Toyota Tacoma vs. Toyota Tundra

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - January 14, 2022

If you find yourself at a Toyota dealership, you’ll have two pickup trucks to choose from: the Tacoma and Tundra. Choosing between the two seems pretty clear. The Tacoma is the smaller, midsized truck, while the Tundra is the larger, full-size offering. For 2022, Toyota introduced a fully redesigned Tundra. The Tacoma that’s on sale for the 2022 model year is the same one that arrived in 2016. Despite the difference in size, there are quite a few things that the two pickup trucks share in common that can make choosing between the two difficult.

Both the Tacoma and Tundra are available with V6 engines, offered in rugged TRD Pro trims, and come with a similar list of standard safety features. In this comparison, we’ll take a look at both of Toyota’s pickup trucks to name the better option for the majority of shoppers.

What the Tacoma Gets Right

As the smaller pickup truck, the Tacoma gets an early lend on the affordability front. Pricing for the Tacoma starts at $27,715 (with destination), while the larger Tundra carries a starting price tag of $37,644. For shoppers on a budget, being able to save approximately $10,000 on a new pickup truck is a huge advantage for the Tacoma.

Measuring 212.3 inches in length, the Tacoma is roughly 21 inches shorter than the Tundra. It’s also nearly six inches shorter in width and eight inches shorter in height. The Tacoma’s smaller proportions make it far more manageable on the road. These same characteristics make the Tacoma TRD Pro trim more attractive than the Tundra TRD Pro, which is too big to fit down the majority of off-road trails.

Read Our Overview of the Toyota Tacoma

What the Tundra Gets Right

The Tundra comes with more powerful engines than the Tacoma. A twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine is standard on the Tundra. It’s rated at 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. For even more performance, there’s an available hybrid model that adds an electric motor to the V6 for a total of 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque. The most powerful engine available in the Tacoma is a 278-hp 3.5-liter V6.

With more powerful engines and a larger size, the Tundra is the obvious choice when it comes to towing and hauling. When properly equipped, the Tundra can tow up to 12,000 pounds and haul up to 1,940 pounds. The best the Tacoma can do is tow up to 6,800 pounds and haul 1,685 pounds.

The 2022 full redesign saw the Tundra arrive with some impressive optional features. The Tundra can be fitted with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 14-inch touchscreen, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. These are features you won’t find on the Tacoma.

Thanks to its full-size body, the Tundra has a more spacious interior than the Tacoma. Besides front legroom, the Tundra has more front and rear headroom, front and rear shoulder room, rear legroom, and front and rear shoulder room. If you plan on having people sit in the back of the truck regularly, the Tundra is the far better option.

Read Our Overview of the Toyota Tundra

Need Something Small?

Not everyone needs a full-size pickup truck for their job or work around the house. We get that. That’s exactly why automakers like Toyota have two trucks that differ so widely in size and pricing. If the Tacoma’s towing and payload capacity and performance fit your needs, there’s really no need to spend the extra money to get the larger Tundra. The Tacoma’s main issue is its age.

Our Verdict

The 2022 Toyota Tundra is vastly better than the previous model year. It may be wildly more expensive than the Tacoma and far larger, but it offers much more performance, much higher capability, and more impressive tech features. If you can afford the monthly payments, the Tundra is a better overall option than the Tacoma. If Toyota introduces a fully redesigned Tacoma shortly, our answer may change.

Compare Side-By-Side: Toyota Tacoma vs. Toyota Tundra »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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