Toyota Tacoma vs. Tundra

By

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 25, 2024
2024 Toyota Tundra

Toyota is one of the few Japanese automakers that has attempted to compete with American brands in the hotly contested pickup truck segment. With the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra, the Toyota has options in the full-size and midsize truck segments. Shoppers who are looking for a pickup truck from Toyota may find it difficult to choose between the Tacoma and Tundra.

In this comparison, we’ll look at how Toyota’s pickup trucks stack up to one another. We’ll compare the Tacoma against the Tundra when it comes to pricing, fuel economy, size, towing capacity, technology, and off-road capability. In the end, we’ll name a winner to help you choose the truck that’s right for you.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Price

2023 Toyota Tundra

Toyota Tacoma prices start at $32,995, while the most expensive Toyota Tacoma starts at $53,595. The cheapest Toyota Tundra is SR trim which costs $41,815 and Toyota Tundra prices can reach up to $80,695 for the Capstone trim.

There’s a price difference of $8,820 between the base Tacoma and Tundra. When comparing two range-topping trims to one another, there’s a price difference of $27,100 between the two trucks.

As the smaller of the two pickup trucks, Toyota Tacoma deals tend to be better than ones that are available with the larger Tundra. The Tacoma is usually available with better lease deals, as well as financing deals compared to the Tundra.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Fuel Economy

2023 Toyota Tacoma Engine

Both the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra are available with hybrid engines. The electrified powertrains, though, are engineered for added performance, not fuel economy, over gas-powered engines.

The Tacoma’s turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at up to 21 mpg combined. Official fuel economy figures for the Tacoma’s hybrid powertrain aren’t available yet, but the hybrid engine is expected to be slightly more efficient than the gas-powered turbo engine.

With the available hybrid powertrain that consists of a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine, a battery pack, and an electric motor, the Tundra is rated to get up to 22 mpg combined. Tundras with the twin-turbo V6 engine can get up to 20 mpg combined.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Size

2023 Toyota Tundra Cargo

As pickup trucks that compete in different segments, there’s a large difference in size between the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra. In its largest configuration, the Tundra is 253 inches long, 80 inches wide, and 78 inches tall. The smaller Tacoma measures up to 226 inches long, 78 inches wide, and 75 inches tall.

Because of its smaller size, the Tacoma is the better option for drivers who spend any amount of time on small, urban roads.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Toyota Tacoma is rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds. The pickup truck can haul up to 1,705 pounds. These figures are below average for the midsize segment.

The Toyota Tundra can tow roughly two times as much as the Tacoma with a maximum towing capacity of up to 12,000 pounds. The Tundra offers up to 1,940 pounds of payload capacity. The Tundra lags well behind its American rivals in the full-size segment.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Technology

2024 Toyota Tacoma Dashboard

On the safety front, the Toyota Tacoma comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen, a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, four audio speakers, and Bluetooth. The midsize truck is available with a 14-inch touchscreen, a wireless charging pad, a 10-speaker JBL audio system, and a portable JBL speaker.

The Tundra comes with similar features, as its list of standard equipment includes an eight-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, six audio speakers, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and three USB ports. The Tundra is available with a 14-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a wireless charging pad, and a 12-speaker audio system.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Off-Road Capabilities

Toyota is known for making highly capable off-road vehicles and both the Tacoma and Tundra are available in rugged trims. The Tundra is available in a TRD Pro trim that features Fox suspension dampers, a 1.1-inch front suspension lift, Crawl Control, multi-terrain select drive modes, a locking rear differential, heavy-duty skid plates, and hill descent control. Despite its large size, the Tundra is plenty capable off-road.

The Tacoma is available in multiple off-road trims. The pickup truck is available in TRD PreRunner, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, and Trailhunter. The TRD Pro and Trailhunter trims are the most capable trims available. They come with steel bumpers, 33-inch tires, locking rear differentials, front stabilizer disconnect controls, heavy-duty skid plates, and recovery hooks. With 2.5-inch Fox internal-bypass shocks, the TRD Pro is capable of rock climbing and rugged terrain. The Trailhunter’s Old Man Emu shocks give it the ability to travel at high speeds over loose terrain.

With so many different trims to choose from and smaller dimensions, the Tacoma is the better option for drivers who want to go off-roading.

Which Is Better: Tacoma vs. Tundra?

Choosing between the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra mostly comes down to towing and hauling capacities. Most drivers will find that the Tacoma has plenty of performance for most shoppers in need of a pickup truck. It may not lead the class in towing capacity, but the Tacoma has advanced tech features, is easier to drive, and is far more affordable than the Tundra. It’s our pick in this comparison.

Shoppers that are looking for a pickup truck that can tow more than 6,500 pounds of cargo, has a spacious interior and has punchy engines that are relatively fuel efficient, the Tundra is a better choice. Despite its large size, the Tundra is nearly as efficient as the Tacoma and comes with similar tech features as the newer Tacoma.

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. 

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