Closed Today's Hours: Closed

Ram 1500 vs Nissan Frontier

Ram 1500 vs Nissan Frontier

You don’t always need the biggest truck on the market, but when you’re in the market for a smaller truck there are a ton of different choices out there.
But two of the more popular choices are the RAM 1500 and the Nissan Frontier. But the truth is that they’re two different trucks that meet different needs.

To help you understand the difference between the two trucks and decide which one you need we came up with this guide to compare these two popular truck options.

The RAM 1500

While the RAM truck first came about in 1981, they didn’t start putting the 1500 label things until they released the second generation in 1993. Still, the truck was still known as the Dodge RAM 1500 until 2011 when they dropped “Dodge” from the name and started referring to the truck as the “RAM 1500”.

No matter what you call it or what model year you go for, it’s a 1/2-ton pickup truck with some great performance numbers.

The Powertrain

Because the RAM 1500 has been around for so long there are a ton of powertrain options out there. But we’re going to focus on the fourth generation (2009 – 2018) and the fifth-generation (2019 to present) here.

For these generations, there are six different engine options available. But keep in mind that the 6.2L Hemi is only available in the RAM TRX trim level. All six engine options are:


Production Years



3.6L Pentastar V6

2013 to Present


269 lb-ft

3.7L V6

2009 to 2012


235 lb-ft

4.7L V8

2009 to 2013


330 lb-ft

5.7L Hemi V8

2009 to Present

390 to 395

407 to 410 lb-ft

3.0L EcoDiesel V6

2014 to Present


420 lb-ft

6.2L Turbocharged Hemi

2021 to Present


650 lb-ft

Payload and Clearance

The RAM 1500 is a half-ton truck so it doesn’t have the highest payload numbers compared to some of the larger trucks on the market. Still, with a maximum payload that ranges between 1,225 and 2,325 pounds, it’s still more than enough for most applications.

Unless you need a truck to lug concrete and bricks from place to place, there should be a RAM 1500 with a high enough payload for you.

Moreover, if you’re looking to get off the pavement a bit, with a stock ground clearance of 10.3 inches you shouldn’t have any problems.

Towing Specs

While you’re not going to tow a Class A RV with a RAM 1500, it does boast enough power to pull around trailers and other pieces of equipment you might need to move from place to place.

It all depends on the truck and package you get, but the RAM 1500 can tow anywhere between 6,120 and 8,280 pounds with a conventional towing setup. For a half-ton truck, those are some pretty impressive numbers.

The Nissan Frontier

In 1997 Nissan released the Frontier, and through the years they’ve gone through a few generations. But compared to many vehicles, Nissan has left quite a few things the same throughout the years.

But because Nissan got things right the first time, that’s not as big of a deal as it would be with other trucks.

The Powertrain

While there are a ton of different engines to choose from with the RAM 1500, the Nissan Frontier simplifies things a bit. From 2005 to 2019 the Frontier only offered two engine options, and from 2020 on they all come with the same V6 engine.

There is no Frontier engine with a V8 engine, but with two V6 engines that produce impressive towing numbers, it’s not that big of a deal.


Production Years



2.5L inline 4

2005 to 2019

152 hp

171 lb-ft

4.0L V6

2005 to 2019

261 hp

281 lb-ft

3.8L V6

2020 to Present

310 hp

281 lb-ft

Payload and Clearance

There’s no doubt that the Nissan Frontier has slightly lower performance specs compared to the RAM 1500. It’s all because the Frontier has a Class 1 rating while the RAM 1500 has a Class 2a rating.

You can start to see some of the differences in the payload. The Nissan Frontier has a maximum payload between 1,296 and 1,708 pounds depending on the model you go with. That’s enough for most personal applications, but if you need a heavy-duty work truck you might run into problems.

The ground clearance is also a smidge lower than the RAM 1500, sitting at 9.4 inches off the ground with the stock suspension. But even at 9.4 inches that’s more than enough clearance to head off-road if that’s what you’re looking to do.

Towing Specs

While the Nissan Frontier might have a lower payload than the RAM 1500, when you look at the towing specs things are far more similar despite the smaller size of the Frontier. Depending on the configuration you go with you can tow between 6,260 and 6,720 pounds with the Frontier.

These numbers are extremely similar to the lower-end specifications that the RAM 1500 offers. So, unless you get an upgraded version of the RAM 1500, you’re not really getting any increased towing capabilities, in fact you might be getting less towing power!

Final Thoughts

If you’re simply looking for a small truck for smaller jobs, you can’t go wrong with either the RAM 1500 or the Nissan Frontier. If you’re still stuck between the two, reach out to the pros at Tim’s Truck and they’ll help walk you through the two trucks to find out which one is right for you.

Their friendly team will answer any questions you might have, and they’ll even help you get behind the wheel of either truck. That way you can be 100 percent sure it’s the truck you want before you decide to purchase it.

But no matter what truck you go with we’re confident you’ll be happy with the results and enjoy the ride!

%FORM=2600|General Contact%
© 2024 Tim's Truck Capital | Privacy Policy
Tim's Truck Capital & Auto Sales Inc., Used Car Dealers, Epsom, NH