Toyota Tacoma vs. 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 - October 27, 2022
2023 Toyota Tundra

In order to be more competitive with American brands, Toyota offers two pickup trucks for consumers to choose from with the Tacoma and Tundra. If you’re in the market for a pickup truck from Toyota, you’re looking at choosing between these two models. While the choice would seem pretty obvious, the Tacoma is smaller and more affordable, while the Tundra is larger and more capable, there are a few more qualities that make the decision a little more difficult.

In this comparison, we’ll take a look at some of the similarities and differences between the Tacoma and Tundra. We’ll compare the prices, dimensions, towing capacities, fuel economy, and off-roading capabilities for the two trucks. Whether you’re looking for a spacious pickup truck with serious towing capacity or a small truck that’s highly capable off-road, we'll help you decide which truck is the right one for you.

Toyota Tacoma vs. Tundra Price

2023 Toyota Tacoma

Beyond size, the other large difference between pricing for the Tacoma and Tundra is because of when the trucks were redesigned. The last time Toyota redesigned the Tacoma was in 2016, while the Tundra was fully redesigned in 2022. The Tacoma starts at $28,585 (including destination), which is $10,175 less than the Tundra which costs $38,760.

Unsurprisingly, the Tundra has more expensive lease deals than the Tacoma. At the time of writing, we’re seeing lease deals for the Tundra that start at $500 per month for 36 months with $3,150 due at signing. Toyota is offering the Tacoma with a 36-month lease for $389 per month with $2,999 due at signing.

Compared to other midsize rivals, the Tacoma is priced competitively. It’s more expensive than the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, and GMC Canyon, but is cheaper than the Nissan Frontier, Jeep Gladiator, and Honda Ridgeline. In the large class, the Tundra is one of the more expensive options, costing a lot more than the Ram 1500, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and GMC Sierra 1500.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Dimensions

2022 Toyota Tundra Trunk

Size is one of the largest differentiating factors between the Tacoma and Tundra. Toyota offers the Tacoma with either a five-foot or a six-foot-two-inch bed, while the Tundra is available in three bed lengths: an eight-foot-one-inch bed, a six-foot-six-inch bed, and a five-foot-six-inch bed.

The two pickup trucks also different in body styles. The Tacoma is available in Access Cab (half-sized rear doors) and Double Cab (full-size rear doors) configurations. Consumers will find that the Tundra is offered in Double Cab (smaller rear doors) and CrewMax (full-size rear doors). Most automakers have gotten rid of their two-door pickup truck configurations for large trucks, while a few midsize options continue to be available with them.

In their longest configurations, the Tundra is 252.5 inches long and the Tacoma is 225.5 inches long. The Tundra’s larger size makes it the roomier of the two options, as it offers up to 38.5 inches of rear headroom and 41.6 inches of rear legroom. The most space you’ll find in the Tacoma’s rear seats is 38.3 inches of rear headroom and 32.6 inches of rear legroom.

Tacoma vs. Tundra Off-Road & Towing

2022 Toyota Tacoma

Toyota takes off-roading seriously, which is why the Tacoma and Tundra are both available in rugged TRD Pro trims. Unfortunately, the Tundra TRD Pro is only available with the brand’s hybrid engine. We cover the Tundra Hybrid separately, which includes the TRD Pro trim.

While it’s on a technicality, the Tacoma TRD Pro trim wins this category as it offers an immense amount of off-roading capability. The Tacoma TRD Pro comes with a TRD-tuned suspension, 16-inch TRD wheels, a rugged body kit, a hood scoop, a heavy-duty front skid plate, an upgraded exhaust system, a multi-terrain monitor, and Fox shock absorbers.

Both the Tacoma and Tundra lag behind their American competitors on the towing front. The Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds, which is nearly half of the Tundra’s maximum towing capacity figure of up to 12,000 pounds. If you’re looking to do some serious towing, the Tundra is the clear winner.

Tundra vs. Tacoma Gas Mileage & MPG

2022 Toyota Tundra

Fuel economy isn’t something most drivers worry about when purchasing a pickup truck, but it’s become more of a concern with the rise of gas prices. Since the Tundra Hybrid is covered separately, we won’t list the electrified truck’s fuel economy figures in this comparison.

The standard engine in the Tacoma is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder. It makes a modest 159 horsepower and is rated at a disappointing 21 mpg combined. The much more powerful 3.5-liter V6 produces 278 hp and can get up to 21 mpg combined.

The regular Tundra is only available with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine. The engine produces 389 hp and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. With rear-wheel drive, the Tundra can get up to 20 mpg combined. Compared to the Tacoma, the Tundra has great fuel economy figures.

Should I Buy A Tacoma or Tundra?

Unless you need a midsize pickup truck that’s easy to drive and has great off-roading capability, the Toyota Tundra is the best choice for most pickup truck shoppers. It has a far more powerful engine than the Tacoma, gets the same fuel economy, has a much more spacious cabin, and can tow almost double the amount as the Tacoma. Plus, the recent redesign brought high-tech features, upscale trims, and an available hybrid model. It’s well worth the extra money.

Thanks to its smaller size, the Toyota Tacoma is far easier than the Tundra to drive. The Tacoma TRD Pro has more off-roading capability than Tundras with the non-hybrid engine, making it the better choice for consumers that plan on spending a lot of time off the tarmac. The Tacoma is also more affordable than the Tundra, but feels a lot older and comes with antiquated tech features.

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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