Ford Ranger Vs. Nissan Frontier: Old Vs. New Midsize Pickups

By Justin Cupler | March 8th, 2019

Midsize trucks deliver a great balance of towing and hauling capabilities with smaller footprints that are easier to pilot and decent fuel economy. The all-new 2019 Ford Ranger delivers on all front with its potent turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain and tough chassis. But can this newcomer deliver more bang for our Jacksonville truck shoppers’ buck than the more-established 2019 Nissan Frontier? Keep reading to find out.

Exterior

The Ford Ranger is the latest and greatest in the midsize pickup segment. These all-new looks are bound to draw tons of attention, and its optional FX4 Off-Road Package will pull fans of off-roading into Ford dealerships.

 

On the opposite end of the redesign spectrum is the 2019 Nissan Frontier, which hasn’t been through a redesign since 2005. Sure, it’s had a refresh since then, but it is far from a spring chicken, and it shows. That said, this older look is more traditional and may cater to certain truck buyers. Like the Ranger, the Frontier has an off-road model — the PRO-4X trim — but it isn’t quite as stylish and rugged as the FX4 Off-Road Package

The 2019 Ford Ranger comes in two body styles: SuperCab with a long bed or SuperCrew with a short bed. The Ranger is 210.8 inches long, 73.3 inches wide, and 70.7 to 71.5 inches tall. It runs on a 126.8-inch wheelbase and has 8.4 to 8.9 inches of ground clearance.

The 2019 Nissan Frontier is available as a King Cab, Crew Cab, or Crew Cab with a long bed. It is 205.5 to 219.4 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and 68.7 to 73.9 inches tall. It rides on a 125.9- to 139.9-inch wheelbase and has 7.6 to 8.9 inches of ground clearance.

Though these are midsize pickups, buyers still expect to haul loads in their beds. The 2019 Frontier delivers a respectable 27.1 to 33.5 cubic feet of cargo room in its bed, but the Ranger crushes it with 43.3 to 51.8 cubes.

Advantage: 2019 Ford Ranger

  • Latest in midsize truck styling
  • More base ground clearance
  • More rugged FX4 Off-Road Package
  • Tons more cargo room in bed

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Frontier

  • Smaller base footprint
  • Classic styling

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Nissan Frontier is a blast from the past. The Frontier’s cabin is simple with its upright and straight-lined dash, painted-silver vent bezels, yellow-backed temperature controls, chunky steering wheel, and more. There are a few modern tech upgrades to the classic-looking cabin, including the NissanConnect infotainment system and navigation, but it lacks modern conveniences like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also lacks any modern active safety tech.

 

The 2019 Ranger has the latest in modern styling with its shaplier dash and more realistic-looking shiny bits. On the tech side of things, the Ranger has all the goodies the Frontier lacks, including standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi and available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also keeps you safer with standard automatic emergency braking and available lane-keep assist, blind-spot warning, and adaptive cruise control.

In its front seats, the 2019 Ranger offers 39.8 inches of headroom, 43.1 inches of legroom, 56.6 inches of shoulder room, and 55.8 inches of hip room. The 2019 Frontier matches the Ranger’s hip room and offers 1.7 inches of extra shoulder room, but it comes up short in legroom by 0.7 inches and headroom by 0.1 inches.

In its rear seats, the 2019 Ford Ranger SuperCab offers 35.9 inches of headroom, 30.4 inches of legroom, 55.2 inches of shoulder room, and 55.3  inches of hip room. The 2019 Frontier King Cab’s rear seats offer an extra 0.7 inches of headroom, but they come up short in legroom by 5 inches, shoulder room by 0.3 inches, and hip room by 0.3 inches.

The 2019 Ford Ranger SuperCab’s rear seats offer 38.3 inches of headroom, 34.5 inches of legroom, 56.3 inches of shoulder room, and 53.5  inches of hip room. The 2019 Frontier CrewCab boasts an extra 0.3 inches of headroom, 2 inches of shoulder room, and 4.5 inches of hip room in its rear seats, but it comes up short in legroom by 0.9 inches.

Advantage: 2019 Ford Ranger

  • Tons of available tech
  • All the safety tech you need
  • Sleek and modern look

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Frontier

  • Classic styling for old-school truck buyers
  • More rear headroom

Performance

The 2019 Ranger has just one engine available: a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission that ships power to the rear wheels. The only powertrain option is available four-wheel drive.

