2023 Toyota Tundra Review: Comfortable and Capable, yet Lacking
2023 Toyota Tundra review
- 2023 Toyota Tundra – $37,865 – $75,245
- IIHS Top Safety Pick+
- Pros: Smooth power delivery, comfortable ride over pavement, standard composite bed
- Cons: Subpar fuel economy, tows less than American rivals, limited storage
The 2023 Toyota Tundra marches to the beat of its own drum after being redesigned for 2022. After 14 years, Toyota fans finally got a brand-new truck that improves upon each of its aspects. However, it does things a bit differently. For example, it’s the only full-size option without a V8 engine.
You can take advantage of standard gas power or a more potent hybrid setup, but there’s no automatic 4×4 system. The truck is available in rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and the Tundra TRDPro is quite the off-roading beast.
Comfort and tech have been upgraded, and there are seven different trim levels available. The Toyota Tundra offers multiple configurations to meet various needs. There are even three bed lengths available, including 5.5-, 6.5-, and 8.5-foot options.
But despite having an improved ride quality thanks to the new coil-spring rear suspension, competitors have a smoother ride. Also, the 2023 Tundra falls short in terms of towing.
2023 Toyota Tundra: What’s new?
Not much has changed for the 2023 Toyota Tundra. It’s still rocking fresh updates from 2022, including a total redesign. However, a new SX appearance package is available for the more affordable SR5 trim level.
The SX package includes 18-inch dark grey wheels with a black finish for the door handles, body trim, mid-side section, rear bumper, and badging. The interior also features black accents.
Which 2023 Toyota trim is best?
- 2023 Toyota Tundra SR – $37,865
- Toyota Tundra SR5 – $42,470
- Toyota Tundra Limited – $54,015
- Toyota Tundra Platinum – $58,775
- Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition – $59,460
- Toyota Tundra TRD Pro – $68,520
- Toyota Tundra Capstone – $75,245
We recommend going for the mid-range Toyota Tundra Limited trim because it’s the cheapest way to gain the more powerful hybrid engine. Although, the i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain does increase the price to about $56,710.
The Limited model also adds more luxury and convenience features such as heated/ventilated seats, simulated leather upholstery, 20-inch wheels, a power-sliding rear window, the 14.0-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tailgate release button, and blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert.
But higher trim levels have a 360-degree camera, head-up display, power-deploying running boards, a wireless phone charging pad, a panoramic sunroof, household-style outlets in the bed, sound-reducing windows, and a heated steering wheel.
How does the 2023 Toyota Tundra drive?
We’ve spent time in the Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, off-roading oriented TRD Pro model and top-spec Capstone luxury trim. Based on different builds, we can confirm that upgrading from the standard engine to the hybrid setup is an excellent move.
The standard 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine cranks out 348 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. With the i-FORCE Max Hybrid setup, you get the same engine that’s paired with an electric motor to generate 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque.
The hybrid Tundra can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.2 seconds, but the gas-powered model gets there in 6.6 seconds. The hybrid setup provides instant torque for a noticeably faster acceleration.
We enjoyed how the 10-speed automatic transmission provides a smooth power delivery, but the Tundra can be slow to downshift. The brakes are confident and predictable, which is nice. Sometimes hybrid vehicles seem a little soft and squishy.
The steering is light but could be a little more direct, and things feel a bit hefty around tight curves. The tires provide plenty of grip for a confident stance but the massive turning radius limits cornering abilities.
Depending on which model you have, the turning radius is between 24.3 to 26 feet. The parking sensors and 360-degree camera definitely come in handy in tight parking lots and on narrow trails.
Can the 2023 Toyota Tundra go off-roading?
Yes, the 2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is the most capable Tundra ever, and it was even represented at the Rebelle Rally. The TRD Pro lifts the suspension by 1.1 inches for a 10.9-inch ground clearance and rides on 18-inch TRD alloy wheels wrapped in 33-inch all-terrain tires.
It features an off-road-tuned suspension with a front aluminum TRD skid plate, red-painted front coil springs, and a front stabilizer bar. Plus, it includes 2.5-inch Fox Internal Bypass coil overs with rear remote reservoirs.
There’s an electronically locking differential in the rear and a dual exhaust. The Crawl Control feature acts as an off-roading traction control system. Hill descent control is also included.
The Multi-Terrain Select system includes off-roading mods for Deep Sand, Mud, Rock, Mud, and Dirt. The 2023 Tundra TRd Pro features a 26.0-degree approach angle and a 24.0-degree departure angle.
On gravel and dirt trails, the Tundra TRd Pro feels really unsettled. Impacts and rough sections cause the cabin to vibrate. We expected a smoother ride like the GMC Sierra and Ford F-150 provide while off-roading.
The TRD Pro shines in mud and ruts with plenty of power to charge through obstacles. But this beast struggled to climb over steep inclines. The tires slipped on rocks, and the mudflaps can get caught under the tires. Also, the tailpipe hangs at a low position behind the rear tire.
Keep in mind that the Tundra is massive. The TRD Pro is 81.6 inches wide and 245.6 inches (20.47 feet) long. It weighs in at 6,015 lbs. Give yourself extra space and spotters in tight areas.
Is the 2023 Tundra comfortable?
The 2023 Toyota Tundra is pretty comfortable for longer drives. It has massive front seats with tons of adjustment controls for people of all shapes and sizes. The seats are well-padded and supportive.
You’ll find that the rear seats are also comfortable and well-padded. The rear bench sits at a relaxed angle, but there’s only enough space for two adults to fit comfortably. There’s a bump in front of the middle seat that limits legroom.
