Midsize trucks like the 2020 Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier offer hefty utility and leave a smaller footprint than their bigger truck counterparts. With their off-road-ready features, modern midsize trucks also offer plenty of adventure. So which of these models will give you the best daily drive? Our comparison guide takes a closer look.
Modern Trucking Comfort: 2020 Ford Ranger
With its roomy cabin configurations (extended SuperCab and SuperCrew) and three trim models (XL, XLT, and Lariat) with increasing levels of luxury, the Ford Ranger supplies the most comfortable daily drive. Every Ranger includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adding a high-tech element to your around-town cruising. You won’t find these features on any Frontier trim models.
Unfortunately, the Nissan Frontier hasn’t been redesigned since the 2005 model year. A lot has happened since then, with trucks introducing new safety aids and the kind of interior luxury previously only found in luxury models. So while the Frontier is roomy and comfortable enough, it doesn’t quite hold a candle to modern competitors.
Max Towing and Hauling: 2020 Ford Ranger
If you’ve got an especially big boat to haul, you’re going to need the Ford Ranger. Properly equipped, this midsize truck can tow up to 7,500 pounds. The Frontier lags behind quite a bit, with max tow ratings of just 6,500 pounds. The Ranger also moves greater payloads, making it the right midsize truck for anyone who hauls a lot of supplies to work (or plans to take their outdoor camping oven and inflatable furniture on glamping excursions). Properly equipped, the 2020 Ranger can haul up to 2,128 pounds. With its sturdiest configuration, the Frontier hauls up to 1,039 pounds – the lowest rating in the midsize truck segment.
Off-Road Prowess: 2020 Ford Ranger
Looking for maximum adventure? The 2020 Ranger is our pick for off-road cruising. Its turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, with its 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, helps you punch a hole through the bush. The new FX2 Off-Road package adds off-road-friendly gear for rear-wheel-drive Rangers, including off-road tires and a specially tuned suspension. If your Ranger has four-wheel drive, the FX4 Off-Road package is the one you want.
The Frontier might be a bit long in the tooth, but it still knows how to navigate rugged terrain. If you want an adventure-ready Frontier, you need the Pro-4X trim. This truck adds off-road gear similar to what you’ll find in the Ranger’s off-road packages, including a locking rear differential and skid plates. Still, the Ranger has the advantage. While the Frontier offers one off-road-friendly trim model, the Ranger’s off-road package options give you more leeway in creating the truck that suits all of your needs.
Lightest Price Tag: 2020 Nissan Frontier
The Frontier certainly offers the lowest price. Its starting MSRP of just $20,500 will save you a few thousand bucks on a brand new midsize truck. The 2020 Ford Ranger, on the other hand, starts at $24,410.
If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, the Nissan Frontier might be the right truck for you. However, with everything the 2020 Ford Ranger has to offer – from modern interior comfort to hearty midsize towing capabilities – we think the Ranger is actually the much better deal.