 

The 2019 Nissan Frontier comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is the only driveline flavor you can have with this base engine.

The Frontier also has an optional 4.0-liter V-6 engine that cranks out 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. This engine mates with a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive.

Towing is a cinch with the 2019 Ford Ranger, thanks to its 7,500-pound towing capacity. The Frontier is significantly weaker at 3,790 to 6,720 pounds. There is also a large gap in payload capacities between these midsize pickups, as the Ranger can carry 1,560 to 1,860 pounds, while the Frontier can tote just 890 to 1,430 pounds.

The 2019 Ford Ranger is the thriftiest gasoline-fueled midsize pickup at up to 21 mpg city, 26 highway, and 23 combined. The base Frontier with the four-cylinder engine gets up to 19 mpg city, 23 highway, and 21 combined. The Frontier with the V-6 engine is even worse at up to 16 mpg city, 23 highway, and 19 combined.

Advantage: 2019 Ford Ranger

  • More power across the board
  • Advanced 10-speed transmission
  • Capable FX4 Off-Road Package
  • Big towing and payload advantages
  • Superior fuel economy

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Frontier

  • Manual transmission for traditional buyers

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Ford Ranger comes in three trim levels: XL, XLT, and Lariat. Their starting prices range from $24,300 to $32,200.

The 2019 Nissan Frontier has X trims — S, SV, Desert Runner, Midnight Edition, PRO-4X, and SL — with starting prices ranging from $18,990 to $34,010.

2019 Ford Ranger Key Features and Pricing by Trim

XL: $24,300

  • 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Auto-stop/start engine
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Electric power steering
  • Trailer-sway control
  • Four-pin trailer-wiring provisions
  • Ball-mount provisions in rear bumper
  • 16-inch silver-painted steel wheels
  • Automatic-on/off halogen headlights
  • Black-painted steel bumpers
  • Cargo light
  • Daytime running lights
  • Six cargo tie-down hooks
  • Black door handles
  • Black-painted manual mirrors
  • Black wheel-lip moldings
  • Tinted rear glass
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down driver’s side
  • Single-zone manual climate control
  • 2.3-inch driver-information screen
  • Black vinyl flooring
  • Intermittent windshield wipers
  • Power door locks
  • Ford MyKey
  • Outside temperature display
  • Two front and one rear 12-volt power outlet
  • Black urethane steering wheel
  • Manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Six-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • FordPass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • SYNC
  • AppLink
  • Smart-charging USB port
  • Four-way manual seats
  • Rearview camera
  • Curve Control
  • Automatic emergency braking

 

XLT: $27,940

  • All XL features, plus
  • 17-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels
  • Body-color bumpers
  • Halogen fog lights
  • Carbon Black mesh grille insert with silver surround
  • Two front tow hooks
  • Power mirrors
  • Power-locking tailgate
  • Body-color wheel-lip moldings
  • Rear window defroster
  • Rear 110-volt power outlet
  • 4.2-inch driver-information center
  • Color-coordinated carpet with floor mats
  • Cruise control
  • Keyless entry with auto lock
  • Flip-up rear seats (SuperCrew) with underseat storage
  • Anti-theft alarm
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Forward and reverse parking sensors

 

Lariat: $32,210

  • All XLT features, plus
  • 18-inch machined aluminum wheels with Stealth Gray pockets
  • LED cargo light
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED headlights
  • LED fog lights
  • Chrome grille bars and grille surround
  • Body-color door handles
  • Power-folding mirrors with integrated turn signals
  • Body-color mirrors
  • Sliding rear glass
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Dual 4.2-inch driver-information center screens
  • Ambient lighting
  • Nubuck-edged floor mats with Ranger logo
  • Overhead console
  • Keyless unlock and ignition
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • SYNC 3 infotainment system
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Leather seating
  • Eight-way power front seats
  • Heated front seats

2019 Nissan Frontier Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: 18,990

  • King Cab body
  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Five-speed manual transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Speed-sensitive electric power steering
  • 15-inch six-spoke steel wheels
  • Chrome grille
  • Body-color upper front bumper
  • Black lower lower bumper
  • Body-color rear bumper
  • Black door handles and mirrors
  • Tinted rear privacy glass
  • Cargo bed light
  • 7-inch touchscreen display
  • Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio
  • Hands-free text messaging
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Air conditioning
  • Cruise control
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Front map lights
  • Two 12-volt power outlets
  • Flip-up second-row seats with under-seat storage
  • Overhead console with sunglasses holder
  • Four-way manual front seats
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Four-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Auxiliary audio input
  • USB port
  • Rearview camera

