Toyota Truck Showdown: Tacoma vs. Tundra

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Toyota Pickups

It’s a battle of between stable mates as we declare a winner between two surprisingly similar Toyota pickups.

Comparison tests are a dime a dozen. But for good reason, of course. We just can’t get enough of these detailed battles between brands that aim to declare a winner. What we don’t often see, however, is one brand’s vehicles pitted against each other. So when we ran across a recent Toyota Tacoma versus Tundra comparison at Kelly Blue Book, we were rather intrigued.

And to be honest, we should see more comparisons like this one. Most of us are fiercely brand loyal and would never dream of defecting. The question of which size truck we need is a valid and very real question, however. Can we make due with a mid-sizer and save cash, or will we live to regret that decision later on?

Toyota Tacoma

In essence, Toyota makes this decision pretty easy for us. Because, as KBB notes, both the Tacoma and Tundra are equally excellent. “The Toyota Tundra is like an oversized version of the smaller Tacoma pickup, offering all the value, reliability and style of its smaller stablemate, but with more power, more features and more capability. In a two-way race between the Tundra and Tacoma, it simply comes down to a matter of how much truck you need and how much money you’re willing to spend.”

Essentially, stepping up to the Tundra will cost you a little over $4k in base form. For that extra coin, you gain space for one additional passenger. You lose 4/5 mpgs in the city and highway, respectively, when comparing the Tacoma’s 3.5-liter V6 versus the Tundra’s 4.6-liter V8. But that extra power pays off in the form of 180 more pounds of max payload capacity and a healthy 3,400 pounds in max towing.

Toyota Tundra

So which Toyota truck would we recommend? Well, if you tow/haul a lot or need to pull something heavy on a frequent basis, the Tundra is your choice. Ditto if you have to have that additional passenger space. But the Tacoma is quite capable in its own regard, and is plenty of truck for most of us. At the end of the day, however, you won’t regret either choice.

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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