I’m an Owner of a 2023 Toyota Tacoma: Here’s My Honest Review

2023 Toyota Tacoma

For nearly two decades, the Toyota Tacoma has been the best-selling mid-size pickup truck in the United States. While there are several reasons people choose to buy a Tacoma; for my wife and me, it comes down to simplicity, reliability, and timing.

Until recently, we have been driving my faithful 1997 Toyota T100, which currently has around 235,000 miles. But, we road trip often and decided it was time to upgrade.

Reasons I Wasn’t Waiting for the 2024 Model

Toyota revealed its redesigned 2024 Tacoma in May 2023. The truck will be available for purchase later this year. Among the most significant differences is that Toyota is choosing to go with a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine instead of the naturally aspirated V6 cylinder and a new eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the old six-speed. Toyota will continue to offer manual-speed transmissions on specific Tacoma models – credit to the company for doing this.

Not a Fan of Turbo Charged Engines

Car manufacturers continue to incorporate smaller turbocharged engines into their line of vehicles to achieve increased miles per gallon, as they claim to add power and torque. However, I like simplicity. I wanted to avoid owning a vehicle with a turbocharged engine.

Even though turbocharged engines can generate large amounts of power, turbo engines run at extremely high temperatures, and engine parts are under higher pressures and more strain than in naturally aspirated vehicles.

A turbo engine’s added complexity and design could lead to future issues, making repairs much more expensive. There have always been mixed opinions about the ability of turbocharged engines to last as long as naturally aspirated ones before breaking down. For me, a turbo charged engine is a deal breaker.

Going With a Base Model 2023 Tacoma SR

I decided to purchase the base model Tacoma SR 4×4 Double Cab with the TSS Off-Road Package. My wife insisted on the TSS Off-Road package (still an SR model with upgraded wheels, tires, running boards, and a few minor cosmetic additions).

We decided on a base model as we are fans of simple features like manually adjusted seats, parking brake, and the least amount of added electronics and components that could potentially fail in the future and add to expensive repairs. Base model vehicles are also much cheaper to insure as they usually have the least number of features to replace. For our purposes, the Tacoma 4X4 SR offered everything we needed.

A Proven Engine

The 2023 Tacoma has a proven 3.5-liter V6 2GR-FKS engine that delivers 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, with a towing capacity of 6,400 pounds (more than enough for towing our Aliner camper). We have plenty of power for our towing needs and feel comfortable towing on mountain passes with steep grades.

I Didn’t Want To Take a Chance

When I heard the rumor that Toyota was redesigning the 2024 Tacoma with a turbo engine, I knew I did not want to take a chance with a newly designed vehicle. I personally avoid buying cars in their first year. Introducing a new engine or an engine from a different car incorporated on a new chassis, body, and transmission might not have all the kinks worked out. Unfortunately, it seems it takes manufacturers a few years to work out all the “bugs” when they make significant changes to vehicles, even Toyota.

The Toyota Tundra is an example of a truck that suffered from several issues in its first year after it was redesigned in 2022.

The 2023 Tacoma Is Reliable

In the case of the 2023 Tacoma (it’s a third-generation), the engine and transmission have been around for some time. Third-generation Tacomas came out in 2016, and it took Toyota a few years to work out some of the problems.

Compared to other mid-sized trucks, much of the technology (engine, transmission, electronic components, and more) from the 2023 Tacoma is considered “ancient” but extremely simple and reliable. Toyota is notorious for taking its time when redesigning vehicles, especially its trucks.

Betting on It Lasting a Long Time

As for our 2023 Tacoma, I expect the truck to outlive me. My wife always laughs at that comment. We already have a Toyota truck over 25 years old with its original transmission. The engine still runs great. My expectations are not illogical.

A Smooth Ride

As of 2023, Tacomas are still “real” trucks, meaning they have leaf springs and drum brakes on the back wheels. Some people say they ride a little stiff. I believe the 2023 Tacoma drives smoothly and is comfortable to be in. My wife agrees.

Automatic Transmissions

I read mixed reviews about “indecisive” automatic transmission shifts with the 2023 Tacoma, especially on earlier models, but I have yet to have this experience.

We are used to a manual transmission on our 1997 Toyota T100, which, even when shifting correctly, can be a far more unpleasant experience than the automatic transmission on the Tacoma. But that is not a fair comparison, as that is a 25-year-old manual transmission versus a 2023 automatic transmission.


We recently drove across the country from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Apalachicola, Florida. The trip totaled about 2,200 miles towing our camper. It took me a short time to get a feel for how the transmission shifted. Overall, we loved road tripping across the South with our new truck.

Technology Features

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR has all the technology features we need, including an seven inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. In addition, the truck also has a host of driver-assistance features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning. Compared to our 1997 T-100, we think the truck is loaded with fantastic technology and features.