The Tundra has a smooth ride over the pavement and does an excellent job of absorbing larger impacts. The body roll is mostly well-controlled, but it’s a bit more noticeable to rear passengers. Anyone with a sensitive tummy should sit up front.
The interior is quieter than before, but wind and road noise are noticeable at highway speeds. The Capstone is appealing with its extra sound-dampening materials.
Also, the TRD Pro has constant engine noise that’s piped into the cabin. Sometimes the roar is exciting, but other times it’s distracting.
The climate control system is a strong point for the Tundra. The cabin is heated and cooled extremely quickly. The heated and ventilated seats are effective, and the heated steering wheel is conveniently toasty on cold mornings.
How is the 2023 Tundra on gas?
The 2023 Toyota Tundra could have a better fuel economy. The hybrid model is rated to receive an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and up to 24 mpg on the highway. Adding AWD could reduce these figures a bit.
We struggled to get past 15.7 mpg in the Normal, Sport, and Comfort modes in the city, on the highway, and while off-roading. However, using Eco Mode helped us get 20 mpg on the highway.
How is the 2023 Toyota Tundra interior?
The 2023 Toyota Tundra interior is crafted with high-quality, attractive materials. You can opt for different shades of red, tan, black, and gray upholstery with eye-catching accent stitching and dual-tone designs.
Hard plastics and cheap items have been replaced with textured trim pieces and soft-touch-covered surfaces. The layout is simple and straightforward, with chunky design elements and clearly labeled buttons.
Shorter folks should consider opting for running boards or adding steps because the truck is quite tall. Access to the bed is limited, but the powered fold-out step on some models is helpful. Rivals have steps built into the bumpers or the tailgates that are helpful.
The Tundra has excellent outward visibility, but the chunky C-pillars can get in the way. The rear window is also a bit small. If you opt for the panoramic sunroof, make sure to always have your sunglasses nearby. It allows tons of natural light to enter the cabin, which can be blinding at times.
Does the 2023 Toyota Tundra have nice tech?
The 2023 Toyota Tundra has notable upgrades that feel advanced and modern compared to the outgoing model. The 14.0-inch touchscreen is vibrant with easy-to-read graphics and fast loading speeds.
But do we dare raise the question about it being too big? Shorter drivers may have a difficult time reaching some of the touchscreen controls. Also, some features, such as the head-up display, are limited to higher trim levels.
We are impressed by the trail cameras that display frontal and side views to help maneuver around obstacles. Also, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are welcomed additions. Some critics complain about the wireless phone charging pad because their phones fall out of the tray, but it works with larger devices.
The available digital gauge cluster provides crucial information such as navigation, off-roading stats, and driving mode performance. You can see how much power is returned via the regenerative brakes and your eco score.
The Tundra could benefit from more physical controls and more steering wheel controls. The voice recognition software is very responsive, though. Also, the optional JBL premium audio system is crisp and clear. It peacefully covers wind and engine noise.
How does the Toyota Tundra do with storage and towing?
The 2023 Toyota Tundra is adequate when it comes to storage. The center console is massive, and the door pockets are generous. There are cupholders everywhere you look, framed by convenient storage strays.
However, rivals offer a cubby above the glove box that the Tundra doesn’t have. Also, the rear floor has a bump in the middle, so you don’t get a flat loading floor. The rear seats fold up against the wall. But under-seat storage is limited in the Hybrid model.
The 2023 Tundra can tow up to 12,000 lbs and carry a payload of up to 1,940 lbs. This is excellent but falls short of the Ford F-150, which can tow up to 14,000 lbs.
How safe is the 2023 Toyota Tundra?
The 2023 Toyota Tundra is incredibly safe. It’s an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+. It received a ‘Good’ score in almost every crash test, which is the highest score possible.
It got an ‘Acceptable’ rating in two areas for its ability to protect the driver’s lower leg and foot in two simulations. Also, it got a ‘Superior’ score for its crash avoidance system. The Tundra avoided collisions at 12 and 25 mph speeds.
During the 37 mph test, speed was reduced by 35 mph, and a warning was issued about 2.2 seconds before impact. Plus, the Tundra ranks highly for its roof and structure strength.
Standard safety features include:
- Forward collision mitigation
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane-keeping assistance
The safety features are intelligent and effective without being intrusive. You’re rarely bothered by a loud beep, and the steering wheel gently vibrates if you start to drift out of your lane.
Is the 2023 Toyota Tundra reliable?
While the Tundra is known for being extremely reliable and durable, the new generation is still being put through the paces. The 2022 and 2023 Toyota Tundra have slightly below-average reliability rankings. J.D.Power gave it a 70 out of 100, which is the lowest average score.
The 2022 model has four recalls, and the 2023 model has one. That’s not bad, considering that the 2022 Ford F-150 struggles with nine recalls.
The 2023 Tundra should make it between 150,000 to 200,000 miles. It’s not uncommon for the previous generation to surpass 300,000 miles. This new truck just needs a little more time to be put through the paces.
It costs about $603 to maintain a 2023 Tundra on an annual basis. That’s not bad because the average vehicle takes about $650 to maintain yearly.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2023 Toyota Tundra a score of 8.1 out of 10
The experts at MotorBiscuit have awarded the 2023 Toyota Tundra with a rating of 8.1 out of 10. The new Tundra is much improved compared to the outgoing generation, and the hybrid engine is robust and engaging. There’s also a wide variety of configurations available to suit the needs of many drivers.
While the Tundra is comfortable, strong, and extremely capable, it seems to fall a little short. Rivals can tow more and offer more storage and access solutions. Also, the Tundra is expensive and desirable features are limited to higher trim levels.
We would like another shot at getting a better fuel economy, but driving in the Sport Mode is too much to ignore. Perhaps we will get to compare more trim levels as well.