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The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and the 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X have long been rivals in the world of off-road pickup trucks. But for 2022, Nissan introduced an all-new Frontier bringing its small pickup into the third generation. The 2023 Tacoma is still an older vehicle, but it does offer one key advantage over its fellow Japanese truck. And that is the availability of a manual transmission. 

Will the 2023 Tacoma have a manual transmission?

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma truck does have an available six-speed manual transmission. But, it is worth noting that the standard transmission is limited to TRD models. That shouldn’t be too big of a deal, because it does mean you can get a new Tacoma TRD Pro with hand-made shifts.

An orange 2023 Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck is parked off-road. It offers a manual transmission.
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

In the past, the Nissan Frontier did offer a six-speed manual. And it could be had on the PRO-4X model. But, with the introduction of the 3.8-liter V6, rowing your own gears is no longer an option. Because of that, if you buy a 2023 Frontier, it is only going to come with an autobox. 

The Toyota Tacoma is a solid 4×4 truck

As an off-road truck, the 2023 Tacoma does do fairly well. It has multiple trims focusing on 4×4 capability, but the TRD Pro is by far the most capable. The TRD Pro comes standard with an upgraded suspension and skid plates. That six-speed manual transmission is also standard fare. 

A green mid-size truck from Toyota, the 2023 Tacoma drives off-road.
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Each 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro does come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 278 horsepower and 265 pound-foot of torque. And as you would expect from an off-road truck, 4WD is a standard feature. Unfortunately, the 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X does have the Tacoma beat in terms of power. The new Nissan V6 makes 310 hp. 

Both mid-size trucks are decent off-road

Although the 2023 Frontier has dropped its manual transmission, both the PRO-4X and TRD Pro are ready for off-road duty. These 4×4 trucks offer things like electronically locking rear differentials and modern off-road tech to help you handle the road less traveled. 

A 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X sits in a remote area as a mid-size truck.
Nissan Frontier PRO-4X | Nissan

According to MotorTrend, the new Tacoma TRD Pro does have a starting cost of over $45k. That price does make it more expensive than the Nissan. At the same time, the Nissan Frontier was a fairly old truck before its redesign. So it does not really have the kind of reputation that the Tacoma does. 

Which mid-size trucks still have a manual transmission?

In 2022, only two new trucks come with a manual transmission: the Jeep Gladiator and the Toyota Tacoma. Although that might come as disappointing news to enthusiasts, not a lot of folks buy new vehicles with standard transmissions. 

Although it might not be totally reflective of the new market, according to CarMax, just 2.4% of its vehicles are sold with a stick shift. And it would not be surprising if the number of new trucks sold with a manual is even fewer. 

Standard transmissions are sought-after for sports cars, but in the world of trucks, most shoppers may not find the trade-offs worth it. And who knows if the next generation Tacoma will even offer one.


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