Added a Few Things

I bought a few additions for the truck, such as a Miller Cat shield, to protect the vehicle from catalytic converter theft (which is a national issue). I did the installation myself, which took about an hour.

I also purchased the manufacturer’s roof rack, which took an hour to install.

We had a Primus IQ trailer brake controller installed for the camper by a trusted local shop.

Maybe The Last Great Tacoma Model

We manage an outdoor recreation website and have wanted to buy a new truck for several years. We have a lot of gear with us when we travel, including two kayaks, two bikes, two inflatable paddle boards, and our dog. Overall, I’m happy we purchased the 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR. It might be the last great Tacoma model.

Posted in

Pablo Fechino

Originally from Argentina, I spent over 10 years doing back-to-back ski and snowboard seasons as an instructor in the Colorado Rockies and Andes Mountains of Argentina and Patagonia. When I’m not working my day job, I’m all about road tripping with the wife and our dog. I also enjoy lifting weights and working on my old Toyota truck.


  1. eric on August 30, 2023 at 4:54 pm

    I’ll respectfully disagree about the use or complication of turbos .. If engineered correctly they have several benefits ..You lost me on your “real truck “statement .. having leaf springs and rear drum brakes – I own a 87 Unimog , its slightly larger than a Tacoma , you might say it’s more of a real truck .. it has solid axles , coil springs and disc brakes on all four. I will agree with your mentality of trying to keep things simple , simple , equates to less is more , I love the Tacoma or at least what it was ..however even a so called simple , non turbo gasoline V6 is not simple – the electronics / chips , computers processors , etc alone will create a cluster F in shade tree trouble shooting trail side , Today in the world of comparing turbos .vs non turbos neither is greatly more complex than the other due to the use of electronics . And that is why I still drive a 87 , Unimog w/ a turbo inline 6 diesel …and thankfully no complex electronics . Otherwise I appreciate your article , glad the manual is offered , Toyota Tacoma is a good value in the world of over priced pick-ups .

  2. Doug on August 7, 2023 at 10:48 am

    I bought 4 door Tacoma in 2013 brand new. Normal wear and tear. The transmission is great at 221,000 miles. The ride is still smooth. AC cooked out about 50,000 miles ago. Not that important. I am a single man. Serviced the car every 5000 miles. Never stranded me! I will be looking at the 2023.

  3. Brent marsh on July 5, 2023 at 10:19 am

    We felt the same way as you folks re: the brand new model with turbo 4 engines. I’m sure that after a few years Toyota will them working perfectly. But “old” tech works for us , especially when it’s proven it’s reliability. Our Premium Sport four wheel drive V6 and a 6 speed manual works for us. All we did was order this package with the Pearl white paint and upgraded BFG KO 2’s Safe travels to all

  4. John on July 5, 2023 at 10:11 am

    The six is a good engine, but fuel thirsty. My brother bought a 21 Tacoma, I bought a 22 Ranger. His best mpg on the hwy unloaded 19mpg, mine 28. My truck rode nicer, was quieter, towed more and accelerated quicker by his own words, not mine. Yes, the Ranger is a dated platform in 22 but a good one that received the top spot in Australia for years in the midsize truck market. Reliability? I change my own oil with top grade synthetic and have had no issues with any of my Ecoboost engines, this is my third and I’ve kept them over 100k miles, no oil use, no turbo replacements.

    Toyota is doing the smart thing on their new truck by going to a turbo 4. You are feeding a 6 all the time loaded or not, with a turbo 4 you have more power than a 6 when needed, and the economy of a four cylinder when unloaded and cruising. Plus it’s cake to service yourself, no intake removals as in a six, four easy plugs on top of the engine. Sounds like the new Tacoma will be a winner too!

    • Brandon on July 6, 2023 at 6:21 am

      I believe that toyota reads reviews. I don’t know necessarily who reads them of a whole? But I do know that things slowly get worked out and slowly get solved. Maybe not enormous issues. But small and mighty. I love my 2022 sr5. Its everything I need in a truck. Little things are more important in my opinion rather than larger. People tend to over look the small things. Most importantly, the thing we can all rely on, is an amazing truck that makes people happy with what we need necessities wise. PS… “I am too a little skeptical of the new turbo.”

    • Sam on July 6, 2023 at 7:43 pm

      What model Tacoma does he have? My 2020 TRD Sport 4×4 gets around 27 unloaded on the highway, and I average 22 on my commute (lot of lights). I do have a bed cover so maybe that helps? I had a 2001 Ranger so not hating.

      • Doug Lynch on September 10, 2023 at 12:38 pm

        Still driving my 07 4×4 single cab. Built a new four cylinder 2.7 myself and all is well. I practically live in my truck, even trade stock index options on the fly. Oh how wish I could purchase new single cab. So simple and easy to work on. I don’t like complicated. I wonder how many are like me. Give it some consideration Toyota.

