2023 Toyota Tacoma Review: Irresistible Yet Lacking Refinement
2023 Toyota Tacoma review:
- 2023 Toyota Tacoma – $27,250 – $46,685
- Truck Best Buy award winner – Kelley Blue Book
- Pros – Durable for work, extremely capable of off-roading, excellent resale value
- Cons – Rough around the edges, limited passenger space, dated tech
- MotorBiscuit score: 8.1 out of 10
It’s easy to see why the 2023 Toyota Tacoma is still the best-selling mid-size truck, despite starting to show its age. It’s a rugged and reliable option that’s well-equipped for work and play. The Taco doesn’t disappoint during joy rides or while off-roading but could have better manners on the pavement.
The Tacoma has a variety of configurations to fit custom needs, including an optional manual transmission. Rivals offer more room and can tow more with a more comfortable ride quality, but that doesn’t stop people from picking the Tacoma over and over again.
2023 Tacoma: What’s new?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is part of the third generation that kicked off in 2016. It’s primarily a carryover model but offers new appearance packages for the SR5 model. The SX package adds blacked-out wheels and accents, while the Chrome package polishes features.
A few options have new standard features. For example, the V6 engine has standard dual-zone automatic climate control. The Limited trim gets the 8.0-inch infotainment screen and a power-adjustable seat. Plus, Solar Octane orange is the new special edition TRD Pro color.
Which 2023 Toyota Tacoma trim level is best?
- Toyota Tacoma SR – $27,250
- Tacoma SR5 – $29,040
- Tacoma TRD Sport – $34,160
- Tacoma TRD Off-Road – $35,440
- Tacoma Limited – $40,005
- Tacoma Trail Special Edition – $40,470
- Tacoma TRD Pro – $46,685
If you want to get started with notable off-roading upgrades, then the Toyota Tacoma Off-Road gets the party started without increasing the price too much. It features the more powerful V6 engine, a lockable rear differential, and Bilstein shock absorbers.
Plus, you get a more advanced off-road traction control system with multiple terrain modes, such as rock crawl. But if you don’t need off-roading upgrades, the SR5 adds comfort and convenience features like keyless entry, a power-sliding rear window, and the 8.0-inch infotainment screen.
How does the Toyota Tacoma drive?
We recommend avoiding the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. It’s a bit underpowered and noticeably slow. However, the optional 3.5-liter V6 engine cranks out 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque.
With the V6, the Tacoma can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. It has plenty of power for daily commutes and can pass others on the highway with ease. However, the six-speed automatic transmission can be clumsy at times.
You may notice a slight delay under harder accelerations and a little kickback, but the downshifts are smooth. The brakes are a little soft and take some getting used to. On a positive note, the Tacoma feels solid and stable at high speeds and in slippery conditions.
The Tacoma is resistant to slipping with precise control in heavy rain, snow, and ice. It’s confident and corners well with responsive handling. However, the steering can be light at parking lot speeds.
There’s little to no body roll around sharp curves, and the Tacoma is conveniently nimble. It has a 20.3 to 22.05-foot turning radius, so it’s agile and easy to park. There’s plenty of visibility to navigate around tight obstacles, and the 360-degree camera view makes things even easier.
Can the 2023 Toyota Tacoma go off-roading?
Yes, our 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro model lived up to its rugged reputation with above-average off-roading capabilities. The high-strength steel frame has hot-stamped ultra-high-strength steel in the body.
Each model has a double wishbone coil-spring front suspension and a rugged leaf-spring setup in the rear with outboard-mounted gas shocks.
It features a 9.4-inch ground clearance and rides on 16-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires with Kevlar. The off-road tuned suspension includes TRD springs with monotube FOX shocks in the front and FOX shocks with remote reservoirs in the rear.
The shocks have 2.5-inch aluminum housings with hardened oversized shock shafts to increase suspension travel and dampen impacts. You can hit larger impacts with speed and keep on going.
It has recovery hoods, thicker TRD Pro skid plates, an upgraded exhaust system, and machine-forged upper control arms for enhanced stability. The Tacoma feels noticeably stable at higher speeds.
The part-time 4×4 system has off-roading modes for Mogul, Rock Crawl, Sand and Mud, Loose Rock, and Rock and Dirt. You can access Hill Start Assist and Crawl Control too. It has an electronically controlled transfer case and limited slip differential.
Overall, the Tacoma seems to adapt to any situation as needed on the fly. The different driving modes adjust the throttle responses to deliver precise control in slick environments. It’s like the Tacoma prevents slips and slides before they happen.
It has plenty of power to climb up steep, ice-covered inclines with confident stopping power. The multi-terrain camera system provides tons of camera views to navigate around obstacles.
Also, the digital gauge cluster and infotainment screen show crucial states about your pitch and roll ad how much traction each tire has. You can carefully plan each maneuver without worrying about getting stuck or breaking something.
Is the 2023 Tacoma comfortable?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is comfortable enough. The enhanced door seals, multi-layer acoustic windshield, and sound-absorbing headliner reduce wind and road noise. The Tacoma isn’t much loader than the average SUV. It’s definitely quieter than the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco on the highway.
It may have a stiff ride compared to rivals, but that’s a fair trade-off for its enhanced capabilities. You may notice a few impacts over rougher pavement sections, but bumps are quickly dampened and settled. The cabin doesn’t shake or rattle.
