2020 Nissan Frontier vs. 2020 GMC Canyon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Frontier and the Canyon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available four-wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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The Frontier’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Canyon’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Frontier’s reliability 44 points higher than the Canyon.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Frontier second among midsize pickups in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Canyon isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 15th in reliability. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 11 places higher in reliability than GMC.

Engine

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The Frontier’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 110 more horsepower (310 vs. 200) and 90 lbs.-ft. more torque (281 vs. 191) than the Canyon’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Frontier’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 2 more horsepower (310 vs. 308) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (281 vs. 275) than the Canyon’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Nissan Frontier, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Canyon.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Frontier’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Canyon are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Frontier has larger tires than the Canyon (265/70R16 vs. 255/65R17).

The Frontier has a standard full size spare so a flat doesn’t interrupt your work or a trip. A full size spare costs extra on the Canyon. Without the option you must depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

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The Frontier has a standard front stabilizer bar, which help keep the Frontier flat and controlled during cornering. The Canyon’s suspension doesn’t offer a stabilizer bar

For greater off-road capability the Frontier has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Canyon Long Box Crew Cab (8.9 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the Frontier to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Frontier’s minimum ground clearance is .6 inch higher than on the Canyon Extended Cab (8.9 vs. 8.3 inches).

Chassis

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

Frontier

Canyon

Extended Cab Standard Bed

205.5 inches

212.4 inches

Crew Cab Short Bed

205.5 inches

212.4 inches

Crew Cab Standard Bed

219.4 inches

224.6 inches

Passenger Space

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The Frontier King Cab has .8 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room and 2.8 inches more rear hip room than the Canyon Extended Cab.

The Frontier Crew Cab has .6 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 4.7 inches more rear hip room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Canyon Crew Cab.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over bed design makes loading and unloading the Frontier easier. The Frontier’s bed lift-over height is 31.5 inches, while the Canyon Extended Cab’s liftover is 34.2 inches. The Canyon Crew Cab’s liftover is 34.5 inches.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Frontier. The Canyon doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The Frontier’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Canyon’s (6250 vs. 3500 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The Push Button Start standard on the Frontier allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The GMC Canyon doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Frontier (except S)’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Canyon doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Frontier is less expensive to operate than the Canyon because it costs $200 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Frontier than the Canyon, including $61 less for a water pump, $32 less for front brake pads, $3 less for fuel injection, $16 less for front struts and $282 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Frontier will be $1446 to $2690 less than for the GMC Canyon.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/25

The Nissan Frontier outsold the GMC Canyon by over two to one during 2019.

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