2023 Toyota Tacoma

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2023 Toyota Tacoma Review: Still A Capable Workhorse, But The Wrinkles Are Showing

Durability, reliability and trustworthiness are all adjectives earned over decades by Toyota's Tacoma mid-size truck, and the current (third-generation) model is no different. Nothing lasts forever, though, and with 2023 being its eighth year in production, the pundits are already speculating about the next, fourth-generation model. But none of this matters to the current Tacoma, which soldiers on for yet another year with some new option packages but no real changes, secure in the knowledge that it will continue to rake in strong sales thanks to its reputation.

The body-on-frame Tacoma is available in a bewildering 34 variants for 2023, with access cab or double cab body styles on the menu, various trim levels, a choice between two engines, either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and with manual- or automatic transmissions. The two gas engine options are well-known, with the four-cylinder engine being the trusty old 2TR-FE 2.7-liter unit, while the six-cylinder is the equally trusty (and equally old) 2GR-FKS 3.5-liter V6.

Outputs for the 2.7-liter amount to an under-stressed 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed automatic as the only transmission, while the 3.5-liter produces 278 hp and 265 lb-ft and can be had with either the six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual in some trims. It fights in a competitive market, as Toyota Tacoma competitors include the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, and the new Nissan Frontier.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2023 Toyota Tacoma Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Tacoma?

The Toyota Tacoma continues largely unchanged for 2023, bar the addition of two special cosmetic packages. The first is the 2023 Tacoma SX Package, which can be ordered for V6-engined SR5 trims in both body styles and with either 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains. It adds some decorative stickers to the cargo bed, as well as overfenders, 16-inch alloy wheels, exterior cosmetic trim, badging, and side mirrors all finished in black.

The other special package is only available for double-cab V6-powered Tacomas with the five-foot load bed and either 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains. The 2023 Tacoma Chrome Package rolls on chromed 18-inch alloy wheels, along with chrome for the door handles, exhaust tip, and Tacoma insert on the tailgate to finish off the blinged-up look. The rest of the model range as well as standard equipment and options remain as is. The paint palette is shuffled around a bit and a brand-new paint color is introduced, called Solar Octane. It's a vivid orange and only available on the flagship TRD Pro.

Pros and Cons

  • Good value for money
  • TRD models very capable off-road
  • Established reputation for reliability
  • Strong resale value
  • Available manual V6
  • Old-school, inefficient engines
  • Hard ride and slow steering
  • Cramped second row
  • Dim-witted autobox

Best Deals on 2023 Toyota Tacoma

2023 Toyota Tacoma Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
TRD Sport
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
TRD Off Road
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Toyota Tacoma Trims and Specs

2023 Toyota Tacoma Handling and Driving Impressions

It's fine if a midsize truck rides and handles like a truck, but the Tacoma takes it to a different level. When unladen, the rear end is bouncy and skittish, and only settles down when it has a few hundred pounds in the load bed. That can be forgiven if you constantly carry heavy loads, but in other use cases, it's just plain uncomfortable.

The front suspension, by comparison, feels underdamped but oversprung, giving it the dual disadvantages of being both harsh over sharp disturbances and floaty over large undulations. The same applies to the steering, which has decent weighting but feels indirect and slow to respond. Consequently, cornering abilities are questionable at best, and give the impression that it's mostly the stability control keeping things under control when trying to push on.

Performance varies from slow to acceptable, depending on the chosen engine. This may, however, be forgiven in view of the Tacoma's role as a workhorse because, while the engines aren't the greatest out there, they have proven to be extremely reliable. Versions equipped with the 2.7-liter engine will run forever with only prescribed maintenance, but its acceleration is slothful, especially when loaded. The V6 is much stronger, if not up to the standards of the class leaders, and it doesn't drink all that much more than the four-cylinder either, so that's probably the engine option to go for.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Toyota Tacoma A Good Truck?

If your definition of a good midsize truck depends on how long it will run without major mechanical issues, the Toyota Tacoma is an excellent truck. The Tacoma is also very off-road capable in some trims, and its resale value will reflect its reputation for durability. However, if you also want to use the truck for on-road duties, the Tacoma probably won't make you very happy. It's fairly miserable to drive, thirsty, cramped, and uncomfortable to ride in, and its in-cabin technology also lags behind the opposition. Compared to its newer opponents, the Tacoma can really only sell on its reliability and good resale value, and that's not enough these days. The game has moved on, and a new Taco is needed to face the competition head-on again.

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