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Compare the2024 Nissan FrontierVS 2023 Honda Ridgeline

2024 Nissan Frontier
2023 Honda Ridgeline

Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Frontier have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Honda Ridgeline doesn’t offer pretensioners for its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Frontier are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 Ridgeline 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 Ridgeline doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Frontier offers optional Rear Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor for objects to the rear and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Frontier 4x4’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Frontier PRO-X/PRO-4X offers an optional Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Ridgeline only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Frontier’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Frontier PRO-X/PRO-4X has standard NissanConnect Services, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Frontier and the Ridgeline have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, available four-wheel drive, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Frontier is safer than the Honda Ridgeline:

Frontier

Ridgeline

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

58

93

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

HIC

351

456

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Frontier’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Ridgeline’s camshafts. If the Ridgeline’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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’ 2023 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 above average in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is rated lower.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2022 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 With 25 fewer problems per 100 vehicles in the first three years of ownership, J.D. Power ranks Nissan higher 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 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ridgeline (21 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Frontier higher (5 out of 10) than the Honda Ridgeline (3). This means the Frontier produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Ridgeline every 15,000 miles.

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.

The Frontier stops shorter than the Ridgeline:

Frontier

Ridgeline

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

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 Crew Cab 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 .8 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (126 inches vs. 125.2 inches). The Frontier LWB Crew Cab’s wheelbase is 14.6 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (139.8 inches vs. 125.2 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Frontier King Cab 4x4’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Ridgeline’s (42.4 feet vs. 43.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Frontier LWB SV Crew Cab has a 1.26 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Ridgeline (8.9 vs. 7.64 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 2.16 inches higher than on the Ridgeline (9.8 vs. 7.64 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 Ridgeline 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 Ridgeline shortbed (40.1 vs. 33.9 cubic feet).

A low lift-over bed design makes loading and unloading the Frontier Crew Cab easier. The Frontier Crew Cab’s bed lift-over height is 33.4 inches, while the Ridgeline’s liftover is 35.3 inches. The Frontier King Cab’s liftover is only 32 inches.

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

Frontier Crew Cab

Frontier King Cab

Ridgeline

Length (short/long)

59.5”/72.7”

73.3”

63”

Max Width

61.4”

61.4”

59.6”

Min Width

44.5”

44.5”

50”

Height

19.4”

19.4”

16.9”

The Nissan Frontier has a standard tailgate assist feature, which prevents the heavy tailgate from falling with a crash and causing injury. It allows adults and children to easily open and close the tailgate with one hand to better facilitate loading and unloading. The Honda Ridgeline doesn’t offer a tailgate assist.

The Frontier has bed indentations that accommodate 2x4’s for two-tiered loading to help accommodate diverse loads; the Ridgeline doesn’t offer two-tiered loading. 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 Ridgeline’s (6240 vs. 5000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The Frontier uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Ridgeline 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 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.

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 Ridgeline’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Frontier’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Ridgeline’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The Frontier SV/PRO-X/PRO-4X/SL/Hardbody’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Ridgeline’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

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.

The Frontier is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Frontier second among midsize pickups in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Ridgeline isn’t in the top three.

The Nissan Frontier outsold the Honda Ridgeline by 78% during 2022.

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