3 Reasons to Avoid the 2023 Toyota Tacoma Base Model

Buying a 2023 Toyota Tacoma can be a challenging process. There are many trim levels to choose from, and each is advantageous for its own reasons. However, one version of the midsize truck is best avoided by most buyers. There are a few reasons to avoid the 2023 Toyota Tacoma base model, the SR trim. Although it’s more affordable than the rest of the lineup, it’s missing a few things other models provide, and they aren’t that much more expensive.

1. The 2023 Toyota Tacoma base model isn’t that cheap

A 2023 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition, avoid the Tacoma base model.
2023 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The first reason to avoid the 2023 Toyota Tacoma base model is that it isn’t that cheap. To be more specific, Car and Driver says the SR model starts at $28,585. Comparatively, it isn’t much of a bargain when the SR5 model is just $30,375. With two trims so close in price, it seems silly to opt for the cheaper version with less equipment. Additionally, the difference between the two starting prices will barely be noticeable regarding a monthly payment.

According to Toyota, a Tacoma SR lease for 36 months with 12,000 annual mileage and $3,053 due at signing results in a $403 per month payment. Using the same mileage, down payment, and term, leasing an upgraded SR5 model is just $432 monthly. Although it adds up over time, most buyers who can afford one can afford the other, and the SR5 is clearly a superior model. Edmunds says a base model Tacoma has no power-sliding rear window, no power-adjustable driver’s seat, and no locking/unlocking vehicle remote. Modern basics like these first kick in with the SR5 trim.

2. Avoid the base model because of available optional packages

Front angle view of orange 2023 Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Next, a reason to avoid the 2023 Toyota Tacoma base model is because of optional packages. According to Edmunds, the SR trim doesn’t have as many optional packages customers can choose from. The Dynamic Navigation, Technology, and Trail Edition packages each unlock with the SR5 trim. Some are only available after upgrading to the optional V6 engine too. Although it may not sound like much, these packages are capable of turning the affordable SR5 trim luxurious.

First, the Dynamic Navigation package is only available with the V6 engine. It adds a navigation system and rear parking sensors. Next, the Technology package adds blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. Finally, the Trail Edition is only available with a V6 Double Cab and adds bronze-colored wheels, all-terrain tires, a 1.1-inch front and 0.5-inch rear suspension lift, a Heritage-style front grille with bronze lettering, black exterior badging, unique seat trim, all-weather floor mats, a 120-volt cargo bed outlet, and cargo bed locking storage bins.

3. Nothing new for the Tacoma base model

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Lastly, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR base model has nothing new for the latest model year. Many things changed for the Tacoma lineup, but not for the cheapest version of the midsize truck. For example, the SR5 trim now has two appearance packages available. They are the SX package, which adds black over-fenders, black wheels, black lug nuts, and black badging and trim details. Next, the Chrome package adds 18-inch polished wheels, chrome door handles, exhaust tips, a tailgate logo, and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

Additionally, SR5 models with a V6 engine now get a Toyota Smart Key and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Every model with the more powerful engine now has automatic dual-zone climate control. Moving further up the lineup, the Limited model gained a power-adjustable driver’s seat, an 8-inch infotainment screen, Smart Key, and a 360-degree camera. Finally, TRD Pro models have an exclusive Solar Octane color, and TRD Sport trims can get Electric Lime paint.

Avoid the 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR

In conclusion, there are a few reasons to avoid the 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR base model. It’s nearly as costly as the SR5 trim, has far fewer optional packages, and the SR base model received none of the many new changes for the 2023 model year. For those reasons, it’s best to skip the base model and head right for the SR5 or higher. Most experts recommend choosing the optional V6 engine, which adds many more features to the Tacoma SR5.