The Frontier has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the Frontier and the Ridgeline 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, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.
The camshafts in the Frontier’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Ridgeline’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the Ridgeline’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
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 Frontier’s reliability 20 points higher than the Ridgeline.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Frontier first among midsize pickups in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Ridgeline isn’t in the top three.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 12th.
The Frontier’s optional 4.0 DOHC V6 produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (281 vs. 262) than the Ridgeline’s 3.5 SOHC V6.
The Frontier has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ridgeline (21.1 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Frontier’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Ridgeline are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Frontier SV/Crew Cab’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ridgeline (265/70R16 vs. 245/60R18).
The Nissan Frontier’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Honda Ridgeline only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.
The Frontier PRO-4X/Desert Runner’s has front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Ridgeline’s suspension doesn’t offer front gas-charged shocks.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Frontier King Cab’s wheelbase is .7 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (125.9 inches vs. 125.2 inches). The Frontier Long Bed Crew Cab’s wheelbase is 14.7 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (139.9 feet vs. 125.2 inches).
For better maneuverability, the Frontier King Cab 4x4’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the Ridgeline’s (43.33 feet vs. 44.4 feet).
The Nissan Frontier may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 450 pounds less than the Honda Ridgeline.
The Frontier King Cab is 4.5 inches shorter than the Ridgeline, making the Frontier easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Frontier is 5.8 inches narrower than the Ridgeline, making the Frontier easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.
As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Frontier Short Bed SL Crew Cab 4x4 is quieter than the Ridgeline Black Edition 4x4 (74 vs. 77 dB).
The Frontier’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Ridgeline does not have an oil pressure gauge.
The Nissan Frontier outsold the Honda Ridgeline by over two to one during 2017.