The front seats are large and well-padded for hours of comfort. They have tons of bolstering to hold people in place. However, after a few hours on the road, the rear cushion may start to feel flat.
Also, the Tacoma is more comfortable for shorter people. The seats sit low to the floor, causing your knees to rest in a high position. The seats slide forward and back pretty far, but the height adjustment controls are limited, and the roof line is low.
The passenger seat can only move forward and back, leaving your passenger close to the floor. The rear seats and comfortable and well-padded but tight. People taller than 5’1” will want more legroom.
But the dual-zone climate control is solid and effective. The heated seats and steering wheel are fast and powerful during colder days.
Does the Tacoma have a nice interior?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma might not be the most luxurious option available, but the interior has a convenient layout that’s crafted with high-quality, durable materials. Everything is easy to reach and keep clean. Some critics describe the interior as dated, but only the clunky steering wheel feels retro.
You’ll notice a blend of soft-touch leather-covered surfaces with attractive accent stitching and metallic accent pieces that draw the eye. The cloth upholstery features embossed fabric for a rugged and premium feel with plush SofTex seats.
There are a few plastics in the cabin, but it’s textured to jazz things up a little. Plus, the rubberized all-weather flooring stands up to mud, sand, dirt, snow, and whatever else you track in.
The sunroof is a little narrow, but it allows natural light and fresh air to enter the cabin. Visibility is excellent thanks to a massive windshield and large back window. The side mirrors are deep and wide too.
The entry-level highest isn’t too high, but the running boards are convenient. Also, the rear doors don’t open wide, which could make installing car seats a hassle.
How is the tech in the 2023 Toyota Tacoma?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma has a few modern features but feels basic. A 7.0-inch touchscreen is standard on the SR model, but the other trims get an 8.0-inch unit. The system is easy and works quickly.
Some people may enjoy the straightforward layout with large physical buttons. The menus are limited and simple, so you can click and go. It’s ideal for drivers who just want to take off instead of messing with screen settings.
Plus, the software is smart and detailed. You can easily find the information you’re looking for. The screen is a bit small, and the camera views are blurry. But they are helpful in tight areas. You can opt for a wireless phone charging pad, but wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto isn’t available.
Our built-in navigation system lost service in areas without cellphone coverage, which was surprising and slightly disappointing. Also, the premium JBL audio system covers wind and road noise with ease.
Most modern trucks allow you to change off-road driving modes with the twist of a dial. But the Tacoma is a little complicated. You put the truck in neutral, then select the driving mode, then put it in drive to get your desired off-road settings.
Is the Tacoma good for towing and hauling?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 lbs, while class leaders can tow up to 7,700 lbs. It only falls a little behind the rest of the pack. It can also carry a payload of up to 1,685 lbs.
The sheet-molded composite bed provides a durable advantage, and plenty of tie-down cleats are available. You can opt for a 120-volt outlet in the bed too.
Interior storage is another area where the 2023 Tacoma shines. There are tons of trays and cubbies to take advantage of with a generous glove box. Our model had a locking center console, which is surprising. Not many trucks offer lockable interior storage anymore.
You can access storage under the rear seats and cubbies behind them. The seats can fold flat to create a level loading floor, but you need to push the front seats forward first. There isn’t much room to work with in the back, making things tricky.
How safe is the 2023 Tacoma?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is a pretty safe truck, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). It earned a ‘Good’ rating in most of its crash tests, but it earned a few ‘Acceptable’ and ‘Marginal’ rankings for passenger side tests.
It didn’t do well in a recently updated side test, but it hasn’t been updated since 2016. It also got a ‘Poor’ rating for seatbelt reminders because they’re too short. When installing child seats, the tethers and anchors are too deep in the seat and easy to confuse with other hardware.
The standard Pre-Collison System with Pedestrian Detection avoided collisions at 12 and 25 mpg speeds. At 37 mph, speed was reduced by 14 mph, and a warning was issued 1.1 seconds before impact.
Standard safety features include:
- Forward collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking
- Lane departure warning
- Adaptive cruise control
How reliable is the 2023 Toyota Tacoma?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma has an above-average reliability ranking. It’s expected to be more reliable than other new vehicles. J.D.Power gave it a score of 83 out of 100. While scores between 91 to 100 are the best, ratings between 81 and 90 are still great.
You can expect the average Tacoma model to make it past 300,000 miles with proper care and maintenance. Even poorly maintained Tacoma trucks easily pass 200,000 miles, and some options keep going after reaching 400,000 miles.
The average cost to maintain a Toyota Tacoma annually is about $441. This is excellent compared to the average maintenance cost of nearly $650 for other vehicles. Typically, Tacoma repairs cost lower than average.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2023 Toyota Tacoma a score of 8.1
The experts at MotorBiscuit award the 2023 Toyota Tacoma with a score of 8.1 out of 10. The Tacoma is rough, rugged, durable, and capable. It has wild off-roading capabilities and can stand up to beatings.
It does exactly what it’s designed to do. It is the perfect truck for off-roading, work, or joy rides. But it has a rough ride compared to rivals and may lack refinement. Its competitors, like the Nissan Frontier and Chevy Colorado, have modern updates for comfort and convenience.
The 2023 Tacoma could benefit from updated tech, a new transmission for a smoother performance, and more passenger space. But the most significant drawbacks don’t stop it from being the best-selling option.
It’s no secret that the Tacoma is getting older, but updates are coming. We can’t wait to see how the totally redesigned 2024 Toyota Tacoma compares.