Which Toyota Is the Best, According to MotorTrend?
In a segment notorious for unreliable vehicles, Toyota’s pickup trucks break the mold. Toyota currently only offers two models, but both of them earned high overall scores on MotorTrend. Let’s look at which truck came out on top.
The favorite Toyota is a pickup truck
The 2023 Toyota Tundra is one of the best full-size trucks, third place after the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150. The 2023 F-150 was ranked ahead of the Tundra thanks to its best-in-class towing capacity of 14,000 lbs and various engine options. The 2023 Ram 1500 is slightly less brawny and more expensive, but it compensates with a luxe interior and easy-riding suspension.
What makes the Toyota Tundra stand out?
The Toyota Tundra is one of the only full-size pickups without a V8 engine, though it does offer a twin-turbo V6 with an electric motor attached. It has a combined output of 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque, plus the highest potential gas mileage of 20/24 mpg city/highway.
Both of the Toyota Tundra SR trims can only be had with the twin-turbo V6 alone, which makes up to 389 hp. That’s under the hood of the Toyota Tundra SR5, which can also tow up to 12,000 lbs with the right drivetrain and cab.
The Tundra can haul up to 1,940 lbs, depending on its size and your cab choice. The CrewMax has more passenger legroom, but both this cab and the Double Cab have five seats. There are three cargo box sizes, though some of them are only available in certain configurations. Every Toyota Tundra has a minimum towing capacity of 8,300 lbs and payload capacity of 1,575 lbs.
The Toyota Tundra reportedly wiggles a lot while towing heavy loads, failing to inspire confidence in MotorTrend editors. They were more impressed with the Tundra’s optional air suspension, but the base coil-spring rear suspension still smooths out the drive nicely.
The Toyota Tundra’s interior is well-constructed and features a revamped infotainment system. Wireless smartphone integration is standard across the trim lineup, and you get a standard 14-in touchscreen starting on the Tundra Limited. The Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 suite includes features like forward automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure mitigation.
Is the 2023 Toyota Tacoma a good alternative?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma has an average score on MotorTrend, though editors believe that it’s not the best midsize pickup on the market. Ultimately, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado garnered the most appeal thanks to their low asking prices and the available diesel’s elevated fuel economy. The Honda Ridgeline was another strong contender, with a ride quality to rival SUVs and plentiful advanced safety features.
The only midsize pickup ranked lower than the Toyota Tacoma is the 2023 Nissan Frontier. Editors were disappointed with this truck’s driving experience, bad gas mileage, and finicky transmission. Its latest redesign finally added some much-needed technology, but that feels like the bare minimum when the truck still has so many shortcomings.
The Toyota Tacoma still utilizes a leaf-spring rear suspension, so its ride is nowhere near as plush as the Tundra’s. Its 159-hp four-cylinder base engine is woefully short on power, and the six-speed automatic transmission needs a lot of improvement. The Fox shocks on the Tacoma TRD Pro manage to soften the ride somewhat.
The Tacoma also offers just two small cab options and can only tow 3,500 lbs with the base four-cylinder. While some drivers might appreciate its cheap retail price, the 2023 Tacoma still can’t compare to the Toyota Tundra in terms of value. We hope that the redesigned model will be just as impressive as the new Tundra.