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2021 Nissan Frontier vs 2021 Ford Ranger

  • 2021 Nissan Frontier

    A black 2021 Nissan Frontier is angled left.

    Starting at

    $27,190*

    2021 Ford Ranger

    A grey 2021 Ford Ranger is angled right.

    Starting at

    $24,280*

    310Horsepower (hp)270
    7Infotainment screen (in)4.2
    7Trims 3

    Midsize pickup trucks are ideal for those who need to do some minor towing and hauling but don’t want the bulkiness of a larger truck. But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to choose which truck is best. Comparing the 2021 Nissan Frontier vs 2021 Ford Ranger is a good example of this. Both models offer similar benefits and specs, which can be conflicting. That’s why we’re excited to tell you all about each model to help you decide which one suits your preferences.

    Both models are well established on the market, and both brands have been making trucks for decades. You can’t go wrong with either brand when it comes to truck production experience. Although the Frontier is a newer model, its roots date way back, and Nissan has a great history with building small-scale trucks. The Frontier’s slight edge over the Ranger is partially due to Nissan’s small-truck expertise. We’re excited to tell you all about why the Frontier is such a great midsize truck.

  • Exterior

    A black 2021 Nissan Frontier is off-roading through a river during a 2021 Nissan Frontier vs 2021 Ford Ranger comparison.

    When you’re hauling items in your truck, you want the model that promises convenience and accessibility. That’s why the 2021 Nissan Frontier is the best option when you’re talking about payload convenience. This model can carry up to 1,460 pounds of payload, and it comes with a cargo-friendly bed. But its payload capacity isn’t even its strongest point. Unlike the Ford Ranger, the Frontier offers something called a Utili-track channel system, which includes reconfigurable bed channels and cleats to secure your cargo. In addition to this feature, the 2021 Frontier also has a skid-proof bedliner to prevent slippage and scratches.

    Work Smarter

    The Frontier also includes some helpful accessories that work with its Utili-track system. These include a sliding toolbox, a sliding bed extender, and a sliding bed divider. The toolbox and bed divider can be moved from the front to the back of the bed, making loading easier and putting your tools and cargo within easy reach. The bed extender essentially gives you more bed length for your cargo by adding a brace to the tailgate so you can keep the gate down. This brace, along with the Utili-track system, holds your cargo in place and creates more space. This feature is handy if you tow canoes, kayaks, or other long items.

    What Does Ford Offer?

    The 2021 Ford Ranger is also a great option for towing and hauling. Unless you need to haul a giant camper or a loaded cattle trailer, both the Frontier and the Ranger will work well. That said, while the 2021 Ford Ranger obviously comes with a bed and add-on accessory options, it doesn’t include a Utili-track system or any of the accessories that go along with it. You do have plenty of available payload on the Ranger, so it’s definitely powerful enough, but its cargo setup is just not as convenient. Overall, the Frontier offers the best truck bed setup of the two models.

  • Technology

    The interior of a 2021 Nissan Frontier shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

    Trucks used to be simple, work vehicles. However, in the 21st century, every vehicle comes with at least some modern tech features. Trucks are now included in this trend, and the Frontier doesn’t take it lightly. After years of coming across as a minimalist model, the Nissan Frontier now comes with every tech feature you’ll ever need. And the best part is that it makes it easy to use them, so don’t worry about these features going over your head if you’re not used to that sort of thing.

    Cameras and Connectivity

    First off, the Frontier includes something called a rearview monitor. When you’re backing up or hooking up a trailer, this monitor makes it much easier to see everything behind you. The camera shows the entire area behind your truck, not just one little section, which helps prevent you from backing into grocery carts or trash cans.

    You’ll also gain access to built-in navigation, thanks to NissanConnect. This navigation system displays the map directly on your Frontier’s screen, so you don’t have to worry about looking down at your phone. It will also give you verbal cues when you need to turn or reroute. The best part about the Frontier is that it includes easy-to-use traditional buttons alongside its touchscreen capability. All you have to do is click the “navigation” button to access your maps. Similarly, the “camera” button works the same. You won’t have to cycle through numerous screens on your touchscreen center.

    Audio streaming is also easy on the 2021 Nissan Frontier. Thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can easily stream your favorite podcasts or tunes from Spotify, Apple Music, and more. There are also built-in apps on the Frontier that you can use for music streaming, such as Pandora. Put simply, these apps are usable whether your smart device is connected or not.

    Technology Face-Off

    The 2021 Ford Ranger includes similar features to the Frontier, such as built-in navigation and Bluetooth audio streaming services. The Ranger also comes with a rearview camera and includes standard FordPass Connect, which is a feature that allows you to control your vehicle remotely. Whether you need to turn the heat on or forgot to turn the lights off, FordPass Connect has your back.

    Overall, both models do offer many of the same tech features. However, unlike the Frontier, the base model Ranger does not come standard with a touchscreen infotainment system. Even if you do get the modern Ford system, most internal commands can only be accessed through the touchscreen with only limited hard button controls.

  • Trims

    A red 2021 Nissan Frontier is off-roading through a sandy desert.

    There are seven different available trim options for the 2021 Nissan Frontier, and they include both King Cab and Crew Cab options. The King Cab is a smaller option with a compact back seat, whereas the Crew Cab has four full doors. There are two King Cab trims, and five Crew Cab trims, so let’s go through each trim individually.

    Frontier Trim Options

    The King Cab S is the cheapest Frontier model you can get. Nonetheless, it still comes with handy features such as Bluetooth streaming and a 7-inch touchscreen. Next up is the King Cab SV, which adds on a sliding rear window and larger wheels. The Crew Cab S trim comes with a bit more, such as a six-speaker audio system, while the Crew Cab SV and SV long-bed options offer the same features as the King Cab SV.

    The Crew Cab Midnight Edition is a special edition Frontier model that includes a black-out aesthetic appeal. Finally, the PRO-4X offers the biggest difference here as it’s made for off-roading. It has off-roading shock absorbers, along with built-in navigation and a sliding moonroof. Overall, there’s plenty of variety in the 2021 Frontier’s trim level options. Even if you want to go basic, you’re still prepped to tackle whatever the highway throws at you.

    Ranger Trim Options

    The Ranger, on the other hand, only comes in three different trim levels. These are the XL, the XLT, and the Lariat. These come in SuperCab and SuperCrew options, which are either two-door or four-door, respectively. All models come with similar features, with the exception of additional grille and wheel options that are present on the latter two trims. Furthermore, there’s no off-road-specific trim available like there is for the Frontier.

    Both models do include the same cab options. However, the Frontier includes more available trim options and differences. The best part about the Frontier’s trim options is that it includes the PRO-4X, which is a great off-roading truck choice. If you plan on heading off pavement, you’ll definitely want to pick the Frontier’s PRO-4X trim over any other option.

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