How Did the 2021 Nissan Frontier Earn as Many Stars as the 2021 Ram 1500?

It’s no secret that 2021 Nissan Frontier failed to impress critics in any significant way. The 2021 Ram 1500, on the other hand, rose to the top of many pickup truck lists. So how did the midsize Frontier earn as many stars as the full-size Ram 1500 pickup truck?

The 2021 Nissan Frontier and the 2021 Ram 1500 aren't exactly pickup trucks that warrant comparison. That said, they somehow received the same rating from consumers on Cars.com. Let's look into the details of why and how that happened.
RAM 1500 is on display at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

On Cars.com, owners can input reviews. They rank their vehicles according to exterior styling, performance, interior design, comfort, reliability, and value. Obviously, the 2021 Nissan Frontier and the 2021 Ram 1500 are no apples to apples comparison in terms of pickup trucks.

One is a compact pickup truck and the other is a full-size model. One is praised for its luxurious interiors and smooth ride, while the other receives high marks for reliability. So how did they both end up with five-star consumer review ratings?

It’s no surprise that the 2021 Ram 1500 pickup truck earned 5 stars

The 2021 Ram 1500 pickup truck is a winner. It’s been the MotorTrend truck of the year for three years running, with the latest award bestowed upon the Ram 1500 TRX model. This truck offers a range of trim levels and available packages and add-ons. The consumer reviews on Cars.com all but rave about this full-size pickup truck.

It’s a great luxury pickup in top trims, but also offers more work-oriented models. This is a full-sizer that virtually has something for everyone, so it’s no surprise that the general consensus from consumers ranks this one up top. Technically, the average rating comes to 4.8 out of 5 stars, but the visual we get from Cars.com shows it as a 5 star consumer review rating.

In fact, people seem to be absolutely head over heels for the 2021 Ram 1500 pickup truck. One owner calls it a “dream come true.” There are a couple of reviews in which owners had bad customer service experiences. One even says “too bad I didn’t buy a Ford F-150.” But the overwhelming majority of the reviews reveal a far more positive verdict from consumers.

“I have owned Ram trucks since 1997 but the new body style and the interior is over the top. It has all the features that I wanted and a few that I didn’t know that I wanted but now can’t live without.”

Ram 1500 owner | Cars.com Consumer Reviews

People actually love the 2021 Nissan Frontier too

Despite critics like MotorTrend rating the 2021 Nissan Frontier lowest in its class, people who bought a 2021 Nissan Frontier actually love it. The consumer reviews on Cars.com show that this truck is more satisfying than expected. Of course, if you want a top of the line full-size luxury pickup truck the 2021 Ram 1500 is the way to go.

a dark blue 2021 Nissan Frontier parked in the dirt with green hills in the background
2021 Nissan Frontier | Cars.com

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But if you just need a truck that goes and can handle light utility work the 2021 Nissan Frontier may fit the bill better than you think. It’s not trendy, and it doesn’t offer cutting-edge modern tech. But it does come with good reliability ratings and a new V6 engine that’s enjoyed a little beta run on the 2020 and 2021 Frontier models––in order to prepare for the 2022 Frontier release.

Owners of the 2021 Nissan Frontier give it 5 out of 5 stars. They say things like “This Nissan Frontier was just what I was looking for in size and functionality.” The consumer reviews reveal what Frontier buyers are interested in as well as the fact that the 2021 Nissan Frontier delivers on those fronts.

How did they get the same consumer rating?

interior dash view of the 2021 Nissan Frontier midsize pickup truck
2021 Nissan Frontier interior | Nissan USA

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This comes down to two major factors. First off, because these trucks represent two entirely different segments within the pickup truck market, buyers of the Frontier are not looking for the same truck as buyers of the Ram 1500. So naturally, these buyers will rate their pickup trucks on a different scale.

The tan leather interior of a 2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Southwest Edition, among the most comfortable pickup trucks of 2021
2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Southwest Edition interior | Stellantis

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The other primary reason for this interesting find in the Cars.com consumer reviews is that there are only three consumer reviews for the 2021 Nissan Frontier. The 2021 Ram 1500 on the other hand has collected 73 consumer ratings. So yes, these trucks both received high consumer ratings. But they aren’t really comparable in any real way. While each model has its highs and lows, they are so different that these consumer reviews don’t exactly draw any actual parallels between these two pickups.