Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2004 Ford Ranger VS 2004 Nissan Frontier Near Peoria, AZ

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2004 Ford Ranger

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VS

2004 Nissan Frontier

Safety Comparison

Compared to metal, the Ranger’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Nissan Frontier has a metal gas tank.

Both the Ranger and the Frontier have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four wheel antilock brakes and available four wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Ranger Super Cab is safer than the Frontier King Cab:

Ranger Super Cab

Frontier King Cab

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

579

592

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH front offset crash tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Ranger is safer than the Frontier:

Ranger

Frontier

Overall Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Restraints

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Head injury index

307

642

Peak Head G-forces

no hit

84 G’s

Chest compression

25 mm

38 mm

Tibia index

.39/1

1.4/1.17

(This test is not comparable to the NHTSA NCAP 35 MPH front crash test.)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 38.5 MPH side impact tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the Ranger is safer than the Frontier:

Ranger

Frontier

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Thoracic Trauma

50

64

Pelvis Deceleration

81 G’s

103 G’s

More stars indicate a better chance of avoiding serious injuries. Lower numbers indicate better actual numeric test results.

The Ranger’s bumpers sustained $915 less damage than the Frontier in an IIHS ( Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) 5 MPH bumper test.

Warranty Comparison

The Ranger comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Frontier.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Ranger’s warranty.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Ranger V6 is faster than the Nissan Frontier S.C. V6 (automatics tested):

Ranger

Frontier

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

10.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83.3 MPH

76.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Ford Ranger gets better fuel mileage than the Frontier:

Ranger

Frontier

4x2

4 cyl./Manual

24 city/29 hwy

22 city/27 hwy

V6/Manual

18 city/23 hwy

17 city/20 hwy

Opt. V6/Manual

17 city/23 hwy

15 city/19 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

22 city/26 hwy

20 city/24 hwy

V6/Auto

18 city/22 hwy

17 city/21 hwy

Opt. V6/Auto

17 city/22 hwy

15 city/19 hwy

4x4

V6/Manual

17 city/21 hwy

17 city/20 hwy

Opt. V6/Manual

15 city/19 hwy

15 city/18 hwy

V6/Auto

16 city/20 hwy

16 city/20 hwy

Opt. V6/Auto

15 city/19 hwy

15 city/18 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Ranger uses 87 octane gasoline. The Frontier with the 3.3 supercharged SOHC V6 engine requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Ranger’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Frontier:

Ranger

Frontier

Frontier 4x4

Front Rotors

11.2 inches

10.2 inches

10.9 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Ranger 4x4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Frontier (31 x 10.5R15 vs. 265/70R15).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Ranger has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Frontier 4x2 suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For much better steering response and tighter handling the Ranger has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the Frontier.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Ranger’s wheelbase is longer than on the Frontier:

Ranger

Frontier

Reg. Cab Short Bed

111.4 inches

n/a

Reg. Cab Long Bed

117.4 inches

n/a

Super Cab Short Bed

125.7 inches

116.1 inches

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Ranger is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Frontier.

The Ranger Super Cab handles at .78 G’s, while the Frontier XE King Cab pulls only .68 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Ranger XL Super Cab 4x4 handles at .68 G’s, while the Frontier King Cab 4x4 pulls only .67 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Ranger Super Cab goes through Motor Trend’s slalom 3.9 MPH faster than the Frontier SC-V6 King Cab (63 vs. 59.1 MPH).

The Ranger XLT Pickup 4x4 goes through Road & Track’s slalom 5.3 MPH faster than the Frontier XE-V6 King Cab 4x4 (56.4 vs. 51.1 MPH).

For better maneuverability the Ranger’s turning circle is tighter than the Frontier’s.

Ranger

Frontier

Reg. Cab Short Bed

37.7 feet

n/a

Reg. Cab Long Bed

39.8 feet

n/a

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Ranger may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 650 pounds less than the Nissan Frontier.

The Ranger is shorter than the Frontier, making the Ranger easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ranger

Frontier

Reg. Cab Short Bed

188.6 inches

n/a

Reg. Cab Long Bed

200.6 inches

n/a

Super Cab Short Bed

202.9 inches

202.9 inches

For excellent aerodynamics, the Ranger has standard flush composite headlights. The Frontier has recessed headlights which spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Ranger has stake post holes, to allow the containment of tall, light loads. The Frontier doesn’t offer stake post holes.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Ranger’s available driver’s power window has a one touch automatic down feature, especially convenient at tollbooths or drive-up windows. Nissan does not offer a one-touch feature on the Frontier. The switch must be held the entire time to lower the window completely.

The Ranger has standard lighted power window switches so that they are easily found at night. The Frontier doesn’t have lighted switches.

The Ranger’s standard speed sensitive intermittent wipers speed up as the car does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Frontier King Cab’s standard wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent. The Frontier’s optional intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Ranger’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Frontier doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

The Ranger’s optional power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Frontier’s optional power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Ranger owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Ranger will cost $145 less than the Frontier over a five year period.

The Ranger is less expensive to operate than the Frontier because of its lower insurance rate. It also costs $42 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Ranger than the Frontier, including $197 less for an alternator, $199 less for a starter, $29 less for fuel injection, $59 less for front struts, $85 less for a timing belt/chain, $85 less for a power steering pump and $31 less for a tune-up.

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