, the Tremor’s Terrain Management System optimizes the Ranger’s performance in sticky situations, like mud and ruts, or slick ones like sand and snow.

2022 Ford Ranger vs 2022 Nissan Frontier: safety

Safety is another area where the Ranger is the clear winner over the Frontier—at least at higher trims. On the base trims, neither the Ranger or the Frontier offer many safety features, but as soon as you step up to the XLT trim for the Ranger, Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 package becomes a standard feature. The only standard safety feature included on any Frontier trim is forward collision mitigation.
Both the Nissan Frontier and the Ford Ranger earn good ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both trucks have yet to be rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

2022 Ford Ranger vs 2022 Nissan Frontier: Reliability 

Consumer Reports gives the 2022 Ford Ranger a predicted reliability rating of 4 out of 5. There is little reviewable data since the model only returned to production in 2019, but there has been one recall on the truck.
The Nissan Frontier, on the other hand, earns a predicted reliability rating of only 2 out of 5 due to 4 recalls in the last year.

Which is better: Ranger or Frontier?

We’ve covered all the bases, so what’s the bottom line? Who wins, the 2022 Ford Ranger or the 2022 Nissan Frontier?
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly daily driver, a bare-bones workhorse, or an off-road warrior, the 2022 Ford Ranger is the overall winner in this battle of the trucks

How to find cheap auto insurance for your truck

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