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Toyota Tacoma 2023 Review: Ideal Design With Sturdy Body

The Toyota Tacoma of 2023 has lagged behind newer competitors in terms of comfort, but it holds its ground well off-road. The Tacoma, which competes with the Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier, among others, is a mid-size pickup truck. The Tacoma’s strong reputation and impressive resale value may attract many buyers. In what could be its final year before a redesign, the 2023 Tacoma sees the addition of a couple of new trim packages for the SR5 grade.

The Tacoma’s chunky appearance is its strength. While its bulky lines are now familiar, the 2023 Tacoma still presents itself as a rugged truck with impressive capability. The bold front end features a large Toyota badge—and an even larger one if you opt for the TRD Pro trim with its semi-retro “TOYOTA” lettering. Each trim comes with its own wheel designs, which range from basic steel on the SR to stylish alloys wrapped in chunky rubber on TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road versions.

Highly capable off-road, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma falls short as a comfortable commuter. All models except the 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro come standard with rear-wheel drive, although a simple part-time four-wheel-drive system is widely available. TRD Off-Road models add a variety of off-road features including a locking rear differential, crawl control (a system that automatically guides the Tacoma along at extremely low speeds), and numerous traction control modes. TRD Pro versions include Fox shocks and a higher ride height for more serious off-roading.

Ride quality varies from one trim to another, although all are quite comfortable by truck standards, thanks to their large sidewalls and long wheelbase. The Tacoma’s steering requires a considerable amount of effort, a feeling exacerbated by the bulky, thick-rimmed steering wheel.

Most Tacoma trucks are equipped with a 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6, which needs to be pushed even during low-demand in-town use. If you opt for the standard inline-4, you’ll need to have a lot of patience. It’s smooth, but it only delivers 159 hp, which would result in a poor power-to-weight ratio in a compact sedan, let alone a hefty pickup.

The 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but it tends to upshift a bit too eagerly for optimal efficiency, which may lead to frequent throttle application. Pressing the “ECT Power” button on the dashboard instructs the gearbox to be less eager to upshift, but you’ll need to press the switch every time you get in. The 6-speed manual transmission available on some TRD configurations is a smooth, slick unit worth seeking out if you don’t mind shifting gears yourself.

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is not fuel efficient. Both the 4- and 6-cylinder versions will realistically deliver similar performance in real-world situations. With the V-6, the Tacoma achieves 19 mpg city, 24 highway, 21 combined. Four-wheel drive reduces these figures to 18/22/20 mpg, and the manual transmission only reaches 18 mpg combined. Expect 20 to 21 mpg combined with the base engine.

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is equipped with a wide array of crash-avoidance technology, but its crash-test scores are mediocre. Despite Toyota’s inclusion of standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and automatic high-beam headlights, it may not be the best choice. Unfortunately, an “Acceptable” score from the IIHS in the demanding right-side small-overlap test negates this good news. The NHTSA has not updated its scores for the latest model year.

Internally, the Tacoma has a busy yet still intriguing appearance that may make it the most stylish in its class, although the bar is set low here. Wide sections of black and gray plastic somehow look appealing thanks to interesting graining and occasional stretches of soft-touch material. Despite its size, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma is far from spacious. The bed composite, resistant to dents, comes in 5- and 6-foot lengths, with Toyota offering a variety of bed liners and rubber mats.

An uncomfortable seating position and cramped rear seat mean the 2023 Tacoma is not a great choice for families. There is simply no way to feel truly comfortable inside the Tacoma, especially when compared to competitors such as the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado, which have a much better seating position for the driver. The Tacoma’s front bucket seats are low to the ground, even when adjusted to the highest position. Opting for the optional sunroof will make the roof feel close even for drivers of average height. Rear-seat space isn’t great, although an infant carrier fits better here than in many competitors due to the relatively wide rear doors.

A wide range of options ensures that there is a 2023 Toyota Tacoma for everyone. A standard 3-year/36,000-mile warranty is included, although Toyota will cover the cost of the first oil change. The Tacoma is available in a wide range of options, starting with the work-oriented SR trucks that start around $27,750. While not luxurious, these trucks are equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility via an 8.0-inch touchscreen, as well as a variety of crash-avoidance features including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

The SR5 adds a convenient power-adjustable driver’s seat and serves as the entry point for much more stylish interior and exterior trim. Opt for the V-6 engine, four-wheel drive, and a crew-cab body, and Toyota will present a bill for nearly $38,000. The prices escalate rapidly from there.

Suddenly, the TRD Off-Road, which costs a little over $39,000 with four-wheel drive and the automatic transmission, seems like an intelligent purchase, especially if you plan to go off-road. Progressing through the slightly premium Limited trim will lead you to the TRD Pro, which can exceed $50,000 with options. Nevertheless, its Fox shocks and leather-lined interior would be difficult to replicate for that price with aftermarket gear.

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma remains as capable as ever. With its unwavering reliability, decent performance, and updates that keep the Tacoma competitive, it continues to lead the mid-size truck class. Available in a variety of sizes, powertrains, and options, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma is a resilient choice with something for everyone.

TRD Off-Road, which costs a little over $39,000 with four-wheel drive and the automatic transmission, seems like an intelligent purchase, especially if you plan to go off-road. Progressing through the slightly premium Limited trim will lead you to the TRD Pro, which can exceed $50,000 with options. Nevertheless, its Fox shocks and leather-lined interior would be difficult to replicate for that price with aftermarket gear.

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma remains as capable as ever. With its unwavering reliability, decent performance, and updates that keep the Tacoma competitive, it continues to lead the mid-size truck class. Available in a variety of sizes, powertrains, and options, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma is a resilient choice with something for everyone.

Image Source: quiggyt4 / Shutterstock

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