Sometimes you just need a truck. Whether you’re hauling a load of mulch or gravel or towing a boat or trailer to a lake, there’s simply nothing handier than a pickup. Not everyone needs a giant truck, either. A full-size Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado will definitely get the job done, but more often than not those pickups are overkill for the job. Even more so when you turn to the heavy duty giants like the Ford F-250 Super Duty or the GMC Sierra 2500HD. This is where mid-size trucks fit in.

A midsize truck offers a lot of utility and capability in a smaller, easier to manage package. You can park a midsize pickup easily in a garage, you can get around the city or a town easily enough, and you can still tow and haul hefty loads. The Toyota Tacoma is a stalwart of the segment. It’s well-known and well-loved by many, and its price reflects this. If the Tacoma’s high price tag is a turn-off for you, there’s another option out there, the Nissan Frontier. Let’s take a look at these two mid-sizers and see how they stack up when compared.

Toyota Tacoma

Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma has a rich history behind it. This is a truck that’s been put to the test time and time again. Toyota has kept up with the competition offering it in multiple trims and with plenty of modern equipment. The vehicle is available in SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro trim levels. Also, you can have the pickup with what Toyota calls its Access Cab (which is short) or it’s Double Cab (which comfortably seats five). The model comes with modern technology, including a multi-information display in the instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, Qi-compatible wireless charging, Entune infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, a backup camera, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.

tacoma

Price: Starting MSRP $25,575

Engine: 2.7-liter four-cylinder, 3.5-liter V6

Transmission: 5-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

Drivetrain: 4x2 or 4x4

Performance: 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque (2.7-liter), 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque (3.5-liter)

Towing Capacity: 6800 lbs

Payload: 1620 lbs

EPA Mileage Rating: 19 city / 23 highway (2.7-liter), 19 city 23 highway (3.5-liter)

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Nissan Frontier

Frontier

The Nissan Frontier has been around in its current form for over a decade. The model is simply a tough little truck to kill, which is why Nissan keeps selling it and why people keep buying it. Not as modern as the Tacoma, the Frontier still manages to tow and haul close to the same numbers. That paired with its low price tag and numerous configurations make it an enticing buy. Nissan sells the Frontier in S, SV 4-cylinder, SV V6, Desert Runner, and Pro-4X trim levels. The pickup can be had with either Nissan’s King Cab (which is short) or the Crew Cab (which comfortably seats five). The Nissan Frontier definitely isn’t as up to date as the Tacoma, but it does come with quite a bit of available technology, including NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps, Sirius XM radio, Bluetooth, and a backup camera.

frontier

Price: Starting MSRP $18,390

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 4.0-liter V6

Transmission: 5-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

Drivetrain: 4x2 or 4x4

Performance: 152 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque (2.5-liter), 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque (4.0-liter)

Max Towing Capacity: 6,710 lbs

Max Payload: 1430 lbs

EPA Mileage Rating: 19 city / 23 highway (2.5-liter), 16 city / 23 highway (4.0-liter)

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