For Tacomas made in 2023, Toyota is introducing two new exterior options to its SR5 trim level. The V-6 SR5 is offered with both Access Cab and Double Cab bodies, and the SX package, which was formerly available on the SR trim, is now available.
Additionally, it includes black over-fenders, wheels with black lug nuts, and various black trim and badging accents. A leather-wrapped shift knob, 18-inch polished wheels, chrome door handles, exhaust tips, and the tailgate logo are all included in the Chrome package, which is available on SR5 Double Cabs with five-foot beds.
Toyota’s Smart Key and a power-adjustable driver’s seat are now standard on SR5 models with the V-6, and automatic dual-zone climate control is now standard on all V-6 models.
The 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, Smart Key, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a 360-degree camera on Limited Double Cab Tacomas are now standard on Limited trim levels.
For 2023, TRD Pro off-road versions will only be available in the new Solar Octane shade. Electric Lime color is now offered for the TRD Sport.
It’s wise to stay with the TRD Off-Road crew cab (also known as the Double Cab), which is what the Tacoma does best. It has an electronic locking rear differential as standard equipment, and we’d prefer to have ours with the four-wheel drive option.
We would choose the more potent V-6 engine over the standard engine’s sluggish four cylinders. We prefer to manually shift gears to avoid the automatic transmission’s clunky behavior, even though choosing it means forgoing some alternatives.
Due to the manual’s incompatibility with Tacos equipped with the 6.0-foot bed, we are now limited to the smaller 5.0-foot cargo box. The Premium packages are also not available with our transmission option.
All models come standard with 16-inch wheels, black overfenders, several driver aids, and an infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot that requires a subscription.
We’d also pick the Technology package with options, which includes parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and enhanced front lighting with LED components.
Performance – Engine, Transmission
The Tacoma’s base 159-hp four-cylinder engine is underpowered and should be avoided, while the optional 278-hp V-6 engine produces 265 lb-ft of torque and offers respectable performance and towing power.
Additionally, we advise staying away from either engine’s finicky six-speed automatic transmission and instead opting for the V-6’s six-speed manual. Even the larger engine suffers at times when the automatic is supporting it.
While the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro versions seek out harsher roads, the TRD Sport and Limited trims are designed for city driving. None of these decisions are, however, especially speedy. The Tacoma is not the best option for handling and ride quality, but it can easily navigate rugged backroads and trails.
It can be configured to take advantage of opportunities for pavement cruising or dirt-treading. The Limited provides a comfortable ride that is quieter and smoother than the off-road models.
We’ve drove the Tacoma TRD Pro across the West and discovered that while its strong shock absorbers, beefy tires, and raised suspension make it one of the greatest trucks for off-roading, regular driving was less enjoyable.
Capacity for Towing and Payload
The Tacoma has a maximum towing capacity of 6800 pounds with rear-wheel drive and 6500 pounds with four-wheel drive.
Only two-wheel drive models of the Tacoma with with the four-cylinder engine have a maximum payload capacity of 1685 pounds; four-wheel drive models equipped with the V-6 engine have substantially less capability.
Fuel efficiency and actual MPG
Although the EPA rates the V-6 Tacoma’s fuel economy as being in the center of the pack, in our real-world highway tests, it performs less well than more efficient rivals. The V-6 manual transmission has the worst fuel economy, but it’s also much more enjoyable to drive.
In our actual fuel-economy test, the Tacoma’s highway estimate of 23 mpg was matched by the vehicle. However, this was 5 mpg less than the diesel GMC Canyon and Honda Ridgeline.
Cargo, Comfort, and the Interior
It’s admirable to be true to your roots, but the Tacoma’s cabin doesn’t benefit from this strategy. The materials and utilitarian design are from a different time—the recent past. Hard plastics and simple materials are used liberally in even the highest trim levels.
The Tacoma does, however, now feature a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Still, the Tacoma is known for its small spaces. The Tacoma’s occupants will have to cram into the crew cab’s back seat since the legroom is so poor.
The Tacoma disappoints with its few storage compartments and constrained carry-on room inside, while having a five- or six-foot bed with more than enough volume.
The Tacoma has a little amount of storage space inside, and the crew cab we tested could only fit nine carry-on bags in the rear seat. There aren’t many functional storage cubbies or bins, other from the bin on the center console.
Connectivity and Information
Toyota deserves praise for including touchscreen infotainment in each Tacoma. All higher trim levels have an 8.0-inch screen, while the base model has a 7.0-inch display.
Additionally, the company has now made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, which should enhance user experience in comparison to the prior infotainment system.
While the Tacoma has a number of USB ports and wireless charging, it still lacks a mobile hotspot compared to some of its competitors.