2020 Nissan Frontier vs. 2020 Honda Ridgeline

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Frontier has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Frontier and the Ridgeline 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.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Frontier has a standard 185-amp alternator. The Ridgeline’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Frontier second among midsize pickups in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Ridgeline 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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th, 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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 15th in reliability. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 1 place higher in reliability than Honda.

Engine

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The Frontier’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 30 more horsepower (310 vs. 280) and 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (281 vs. 262) than the Ridgeline’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Frontier has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ridgeline (21.1 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Ridgeline are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Frontier has larger tires than the Ridgeline (265/70R16 vs. 245/60R18).

The Nissan Frontier’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Honda Ridgeline only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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The Frontier PRO-4X’s has front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Ridgeline’s suspension doesn’t offer front gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Frontier King Cab’s wheelbase is .7 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (125.9 inches vs. 125.2 inches). The Frontier Long Bed Crew Cab’s wheelbase is 14.7 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (139.9 inches vs. 125.2 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Frontier King Cab 4x4’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the Ridgeline’s (43.33 feet vs. 44.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Frontier has a 1.03 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Ridgeline (8.9 vs. 7.87 inches), allowing the Frontier to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Frontier King Cab is 4.5 inches shorter than the Ridgeline, making the Frontier easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Frontier is 5.8 inches narrower than the Ridgeline, making the Frontier easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Cargo Capacity

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The Frontier’s cargo box is larger than the Ridgeline’s in almost every dimension:

Frontier King Cab

Frontier Crew Cab

Ridgeline

Length (short/long)

73.3”

59.5”/73.3”

64”

Max Width

61.4”

61.4”

60”

Min Width

44.4”

44.4”

50”

Height

18”

18”

16”

Towing

© 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 2020/06/02

The Frontier’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ridgeline’s (6250 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Honda Ridgeline is only 5000 pounds. The Frontier King Cab offers up to a 6720 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Frontier is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Ridgeline. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The Frontier’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Ridgeline does not have an oil pressure gauge.

Model Availability

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The Nissan Frontier comes in extended cab and crew cab bodystyles; the Honda Ridgeline isn’t available as an extended cab.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2020/06/02

Insurance will cost less for the Frontier owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Frontier will cost $505 less than the Ridgeline over a five-year period.

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 2020/06/02

The Nissan Frontier outsold the Honda Ridgeline by over two to one during 2019.

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