Childre Nissan Compares 2002 Nissan Frontier VS 2002 Ford Explorer Near Dublin, GA

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2002 Nissan Frontier

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2002 Ford Explorer

Safety Comparison

To maximize occupant 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 Ford Explorer Sport Trac doesn’t offer pretensioners.

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

Warranty Comparison

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

Engine Comparison

The Frontier SC’s standard 3.3 supercharged SOHC V6 produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (246 vs. 240) than the Explorer Sport Trac’s 4.0 SOHC V6.

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the Frontier’s engines produce their peak horsepower at lower RPM’s than the Explorer Sport Trac:


Frontier King Cab 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

5200 RPM

Frontier 3.3 SOHC V6

4800 RPM

Frontier SC 3.3 supercharged SOHC V6

4800 RPM

Explorer Sport Trac 4.0 SOHC V6

5250 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Nissan Frontier gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer Sport Trac:


Explorer Sport Trac

Std Engine/Manual

22 city/25 hwy

17 city/21 hwy

Std Engine/Auto

20 city/23 hwy

16 city/21 hwy

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Frontier with optional antilock brakes stops shorter than the Explorer Sport Trac with antilock brakes:


Explorer Sport Trac

80 to 0 MPH

259 feet

264 feet


60 to 0 MPH

140 feet

143 feet

Road & Track

30 to 0 MPH

37 feet

39 feet


Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Frontier’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Explorer Sport Trac (265/70R15 vs. 255/70R16).

The Frontier’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Explorer Sport Trac’s 70 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Frontier offers optional 17 inch wheels. The Explorer Sport Trac’s largest wheels are only 16 inches.

The Nissan Frontier’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The front suspension of the Frontier 4x2 uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Explorer Sport Trac, which uses torsion bars in the front. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Frontier Long Bed Crew Cab Pickup’s wheelbase is 5.2 inches longer than on the Explorer Sport Trac (131.1 vs. 125.9 inches).

The Frontier King Cab handles at .71 G’s, while the Explorer Sport Trac pulls only .70 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Frontier King Cab goes through Motor Trend’s slalom 4.6 MPH faster than the Explorer Sport Trac (59.4 vs. 54.8 MPH).

The Frontier SC Crew Cab Pickup 4x4 goes through Motor Trend’s slalom 4.9 MPH faster than the Explorer Sport Trac 4x4 (60.6 vs. 55.7 MPH).

For better maneuverability the Frontier King Cab 4x4’s turning circle is 4.1 feet tighter than the Explorer Sport Trac’s (39 vs. 43.1 feet). The Frontier King Cab’s turning circle is 6.3 feet tighter than the Explorer Sport Trac’s (36.8 vs. 43.1 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Nissan Frontier may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 900 pounds less than the Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

The Frontier is 6.9 inches shorter in height than the Explorer Sport Trac, making the Frontier much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

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 Explorer Sport Trac uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Open Road, the interior of the Frontier XE-V6 King Cab 4x4 is quieter than the Explorer Sport Trac 4x4:


Explorer Sport Trac

At idle

43 dB

44 dB


70 dB

76 dB

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Frontier Crew Cab Pickup shortbed has a much larger cargo area than the Explorer Sport Trac shortbed (33 vs. 29.6 cubic feet).

The Frontier’s cargo box is larger than the Explorer Sport Trac’s in almost every dimension:

Frontier King Cab

Frontier Crew Cab

Explorer Sport Trac

Length (short/long)




Max Width








Ergonomics Comparison

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the Frontier offers optional steering wheel controls for the radio. The Explorer Sport Trac doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

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