Son's Automotive Group Compares 2017 Honda Ridgeline VS 2017 Nissan Frontier Near Tucker, GA

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2017 Honda Ridgeline

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2017 Honda Ridgeline

VS
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2017 Nissan Frontier

Safety Comparison

The Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition has standard Collision Mitigation Braking System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Frontier doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the Ridgeline. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the Frontier.

The Honda Ridgeline has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Frontier doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Frontier doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition has standard Parking Sensors to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Frontier doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Frontier doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Frontier doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Ridgeline uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Frontier uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The Ridgeline RTL-T/RTL-E/Black Edition has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Frontier 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 Ridgeline and the Frontier have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Ridgeline with standard seats is safer then the Frontier:

 

Ridgeline

Frontier

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

36 mm

44 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

34 mm

48 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Pass

Torso Acceleration

10.9 g’s

12.4 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

Medium

Max Neck Shearing Force

10

152

Max Neck Tension

367

645

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Ridgeline its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 53 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Frontier was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2017.

Reliability Comparison

The engine in the Ridgeline has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Frontier have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Ridgeline has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Frontier’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (V6) 130-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Ridgeline’s reliability 23 points higher than the Frontier.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 47 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 27th.

Engine Comparison

The Ridgeline’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 128 more horsepower (280 vs. 152) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 171) than the Frontier S/SV King Cab’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Ridgeline’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 19 more horsepower (280 vs. 261) than the Frontier’s optional 4.0 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Ridgeline is faster than the Nissan Frontier V6 (automatics tested):

 

Ridgeline

Frontier

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.9 sec

8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

5 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

86 MPH

Top Speed

112 MPH

108 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Ridgeline gets better fuel mileage than the Frontier:

 

 

Ridgeline

Frontier

 

4x2

 

n/a

19 city/23 hwy

4 cyl./Manual

 

 

n/a

16 city/22 hwy

V6/Manual

 

 

n/a

17 city/22 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

 

V6/Auto

19 city/26 hwy

16 city/23 hwy

V6/Auto

4x4

 

n/a

16 city/21 hwy

V6/Manual

 

V6/Auto

18 city/25 hwy

15 city/21 hwy

V6/Auto

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Ridgeline’s fuel efficiency. The Frontier doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Ridgeline has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Frontier doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Ridgeline’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Frontier:

 

Ridgeline

Frontier 4 cyl.

Frontier V6

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.1 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

The Ridgeline stops shorter than the Frontier:

 

Ridgeline

Frontier

 

70 to 0 MPH

195 feet

199 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Ridgeline has larger tires than the Frontier (245/60R18 vs. 235/75R15).

The Ridgeline’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Frontier S King Cab’s standard 75 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Ridgeline has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Frontier S King Cab.

The Ridgeline 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 Frontier doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Honda Ridgeline has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Frontier has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Ridgeline has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Ridgeline flat and controlled during cornering. The Frontier’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The front and rear suspension of the Ridgeline uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Frontier, which uses leaf springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Ridgeline is 4.4 inches wider in the front and 4.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Frontier.

The Ridgeline Black Edition 4x4 handles at .80 G’s, while the Frontier Short Bed SL Crew Cab 4x4 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Ridgeline’s turning circle is 2.5 feet tighter than the Frontier King Cab 4x4’s (40.8 feet vs. 43.33 feet). The Ridgeline’s turning circle is 7 feet tighter than the Frontier Long Bed Crew Cab’s (40.8 feet vs. 47.75 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Ridgeline is 9.4 inches shorter than the Frontier Long Bed Crew Cab, making the Ridgeline easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Unibody construction makes the Ridgeline’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The Frontier doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Ridgeline has an electronically controlled liquid-filled engine mounts. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Frontier uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The Ridgeline uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Frontier doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Ridgeline Black Edition 4x4 is quieter than the Frontier Short Bed SL Crew Cab 4x4:

 

Ridgeline

Frontier

At idle

37 dB

43 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Ridgeline has 8.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Frontier Crew Cab (109.7 vs. 101.1).

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Ridgeline has a much larger cargo box than the Frontier Crew Cab Short Bed (33.9 vs. 27.1 cubic feet). The Ridgeline has a much larger cargo box than the Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed (33.9 vs. 33.5 cubic feet).

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

 

Ridgeline

Frontier

Length

64”

59.5”

Min Width

50”

44.4”

Ergonomics Comparison

The Ridgeline offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Frontier doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Ridgeline’s standard tilting steering column adjusts to different sized drivers and makes entering and exiting easier. Nissan doesn’t offer tilt steering on the Frontier S King Cab.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Ridgeline has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Frontier doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition, the memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Frontier doesn’t offer memory seats.

The Ridgeline’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. The Frontier S doesn’t offer power windows.

The Ridgeline’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Frontier’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

The Ridgeline’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. The Frontier S doesn’t offer power locks.

The Pushbutton Start standard on the Ridgeline RT allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Nissan Frontier doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Ridgeline has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Frontier doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Ridgeline’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Frontier’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

The Ridgeline has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Frontier has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SL/PRO-4X.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Frontier doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Ridgeline has standard power remote mirrors. The Frontier S doesn’t offer either a remote driver side or passenger side mirror. The driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Frontier doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Ridgeline has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Frontier S/SV/Desert Runner/King Cab doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Both the Ridgeline and the Frontier offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Ridgeline RTS/Sport/RTL/Black Edition has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Frontier doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition has a standard adaptive cruise control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Frontier doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Ridgeline, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Frontier.

The Ridgeline RTL-E/Black Edition has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Frontier doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® chose the Honda Ridgeline as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Frontier isn't recommended.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Ridgeline as the 2017 North American Truck of the Year. The Frontier has never been chosen.

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