2023 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma continues to be the best-selling mid-sized pickup truck in the U.S.A. Even in the face of supply chain and dealer inventory challenges, the Tacoma remains the choice for truck buyers looking for optimal quality and reliability.
The current Tacoma has been with us since the 2016 model year. In some circles, it could be called “long in the tooth” or “no longer relevant.” Even as the competition turned over new versions of their mid-size pickup trucks, the Tacoma stands as the choice when it comes to handling what the world will throw at it.
As a prime example of its continued leadership, we received the 2023 Toyota Tacoma in its top-most trim level – the TRD Pro. Let’s see how we fare with this popular pickup truck.
The Tacoma’s profile remains the as it ever was, with its shorter roofline, wide accessible doors into the cab and modern-looking box with an easy-to-use tailgate. The bold front end is blunt, offering a flat roof. It is not as high as on a full-size pickup truck, which helps in outward vision.
Our TRD Pro model adds a specific grille with Toyota lettering instead of the logo and aggressive 16-inch alloy wheels shod with all-terrain tires. Unique to the TRD Pro is a set of LED headlamps with “flowing” turn signals. Let’s not forget about our tester’s Solar Flare color – a blood orange paint job that stands out anywhere.
The TRD Pro model adds badging and subtle red accents all over the cabin. Perforated black leather adorns the front and rear seats and are actually supportive and comfortable. Head room can be an issue for taller drivers both front and back. Rear leg room is OK for average size adults.
Analog instrumentation is an important piece to the Tacoma TRD Pro’s package. There is a 4.2-inch digital information screen giving you readouts for practically everything. An 8-inch touchscreen sits in the middle of the dashboard with a series of four-wheel-drive system switches on the upper console by the rearview mirror, along with a sport shifter down below.
Powering our tester is the 278-horsepower 3.5-liter Atkinson Cycle V6 with 268 pound-feet of torque. It is connected to the available six-speed automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer case for the four-wheel-drive system, along with a limited slip differential. Overall performance is fine, except for a few maneuvers on the highway. We observed a fuel consumption average of 16.6 MPG.
Ride quality is soft on the Tacoma TRD Pro. The TRD suspension softens the blow from various surfaces, including off road tracks. Handling is also soft with a little care needed to maneuver the pickup truck around some turns. The Tacoma TRD Pro is at best off road, where the four-wheel-drive system is easy to switch on with other controls helping to perform maneuvers on the worst set of conditions. However, tight maneuvers may require some patience with the axles and transfer case, as you will feel some “bucking” from the driveline.
The brakes are good, though sometimes it may feel a bit touchy. Pedal feel is strong with solid reaction down to the wheels. Steering is handled by a large wheel, which may hinder sharp maneuvers. On-center feel is on the soft side and might need some adjustment to keep inside the lane. The turning radius is quite large for this pickup truck.
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma lineup starts at $27,250 for a base SR trim level model with the extended Access Cab, a four-cylinder engine, and a manual transmission. Our TRD Pro tester came with a sticker price of $52,558. The Tacoma is available in seven trim levels, two cab/bed configurations.
The Tacoma continues to be the leader in its class. However, it has plenty of competition that it compares very well to. Currently, the Tacoma is compared to the Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, and Nissan Frontier.
While there is a choice among mid-size pickup trucks, the Toyota Tacoma remains the leader in its class. Its sturdiness, proven driveline, build quality, and an unrivaled record for reliability are among the main reasons to buy one. Whether it is for work or play, the Toyota Tacoma is ready for you.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors