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Comparison: 2023 Nissan Frontier versus 2023 Toyota Tacoma

Which of this pair of midsize pickup trucks gets the job done?

2023 Nissan Frontier


  • Powerful standard V6
  • Modern cabin
  • Affordable starting price


  • Just one powertrain option

What are the highlights of the 2023 Nissan Frontier?

For years, the Nissan Frontier was an also-ran in a highly competitive class of midsize pickup trucks. Fresh on the heels of a 2022 redesign, the Frontier is now much more competitive with its modern rivals. And like the Toyota Tacoma’s TRD trims, Canadian truck buyers looking for a good off-roader can now consider the Frontier’s rugged PRO-4X.

How much does the Nissan midsize truck cost?

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices in Canadian dollars for the 2023 Frontier start with the $40,998 King Cab S trim. The only powertrain is a V6 gas engine, automatic transmission, and four-wheel-drive (4WD). Other standard gear highlights include an eight-inch touchscreen display and driving aids such as Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Cruise Control, Trailer Sway Control, and Rear Automatic Braking.

The roomier Frontier Crew Cab starts at $46,098 in SV trim. Looking to go off the pavement? The Frontier PRO-4X trim comes with Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, unique wheels and tires, underbody skid plates, and an electronic locking rear differential. It can be had as a $46,598 King Cab or a $49,498 Crew Cab. 


What’s the interior of the Frontier like?

The recent redesign of the Frontier repositioned it from one of the worst interiors in its class to one of the best. The Nissan’s cabin design strikes a nice balance of modern and utilitarian. The four-passenger King Cab has two small rear seats that can flip up to make extra cargo room. The Crew Cab has roomier seating for up to five people, making it the more family-friendly of the two body choices. 

The Frontier’s tech features are easy to use, and the front seats are very comfortable. You’ll find more front headroom and rear legroom in the Nissan compared to the Toyota. 


How does the 2022 Nissan Drive?

The comfort and ride quality of the Frontier is more refined than you might expect from a pickup truck in this price range. The Frontier is just right sized for drivers who want a capable truck that’s not cumbersome; it’s big enough to be a useful truck but small enough to be easy to drive and park. It also has a smooth ride, and there’s some actual feel from its hydraulic steering. 

Meanwhile, the 3.8-litre six-cylinder gas engine’s 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque ratings beat the Tacoma. This engine enables the Frontier to tow up to 6,490 pounds, and its maximum payload rating is 1,400 lbs. The Toyota trails with a 6,400-lb max tow rating and only a 524-lb payload limit. At the same time, the Frontier offers competitive fuel economy estimates with a 12.1 litres per 100 kilometres city and highway combined rating (12.5 with the PRO-4X trims). 


2023 Toyota Tacoma


  • Choice of transmissions
  • Proven hardware
  • Off-road warrior


  • Tight rear legroom
  • Showing its age

What are the highlights of the 2023 Toyota Tacoma?

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck is one of the automaker’s best-sellers and one of the most popular choices in its class. It’s tough, and well-built, and the permutations of two cab styles, two transmissions, and various trim levels (including a host of TRD packages) result in many possible configurations. And that’s before all the Toyota aftermarket products made for the community of off-roaders who have embraced this truck because of its extra abilities beyond the pavement.


How much does the Toyota midsize truck cost?

The most affordable 2023 Tacoma is the larger Double Cab/standard bed body style with the automatic gearbox, starting at $44,634. Like the Nissan, there’s only one engine choice, a V6, and 4WD is standard. Heated front seats and Toyota Safety Sense are also included. A manual transmission is available on the $47,274 Access Cab TRD Off-Road trim if you want to use a clutch pedal.

Considered one of the most capable off-road vehicles you can buy stock, the Tacoma Double Cab Short Box TRD Pro trim can be had with the manual for $60,304 and the automatic for $64,354.


What’s the interior of the Tacoma like?

Neither of the Toyota truck’s two cabs offered, Access or Double, have much in the way of rear legroom. The Access is a four-seater, and the Double takes one more. But the drive to the cottage had better be short, as the driver’s seat sits low to the floor, and taller drivers will find limited headroom—a long-time Tacoma issue.

As usual with Toyota vehicles, the build quality is good, even if some plastics are a little downmarket. More generosity and thought into the cabin's storage areas would have been appreciated, but there is some extra space under the rear seats. Spending more on the various TRD trims will liven up the cabin, but the Tacoma shows its age compared to the more modern Frontier.


How does the 2023 Tacoma drive?

One of the reasons Toyota offers as many off-road-oriented versions of the Tacoma is that it could be a better vehicle to drive on pavement. The 3.5-litre V6 makes only 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is okay (12.7 L/100 km for the manual; 11.9 for the auto). Add only six gears available in the manual or auto transmission, a stiff ride, and a noisy cabin and the Tacoma is like a truck time capsule dating back to the 1980s.

Back to the Tacoma’s special sauce—its off-road prowess. With the right equipment—such as the Fox-sourced raised suspension in the TRD Pro—this midsize pickup can go as far into the wilderness as a Jeep. It offers a 4WD system with a low-range transfer case, Crawl Control, and a terrain response feature. Plus, technological assistance from a Multi-Terrain Monitor in the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models. Mud-spattered, rock-climbing purists will also like the optional manual transmission available in these two variants.


Should you buy a 2023 Nissan Frontier or a 2023 Toyota Tacoma?

A midsize pickup makes a lot of sense for buyers who don’t want or need the extra costs and capabilities of a fullsize model. The 2023 versions of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are great examples of what’s available in the segment.

Having debuted for 2016, this generation of Tacoma is due for replacement. But the 2023 model still has all the strengths that appeal to many buyers. If you want a manual gearbox, feel confident off-road, or like the idea of the Tacoma’s proven mechanics, we won't stop you from buying one.

However, the Frontier is a better value, thanks to its solid V6 engine, more refined on-road manners, well-crafted interior with comfortable seats and modern tech features, and affordable pricing. 


2023 Nissan Frontier

2023 Toyota Tacoma

Starting MSRP




Basic Warranty

3 years/60,000 kilometres

3 years/60,000 kilometres


3.8-litre 6-cylinder gas


3.5-litre 6-cylinder gas


310 @ 6,400 rpm

278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm


281 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

265 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm


9-speed automatic

6-speed manual

6-speed automatic

Fuel Economy L/100 km (City/Hwy. Combined)


PRO-4X: 12.5

6M: 12.7

6A: 11.9


Four-wheel drive

Four-wheel drive

Max. Towing Capacity

6,490 pounds (2,944 kilograms)

6,400 pounds (2,903 kilograms)

Max. Payload Capacity

1,400 pounds (635 kilograms)

524 pounds (1,155 kilograms)

Bed Length

1,861 millimetres

1,537/1,872 millimetres

Max. Seating Capacity




3,200/3,550 millimetres

3,234 millimetres

Overall Length

5,338/5,692 millimetres

5,393/ 5,726 millimetres


1,854 millimetres

1,910 millimetres


1,832 millimetres

1,824 millimetres

Min Ground Clearance

205/220 millimetres

239/ millimetres

Headroom, Front

1,008/1,014 millimetres

1,008 millimetres

Headroom, Rear

930/980 millimetres

887/973 millimetres

Legroom, Front

1,075 millimetres

1,090 millimetres

Legroom, Rear

666/843 millimetres

625/813 millimetres

Shoulder Room, Front

1,479 millimetres

1,481 millimetres

Shoulder Room, Rear

1,326/1,365 millimetres

1,435 millimetres


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