Skip to main content

Toyota trucks are famous for quality, reliability, and owner satisfaction. However, the Japanese automaker’s cheapest truck of 2023 disappoints owners in one important area. Where and why does the 2023 Toyota Tacoma fail to meet customer expectations? 

What do 2023 Tacoma owners dislike about the cheapest Toyota truck?

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma off-roading in sand
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

For now (more on that in a moment), the Tacoma is Toyota’s cheapest truck, starting at $28,600 for a new 2023 model. This popular midsize pickup boasts great reliability, quality, and real value ratings. However, it fails to satisfy in one crucial area, according to a J.D. Power survey of 2023 Tacoma owners. 

The data analytics firm surveys hundreds of thousands of verified vehicle owners yearly to tabulate scores on a 100-point scale. The study covers four categories:

  • Quality & Reliability
  • Driving Experience
  • Resale
  • Dealership Experience

Based on owner feedback, J.D. Power awarded the 2023 Toyota Tacoma a nearly perfect “best” rating of 97 for Resale. In the Quality & Reliability category, the pickup scored a “great” 83. Dealership Experience was the only category where Toyota’s affordable truck got an “average” score of 76. However, the Tacoma tanked in the Driving Experience category, scoring a subpar 67, which J.D. Power considers “fair.” 

Here are the 2023 Toyota Tacoma’s J.D. Power scores at a glance:

  • Quality & Reliability: 83, great
  • Driving Experience: 67, fair
  • Resale: 97, best
  • Dealership Experience: 76, average

The market research firm looks at owner responses to questions about the vehicle’s design, performance, comfort, functionality, safety, and technology when tabulating the Driving Experience rating. Newer models or those with recent redesigns typically earn higher scores.

With the third-generation Tacoma going into its eighth year, it’s little surprise the 2023 Tacoma struggles to deliver a high-quality driving experience. 

How does the Tacoma stack up to the 2023 Toyota Tundra?

Starting at $39,965, the 2023 Toyota Tundra fared better than its smaller stablemate in Driving Experience, scoring a 75. That’s not surprising because the Tundra received a redesign for 2022 with the release of its third generation. However, Toyota’s full-size truck scored lower than the Tacoma in every other J.D. Power category. The 2023 Tundra’s complete J.D. Power scores are as follows:

  • Quality & Reliability: 78, average
  • Driving Experience: 75, average
  • Resale: 94, best
  • Dealership Experience: 76, average

Toyota’s cheapest truck might no longer be the Tacoma

With the success of the Ford Maverick compact pickup truck, it’s only a matter of time before Toyota and others jump into the fray. However, Toyota’s entry into the segment is only speculation so far, albeit fueled by the Japanese automaker’s video teaser of a classic 1966 Toyota Stout 1900. If we see a new Toyota Stout in the United States, it could happen as early as next year as a 2025 model.

Though the company hasn’t released details as of this writing, the new Toyota Stout could share the RAV4’s platform and drivetrain. That would be bad news for the Ford Maverick because the RAV4 Hybrid has 219 hp, 163 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel drive, and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version. Compare that to the Ford Maverick Hybrid, with 162 hp, 155 lb-ft of torque, no AWD, and no PHEV variant. 

Another Stout option includes the company’s TNGA-C platform, shared by the Corolla and Prius. However, if Toyota goes this route, we’d hope for more horsepower than either of those small cars produce. 

With only two compact pickups on the market — the Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz — another automaker will likely step in soon. In addition to the rumored 2025 Toyota Stout, there’s talk of an upcoming 2024 Ram Rampage. These are exciting times for small-truck fans.