Oldie, But A Goodie. The current generation of the Toyota Tacoma dates back to 2016. That makes the 2023 model one of the oldest midsize pickup trucks in the class. Despite its age, the Tacoma continues to be one of the better-selling trucks and is adored by fans. Still, it’s hard to deny that newer trucks in the segment are better options. This realization will fall upon deaf ears for consumers that are familiar with the Tacoma’s excellent resale value and reliability.

The Tacoma may be turning eight years old in 2023, but there’s still a lot to like about the truck. It’s one of the few options in the class that’s available with a manual transmission, it’s incredibly tough, it’s offered in a wide range of styles, it’s available with a long list of advanced safety features, and it still looks good. Not to mention, the available TRD versions are seriously good at off-roading.

So Many Choices. While some automakers have limited their body styles, Toyota continues to offer the Tacoma in multiple body styles and with a few beds. The Tacoma is available in Access Cab and Double Cab bodies, and with a five-foot bed and a six-foot bed. For consumers that don’t expect to use the rear seats often, the Access Cab with two small rear doors is a good option, while the Double Cab brings two full-size rear doors for easier access to the rear seats.

Toyota offers the Tacoma in six trims, but for 2023, two new appearance packages have been added to the roster for the SR5 trim. The SX package adds some black touches, while the Chrome package decks the pickup truck out with chrome pieces.

If you want a simple work truck, there’s the SR trim. Want something with a few creature comforts that won’t break the bank? Check out the TRD Sport. And if off-roading is your thing, the TRD Pro can stick with the best. One thing that the Tacoma doesn’t do all that well is luxury, so we’d avoid the Limited trim, though the trim gains an 8-inch touchscreen, Toyota’s Smart Key, and a surround-view camera as standard equipment on Double Cab models for 2023.

2023 Toyota Tacoma Truck Bed

Avoid The Base Engine. The Tacoma really shows its age on the powertrain front. The standard engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. For light tasks, the four-cylinder engine is fine, but it feels anemic and offers a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.

The available 3.5-liter V6 engine is a much better fit for the Tacoma. It generates 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and raises towing capacity to 6,800 pounds. The V6 engine is standard on all trims above the SR and SR5 where it costs roughly $1,400.

Regardless of what you plan to do with your Tacoma, we can’t recommend the V6 engine enough. Despite being down nearly 120 hp, the two engines share the same combined fuel economy rating of up to 21 mpg. Consumers looking to row their own gears will have to opt for a TRD model with four-wheel drive.

Cramped, Uncomfortable Cabin. The major downfall to Tacoma is its cramped interior. The front seats are mounted low to the ground, though the optional sunroof eats into overall headroom to the point where some drivers may find their heads brushing against the roof. Space in the rear seat, even in the Double Cab body style, is also well below average, as passengers only get 32.6 inches of legroom.

In addition to providing cramped quarters for passengers, Tacoma’s cabin also fails to impress with its lackluster materials. The midsize truck has hard plastics and drab colors to feel low quality. A minimal amount of storage compartments for small items is also a glaring design flaw on the inside.

The good news is that every Tacoma comes with a decent amount of tech. A 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, three USB ports, Bluetooth, and six audio speakers are standard. An 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, a JBL audio system, and a wireless charging pad are available.

Final Thoughts. While nearly every one of the 2023 Toyota Tacoma’s newer competitors is a better all-around truck, it’s hard to deny Tacoma’s appeal. Most of the time, all you really need is a sturdy truck that can get dirty and haul large cargo – nothing more. With the V6 engine, the Tacoma does just that.

For consumers looking for a rugged truck that’s all about off-roading, there’s the Jeep Gladiator. It’s basically a Wrangler with a bed, but it’s one of the most capable trucks in the segment. The Honda Ridgeline is a comfortable, smooth-riding, and refined truck. It has a roomy cabin, nifty features, a standard V6 engine, and standard all-wheel drive.

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