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If you asked 100 midsize pickup truck shoppers to agree on one brand for their next truck, they might choose Toyota. Why? Because the Tacoma offers something for everyone with multiple body configurations, different powertrains, and two-wheel or four-wheel drive. However, the versatile Toyota Tacoma recently finished last in a midsize and compact pickup truck roundup

An overview of the 2023 Toyota Tacoma

A 2023 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition midsize pickup truck parked on a field of plowed dirt
2023 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

What makes the 2023 Toyota Tacoma so versatile? It has a long history of providing models that cater to a wide variety of needs. From small business owners that need an inexpensive but reliable and efficient work truck to families that want to load bicycles in the back for a trip to the park or tow a boat to the lake and the more adventurous that venture past the end of the road in an off-road capable 4×4, the Tacoma has a model for that. These are the reasons why Kelley Blue Book (KBB) named the 2023 Toyota Tacoma its “Midsize Truck Best Buy of 2023.”

With its starting price at around $28,000 with destination charges, the 2023 Tacoma costs $600 more than the 2022 model year Tacoma and about the same as most of its rivals, although it’s about $10k less than the 2023 Jeep Gladiator. According to KBB, “there are 34 model configurations” available, but the base entry-level Tacoma SR features:

  • Seating for four thanks to Toyota’s Access Cab configuration with two full-size doors in front and smaller rear entry doors
  • A 6-foot truck bed
  • Rear-wheel drive (RWD) with an automatic limited-slip differential
  • A 159-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 180 lb-ft of torque
  • A six-speed automatic transmission
  • A choice from five exterior colors: red, silver, gray, white, and black
  • A “Utility Package” option that makes the back seat area a cargo hold by removing the rear seats, seatbelts, and rear cupholders, along with deleting intermittent wipers. It saves $1,715 but reduces the seating capacity to two.

Upgrading the 2023 Tacoma SR to the double cab with four full-size doors allows seating for five but shortens the bed to 5 feet. Opting for the 3.5-liter V6 with four-wheel drive (4WD) provides 278 horsepower, 265 lb-ft of torque, and part-time 4WD. However, the price jumps above $35K with destination fees included.

Skipping over five trim levels to the top-tier Tacoma TRD Pro raises the starting price to over $47K and includes the following:

  • Seating for five with the double cab configuration
  • A 5-foot truck bed
  • A 3.5-liter V6 with a six-speed manual transmission
  • Part-time 4WD
  • Rear electronic locking differential
  • An off-road tuned suspension
  • Four exterior color choices: black, white, gray, and Solar Octane

The only option for the TRD Pro is the available six-speed automatic transmission that adds $1,705 to the price, pushing the total cost to around $50K. The good news is that after owning a Tacoma for five years, it could retain up to 60.6% of its original sticker price. 

The 2023 Toyota ranks last on a midsize truck list

As good as the 2023 Toyota Tacoma is, U.S. News ranked it at the bottom compared to five other midsize trucks in its review of the “Best Compact Pickup Trucks for 2022 and 2023.” The U.S. News review lumped midsize body-on-frame pickups with compact unibody models for its examination of nine trucks naming the 2023 Honda Ridgeline the winner based on its scoring system. Other midsize pickups that rank above the Tacoma include:

  • 2023 Jeep Gladiator
  • 2022 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2023 Nissan Frontier
  • 2022 GMC Canyon
  • 2023 Ford Ranger

Is the 2023 Toyota Tacoma a good truck?

If you’re looking for a dependable midsize pickup truck that retains its value, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma should be on your shortlist. While the Tacoma TRD Pro is an undeniable force off the pavement, other Tacoma models offer high-tech features with luxurious cabins. Additionally, adding 4WD to any Tacoma affords off-road prowess capable of confidently navigating rutted logging roads and snow-packed parking lots. 

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