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Compare the2024 Nissan FrontierVS 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz

2024 Nissan Frontier
2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Safety

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The Nissan Frontier has standard driver and front passenger side knee airbags mounted low on the dashboard. These airbags helps prevent the driver and front passenger from sliding under their seatbelts or the main frontal airbags; this keeps them better positioned during a collision for maximum protection. Knee airbags also help keep the legs from striking the dashboard, preventing knee and leg injuries in the case of a serious frontal collision. The Santa Cruz doesn’t offer knee airbags.

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 Santa Cruz doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Frontier and the Santa Cruz have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available four-wheel drive, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 30 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Frontier’s warranty.

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 Santa Cruz’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2023 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan above average in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is rated lower.

Engine

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The Frontier’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 119 more horsepower (310 vs. 191) and 100 lbs.-ft. more torque (281 vs. 181) than the Santa Cruz’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Frontier’s 3.8 DOHC V6 produces 29 more horsepower (310 vs. 281) than the Santa Cruz’s optional 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Frontier has 3.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Santa Cruz (21 vs. 17.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Santa Cruz.

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 Santa Cruz are solid, not vented.

The Frontier stops shorter than the Santa Cruz:

Frontier

Santa Cruz

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

132 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Frontier has larger tires than the Santa Cruz (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 Hyundai Santa Cruz only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Frontier has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Santa Cruz doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Frontier has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your work or a trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Santa Cruz; it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

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The Frontier has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Santa Cruz doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Frontier Crew Cab’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the Santa Cruz (126 inches vs. 118.3 inches). The Frontier LWB Crew Cab’s wheelbase is 21.5 inches longer than on the Santa Cruz (139.8 inches vs. 118.3 inches).

For greater off-road capability the Frontier LWB SV Crew Cab has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Santa Cruz (8.9 vs. 8.6 inches), allowing the Frontier to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab’s minimum ground clearance is 1.2 inches higher than on the Santa Cruz (9.8 vs. 8.6 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Frontier uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Santa Cruz doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

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The Frontier Crew Cab shortbed has a much larger cargo box than the Santa Cruz shortbed (40.1 vs. 27 cubic feet).

The Frontier’s cargo box is larger than the Santa Cruz’s in every dimension:

Frontier Crew Cab

Frontier King Cab

Santa Cruz

Length (short/long)

59.5”/72.7”

73.3”

52.1”

Max Width

61.4”

61.4”

53.9”

Min Width

44.5”

44.5”

42.7”

Height

19.4”

19.4”

19.2”

An optional locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Frontier (except S). The Santa Cruz doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Both the Frontier and Santa Cruz have bed indentations that accommodate 2x4’s for two-tiered loading, but the Frontier also has indentations to separate the cargo box into three different sections length-wise.

Towing

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The Frontier’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Santa Cruz’s (6240 vs. 3500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The Frontier uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Santa Cruz uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Frontier is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Santa Cruz. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because 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 Santa Cruz does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Frontier’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Santa Cruz’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Frontier Crew Cab has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Santa Cruz doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Model Availability

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The Nissan Frontier comes in extended cab and crew cab bodystyles; the Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t available as an extended cab.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2024Advanta-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 (“Advanta-STAR”). 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. Removal of this watermark/notification without prior written license and approval received from Advanta-STAR is an agreement, understanding, and/or stipulation by the person(s), entities, agents, attorneys, and any other persons involved in the removal of this watermark/notification (including but not limited to Search Optics, LLC and any and all parent entities, sister entities, and subsidiary entities of Search Optics, LLC and/or any other entity, agent, attorney, and persons related in any manner to Search Optics, LLC) to: 1) an agreed upon amount of liquidated monetary damages of a minimum of $1,250,000.00 US Dollars in favor of Advanta-STAR; 2) the jurisdiction and enforcement of any legal claims associated with this matter asserted by Advanta-STAR in the United States Federal District Court in Portand, Oregon; and 3) service of process of any legal claims asserted by Advanta-STAR associated with this matter may be accomplished by First-Class Postage by the United States Postal Service or comparable service. XPYNN-M34HG 2a06:98c0:3600::103 2024/04/24

The Nissan Frontier outsold the Hyundai Santa Cruz by over two to one during 2022.

© 1999 - 2023 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.