 

SV: $23,860

  • All S features, plus
  • 16-inch six-split-spoke aluminum wheels
  • Body-color front bumper
  • Chrome rear bumper
  • Power mirrors
  • Sliding rear window
  • Keyless entry
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with one-touch-down driver’s window
  • Tilt steering
  • Nissan vehicle immobilizer system

 

Desert Runner: $26,300

  • All SV features, plus
  • 4.0-liter V-6 engine
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Bilstein off-road performance shocks
  • Thicker front brakes
  • 16-inch six-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Fog lights
  • Satin-chrome grille
  • Body-color rear bumper
  • Bed rail caps
  • Driver’s seatback pocket
  • Eight-way manual driver’s seat
  • “Frontier” embroidered cloth seating
  • White contrast stitching
  • White-faced gauges
  • Satin-chrome gauge bezels

 

Midnight Edition: $29,635

  • All SV features, plus
  • Crew Cab body
  • 4.0-liter V-6 engine
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Thicker disc brakes
  • Midnight Black 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Fog lights
  • Black Step rails
  • Black front grille
  • Body-color rear bumper
  • Black “Midnight Edition badges
  • Class-IV hitch
  • Bed channels with four adjustable tie-down hooks
  • Spray-on bedliner
  • Bed rail caps
  • Sliding bed extender
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Driver’s seatback pocket
  • 60/40 split-flip-up rear seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shifter knob
  • Six-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Vehicle security system

 

PRO-4X: $33,430

  • All Desert Runner features, plus
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Dana 44 rear axle
  • Two-speed transfer case
  • Electronic-locking rear differential
  • Hill-start assist
  • Hill-descent control
  • Oil pan, fuel tank, and transfer case skid plates
  • Automatic-on/off headlights
  • Front tow hook
  • Splash guards
  • Body-color mirrors
  • Bed channels with four adjustable tie-down hooks
  • Spray-on bedliner
  • NissanConnect infotainment system with 5.8-inch touchscreen
  • Navigation
  • Mobile Apps
  • Voice recognition
  • SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • “PRO-4X” embroidered cloth seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Chrome vent accents
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system
  • MP3 capability
  • SiriusXM stereo
  • Vehicle security system

 

SL: $34,010

  • All SV features, plus
  • Crew Cab body
  • 4.0-liter V-6 engine
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Thicker disc brakes
  • 18-inch six-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Automatic-on/off headlights
  • Fog lights
  • Step rails
  • Body-color side moldings
  • Chrome front bumper
  • Chrome door handles and mirrors
  • Heated outside mirrors
  • Moonroof
  • Bed channel system with adjustable tie-down cleats
  • Spray-in bedliner
  • Bed rail caps
  • NissanConnect infotainment system
  • 5.8-inch touchscreen
  • NissanConnect Mobile Apps
  • Navigation
  • Voice recognition
  • SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • HomeLink universal remote
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Driver’s seatback pocket
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • 60/40 split-flip-up rear seat
  • Rear fold-down center armrest
  • Leather seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Chrome vent accents
  • Satin-chrome gauge bezels
  • 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system
  • MP3 playback
  • SiriusXM
  • Vehicle security system

Who Should Buy the 2019 Ford Ranger?

The 2019 Ford Ranger is a great option for buyers looking for the latest and greatest in the midsize pickup segment. Also, it is a good choice for buyers who do more towing than the normal midsize truck shopper.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Frontier?

Want a simple, inexpensive truck? The Nissan Frontier’s super-low base price and basic features makes it a rarity in today’s market. This level of simplicity will not exist once Nissan releases a redesigned Frontier in the coming years.

 

Ready to tackle the streets of Jacksonville in the 2019 Ford Ranger? Or do you need to tow a trailer to Orange Park or Fleming Island? The 2019 Ranger can handle all that and more with its boosted four-cylinder engine and tough chassis. Come check out the 2019 Range today at Garber Automall and take it for a test drive to see how it performs for yourself. Can’t make it to our Jacksonville area  dealership today? That’s OK. Check out our online inventory to find a Ranger model you like, then call us to schedule a test drive.