  5. BoMat on July 5, 2023 at 6:31 am

    I like your decision process. I bought new a 2005 Tacoma, rock solid. My only issue with the Tacoma’s are the fuel economy. Unfortunately, the 2024 models including the hybrid don’t do much better and will be more costly. You likely made a wise choice.

  6. Jeff Reynolds on July 4, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    Likewise, I replaced 2001 Toyota Tacoma SR5 TRD Dcab 4WD with 275K (still have it also) with a 2023 SR 4WD because I didn’t think that I would like the changes that I heard were coming with the 4th gen in 2024. I’m happy with the truck and don’t understand the comments about poor seats. I guess they must just fit some people better than others. I’m 6 feet tall and 185 pounds but my wife likes the seats also. I’m also a “less is more” person when it comes to trim levels on vehicles so the SR fits me well.

  7. Adarsh on July 4, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    I did the same, bought 202e trd off road manual tacoma since I don’t wanted to get all fancy turbo charged tacoma and I am very happy and already logged 17k miles and I am very happy about the performance and I am getting average 21 to 23 mpg.

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 4, 2023 at 3:08 pm

      That is awesome.

      • Scott on July 4, 2023 at 5:59 pm

        Hello. Scott from Vermont. Nice review. It’s refreshing to read and I like how you include your wife and road trip details. I drive a 2004 V8 4runner with a new frame. 255,000 miles. The V8 is perfect for the hills and will hold 5th gear even while towing. Toyota is going in the wrong direction with smaller higher reving motors I feel. By the way congratulations on your Tacoma! Happy Trails.

        • Ashlee Fechino on July 5, 2023 at 5:54 pm

          Thank you, Scott. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. Chad on July 4, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    I hear a lot of people say seats are terrible but my 2014 trd off road has the only seats that don’t hurt my back after 3-4 hours of driving. I drive multiple Hondas, fords, Nissans, jeeps for work and their seats are terrible compared to tacoma.

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 4, 2023 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for sharing. We had heard that too – but we think they are actually really comfortable.

  9. Sam on July 4, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    I have a 23 Tacoma and it’s definitely without any added bells and whistles. Already have 17k miles in 8 months and is great. First Toyota.

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 4, 2023 at 2:35 pm

      Sweet. Congrats! Have fun out there. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Stephen C Ray on July 3, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    I have a 2021 toyota tocoma 4×4 off road its loaded with crawl mode,multi terrain, and locking rear-end, I love my truck and everything about it,wasn’t absolutely sure about the ride and comfort but to me it rides better than any cars I’ve owned,I’ve always been a GM man but I’ve decided to step out and try a toyota.i did so because a guy in Texas traded his Toyota in with a million four hundred thousand miles on it with no repairs except a battery and brakes.
    Again, I believe my choice is with out a doubt a very good choice.

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 4, 2023 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for sharing, Stephen. Enjoy your rig.

  11. Albert on July 3, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    I have a 2020 extended cab. Has the v6 and have go tell you it pulls a loaded 20 foot bass boat with ease. Normal gas mileage is 22/23 mpg. With boat hooked up its 17/18. Depending on how heavy your foot is. Now has 98k miles and no issues
    Hope Toyota changes their mind and offers the v6 for2024and on.

  12. David on July 3, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    I just bought that exact truck last Saturday
    I am tickled pink. Fewer electronics the better. Rides and drives so good.

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 4, 2023 at 10:21 am

      Congratulations, David. Have fun out there.

  13. Gr on July 3, 2023 at 8:01 am

    I have a 2011 sr5 extended cab v6 4×4. Still running great, no rattles and very tight. No plans to upgrade.

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 3, 2023 at 10:22 am

      That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Charles Prewitt on July 2, 2023 at 9:14 pm

    The seats are terrible

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 3, 2023 at 10:25 am

      Thanks for sharing. We were worried about that (because we had heard that) but it’s definitely an upgrade from our 1997 T-100. We think the seats are really comfortable in the 2023 Tacoma.

  15. Wlliam R on July 2, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    I read this, but it was like a foreign language !!
    Im happy you guys like this truck…

    • Douglas Lofgren on July 2, 2023 at 8:29 pm

      I bought a 2023 Tacoma because I have a lot of confidence in the 3.5….it’s a great motor. When I heard they were going to a turbo 4 cylinder I have my doughts….so happy with my 2023!

      • Ashlee Fechino on July 3, 2023 at 10:23 am

        Congratulations. Thanks for sharing. Have fun out there!

      • M. Surprenant on July 4, 2023 at 8:04 am

        Since all your experience is with Toyota, bias is natural. No knock against Toyota, they make a good product. Many competitors have come a long way since the T 100 launched. It would be valuable to benchmark the Toyota vs it’s competitors.

    • Princeton on July 7, 2023 at 12:08 am

      V8 4runner when did those come out I’ve owned 3 4runners 89,95 and 97 I’ve yet to see a V8 one unless someone swapped the engine