Trucks & SUVs

2020 Nissan Frontier vs. Ford Ranger: Critics and Consumers Are Divided

Midsize trucks are a popular choice for consumers looking for a hard-working pickup truck that can not only handle a decent size load but allow for easy maneuvering on busy streets. Both the 2020 Nissan Frontier and 2020 Ford Ranger are strong options that combine towing and hauling capabilities with good fuel economy and powerful performance.

Ford Motor Company has a group of followers that are loyal to their brand, making the Ranger an appealing choice for them. The Nissan Frontier has an enviable reputation in the midsize pickup truck segment, and many consumers appreciate the older styling features of this vehicle.

While both trucks have their own set of pros and cons, it comes down to price, performance, and reliability in determining which model stands out. Meanwhile, critics and consumers can’t seem to agree on which truck offers the better value.

What auto reviewers are saying about the Nissan Frontier vs. Ford Ranger

When it comes to reviews from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and most other critics, the Ford Ranger is a far better truck than the Nissan Frontier.

The 2020 Ford Ranger received a considerably higher 4.5 KBB Expert Rating compared to the 3.7 KBB Expert Rating given to the 2020 Nissan Frontier. The U.S. News Critics’ Rating for the Ranger is 8.2 out of 10. The Frontier scored much lower with a 6.2 out of 10.

According to popular auto reviewers, the 2020 Ford Ranger outperformed the 2020 Nissan Frontier in safety, interior, and performance categories. The Frontier, however, received a higher score for reliability.

As far as price goes, the Ford Ranger starts at $24,667 compared to the starting price tag of $27,614 for the Nissan Frontier. The Ranger offers better towing and hauling capacity compared to the Frontier that has one of the most limited towing limits in its class.

The engines in both trucks are more than capable with an all-new V6 in the Frontier that cranks out 310 hp with 281 lb-ft of torque. The Ford Ranger utilizes an intercooled turbocharged engine that gets 270 hp with 310 lb-ft of torque. Both use automatic transmissions with rear-wheel drive. The Ford Ranger offers a better fuel economy with 21 City and 26 highway.

How consumers feel about both vehicles

RELATED: The 2020 Ford Ranger Is the Best Boring Truck You Shouldn’t Ignore

When comparing the Frontier and Ranger’s consumer ratings, the Frontier has a better score than its Ford counterpart. KBB gave the 2020 Nissan Frontier a 4.6 consumer rating compared to the 4.0 awarded to the 2020 Ford Ranger.

Drivers are taken aback by the exterior styling of the Ford Ranger, which draws attention from onlookers everywhere it goes. The Nissan Frontier has not seen a redesign since 2005, leaving consumers yearning for an overhaul. While offering a more traditional looking truck, fans of the Nissan brand are ready to see something new in the Frontier pickup.

While both trucks are polar opposites in their design and features, they are both a popular choice for those looking for budget-friendly options.

The vehicle with the better overall score

U.S. News performed a side-by-side comparison of the two trucks. The 2020 Ford Ranger received a 7.5 out of 10 overall score, and the 2020 Nissan Frontier got a 6.9 overall rating.

The Ranger takes the lead when it comes to power and performance capabilities. It is best-in-class for fuel economy compared to other gas-powered trucks in the segment. Despite the Frontier’s intriguing new 3.8-liter V6, it is unlikely it will outpace the classic Ford product. The Car Connection suggests waiting for the 2021 Nissan Frontier redesign to see if the manufacturers opt to put more power under the hood. 

The Ford Ranger also offers high-tech safety features while the Nissan Frontier requires a serious safety update. Road and Track agreed that the Frontier feels old saying, “you notice it the moment you hop in.”

Critics and consumers may be divided when it comes to both trucks, but the safety and performance ratings speak for themselves. The Ford Ranger is a stronger choice for a midsize pickup truck.