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Year after year, it seems like the Toyota Tacoma is the hottest midsize truck on the market. But in 2023, it is starting to show its age. That is especially true when you compare Toyota’s small truck to its newer rivals. Sure, you get perceived Toyota reliability, rugged looks, and one of the last new trucks that offer a manual. But it’s getting hard to call the 2023 Tacoma a good value. 

When was the Toyota Tacoma updated?

The last major update for the Tacoma midsize truck was back in 2020. And the current-gen Toyota Tacoma came out in 2016. Because of that, in a lot of ways, this small pickup feels outdated. The seating position is rather awkward, and for better or worse, it certainly handles like a truck. 

A green 2023 Toyota Tacoma off-roads as a small truck.
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

With a base price starting around $28k, objectively, it seems like there are some better midsize trucks on the market. And while the Toyota Tacoma might be the king of sales, maybe it’s not the king of pickups, at least until the redesigned Tacoma comes out for the 2024 model year. 

The 2023 Nissan Frontier might have the 2023 Toyota Tacoma beat

The third-generation Nissan Frontier came out for the 2022 model year. And it marked the first major update that Nissan’s small truck had in decades. Every Frontier now comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 310 horsepower. And at the lower trims, there’s a decent value proposition to be had. 

A 2023 Nissan Frontier drives down a hill as a midsize truck.
Nissan Frontier | Nissan

If you want a V6 on the Toyota Tacoma, you are going to have to pay extra. To be exact, the V6 engine on the 2023 Tacoma costs roughly $2,260 to upgrade to. Additionally, the 3.5-liter V6 engine featured in this midsize truck makes just 278 hp. Compare that to the Nissan Frontier, which gets you north of 310 hp without having to add the charge of an engine upgrade.

A 2023 Toyota Tacoma is parked near the Flint Hills in Kansas.
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

Now, I’m not knocking Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6. It’s been around for an eternity, and for the most part it’s known to pack on the miles. Nissan’s 3.8-liter V6 engine is certainly newer. So that is something you might want to take into account. 

Car and Driver ranks the Frontier over the Tacoma

Recently, Car and Driver dropped the best midsize trucks for 2023. And of the six trucks on the list, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma actually came in last place with a rating of 6.5 out of 10. Meanwhile, the 2023 Nissan Frontier beat the Toyota and the Ford Ranger with a rating of 7.5 out of 10. 

A 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro midsize truck at dusk.
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Eric Boman, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Frontier is probably not the best midsize pickup on the market. And even with these rankings, folks are still going to love the Taco. But it definitely seems like it is time for a redesigned Tacoma to hit the market. 

A 2023 Nissan Frontier is parked as one of Car and Driver's favorite trucks.
2023 Nissan Frontier | Nissan
Related The New Toyota Tacoma Is Fixing Frustrating Issues

The New Toyota Tacoma Is Fixing Frustrating Issues

We expect the 2024 Toyota Tacoma to be the first major redesign for this pickup since 2016. New trims are coming, like an overland-focused Tacoma Trailhunter. But, it’s not clear if you will be able to get a new Tacoma with three pedals. As it stands, that six-speed manual is one of the biggest perks of the current-gen of this Toyota truck.