Childre Nissan Compares 2002 Nissan Frontier VS 2002 Dodge Dakota Near Macon, GA

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2002 Nissan Frontier

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2002 Dodge Dakota

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Frontier have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Dodge Dakota Club/Regular Cab doesn’t offer pretensioners for the seat belts.

Both the Frontier and the Dakota have standard driver and passenger side airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts and available four wheel antilock brakes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the Nissan Frontier King Cab is safer than the Dakota Club Cab:




Chest forces

46 g’s

51 g’s



4 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index



Leg injuries (L/R)

480 / 991

1190 / 450

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results.

Warranty Comparison

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Frontier 2 years and 24,000 miles longer than Dodge covers the Dakota. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years and 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Dakota ends after only 3 years or 36,000 miles.

The Frontier’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Dakota runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Frontier have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Dakota.

The Frontier’s reliability is better than the Dakota’s. In Consumer Reports, the Frontier’s reliability is 52% better.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of new car owners provide the statistics which show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 26th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Car and Driver the Frontier King Cab 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. is faster than the Dodge Dakota V6 (automatics tested):



Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

10.7 sec

11.2 sec

Quarter Mile

17.9 sec

18.4 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Frontier 5 speed manual with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Dakota 5 speed manual with its standard engine (22 city/25 hwy vs. 20 city/25 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Frontier with optional antilock brakes stops much shorter than the Dakota with antilock brakes:



80 to 0 MPH

257 feet

293 feet

Road & Track

60 to 0 MPH

141 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

55 to 0 MPH

112 feet

124 feet

Four Wheeler

30 to 0 MPH

28 feet

37 feet

Four Wheeler

The Frontier with its standard brakes stops shorter than the Dakota:



70 to 0 MPH

224 feet

244 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Frontier has larger standard tires than the Dakota (225/75R15 vs. 215/75R15).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Frontier SC Crew Cab Pickup handles at .75 G’s, while the Dakota SLT Club Cab pulls only .69 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Frontier XE King Cab 4x4 goes through Road & Track’s slalom 1.4 MPH faster than the Dakota Sport Club Cab 4x4 (53.6 vs. 52.2 MPH).

For greater off-road capability the Frontier has a 1.5 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Dakota Quad Cab (9.3 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the Frontier to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Frontier’s minimum ground clearance is 1.3 inches higher than on the Dakota Club Cab (9.3 vs. 8 inches).

Chassis Comparison

The Nissan Frontier may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the Dodge Dakota.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Frontier V6 (except 4 cyl.) has a liquid-filled front engine mount. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Dakota uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by AutoWeek, the interior of the Frontier King Cab 4x4 is quieter than the Dakota Sport Club Cab 4x4:



At idle

44 dB

51 dB

60 MPH Cruising

67 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Frontier’s cargo box is larger than the Dakota’s in almost every dimension:

Frontier King Cab

Frontier Crew Cab

Dakota Quad Cab

Length (short/long)




Max Width








To prevent tailgate loss and help secure heavier cargo from theft, the Frontier has a standard tailgate lock cylinder. The Dakota doesn’t offer a tailgate lock.

Both the Frontier and Dakota have bed indentations that accommodate 2x4’s for two-tiered loading, but the Frontier also has indentations to separate the cargo box into three different sections length-wise.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The Frontier is less expensive to operate than the Dakota because typical repairs cost less on the Frontier than the Dakota, including $155 less for an alternator, $105 less for a fuel pump, $44 less for a timing belt/chain and $110 less for a power steering pump.

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