Go Full-Size or Meet in the Middle? Comparing Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma

November 24th, 2023 by

A popular Toyota Tundra for sale, a white 2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, is shown parked near a house.

Pickup trucks have become an increasingly popular option for drivers of all stripes, and it’s easy to see why. With their versatility, reliability, and hardworking nature, pickups provide excellent value, which is part of the reason the segment has been on the rise as of late, with steady growth in sales since 2019. With new models, trims, and packages hitting the streets every season, today’s drivers have more choices than ever, but the first choice usually comes down to choosing between a full-size, midsize, or compact pickup.

Full-size trucks aren’t necessarily better than their midsize brethren; it all comes down to how they’ll be used. Are you looking for a heavy-duty workhorse like the Toyota Tundra for sale, which offers maxed-out towing and hauling capacity? If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a reliable off-roader that can handle all the twists and turns of weekend exploration, the smaller Toyota Tacoma is tough to beat for its maneuverability.

Read on as we compare the two pickups in size, performance, cargo room, and towing and hauling capacity, and discover which pickup is the right choice for your unique driving needs.


The most obvious difference between the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma is the pickups’ respective sizes. As Toyota’s full-size offering, the Tundra is the larger of the two, offering drivers unsurpassed passenger and cargo room compared to the rest of the lineup. The midsize Tacoma might not be quite as roomy, but depending on how the truck will be used, this might actually turn out to be a selling point.

Terms like “full-size” and “midsize” aren’t always very helpful when picturing what day-to-day driving might be like behind the wheel of either of these models, so let’s briefly dive into the numbers. With a 145-inch wheelbase and 223-inch length, the Tundra is as about big as a full-size pickup can get. These dimensions make it the perfect choice for those who can’t afford to come up short on space, making it the go-to choice for tradesmen, construction companies, and other hardworking drivers.

With 122 cu.ft. of passenger volume, the Tundra is roomy enough to comfortably seat five. Toyota’s midsize pickup is naturally a little smaller but remains a decidedly practical option with a 127-inch wheelbase, 212-inch length, and passenger volume of 100 cu.ft. The Tacoma’s shorter wheelbase gives the pickup the edge in maneuverability thanks to its tighter turning radius. Factor in the Tacoma’s improved breakover angle, and it’s easy to see why midsize pickups are so popular among off-road drivers.

But cubic feet and wheelbases aren’t the only factors to take under consideration when deciding between the two models: there’s also the matter of cab sizes. The 2024 Tacoma is available in two-door Xtra Cab and four-door Double Cab styles, allowing drivers to accommodate two or five passengers, respectively. The size of the cab also dictates the size of the cargo bed, with the Tacoma’s Xtra Cab featuring a six-foot bed, while the Double Cab can be had with either a five- or six-foot design.

Those looking to max out their cargo space should take a closer look at the Tundra’s CrewMax Cab, which includes spacious seating for five, upsized rear doors, and either a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed. The Tundra’s DoubleCab design is still plenty roomy and actually offers the largest bed of the bunch, with both 6.5- and 8.1-foot beds to choose from. If you’re looking for a reliable family vehicle that doesn’t skimp on passenger and cargo room, the 2024 Tundra is tough to beat.

A white 2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is shown driving off-road.


With the Tundra and Tacoma, Toyota has taken a unique approach to the goods under the hood. Instead of messing around with different engines, Toyota has simplified the process, sticking with a single engine that’s been tuned and tweaked to offer varying levels of power and performance based on which trim you choose. Let’s start with the midsize Tacoma, which boasts a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine across all eight trims. In the entry-level Tacoma SR, this setup is good enough for some 228 hp—and it only goes up from there.

Most 2024 Tacomas are powered by a 278-hp i-FORCE version of the 2.4-liter engine, which also ups your towing prowess with 317 lb-ft of torque to play around with. Rear- and four-wheel drive are both available, as are an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission—but if you’re looking to unlock the Tacoma’s true potential, then the automatic is the obvious choice for one simple reason: i-FORCE Max. A relatively new addition to the lineup, the i-FORCE Max is a hybrid setup that sees the 2.4-liter engine paired with an electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery to produce an unbeatable 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. The i-FORCE Max goes a long way in demonstrating the potential of this hybrid approach and is an exciting addition to the truck-builder’s arsenal.

The Tundra largely follows the same formula as the Tacoma, offering one turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 that gets progressively more powerful as you move up the trim ladder. The base SR trim is beefier than the Tacoma right out of the gate, with 348 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque—and those numbers improve to 389 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque when you move past the entry-level offering. The Tundra has also embraced the hybrid approach, pairing the 3.4-liter engine with an electric motor to give drivers 473 hp and a considerable 583 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Tacoma, the Tundra is offered exclusively with a ten-speed automatic transmission; this might be a strike against the full-size pickup for those who like to row their own gears, but for the average driver, it’s just one less distraction to worry about.

So, what do these numbers mean in terms of real-world performance? The standard zero-to-sixty test is always a good way to compare power, so let’s see how the Tundra and Tacoma stack up when it comes to accelerating from a dead stop. Toyota’s full-size pickup is certainly the speedier of the two, with a zero-to-sixty time of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 108 mph when optioned with the 389-hp V6, but the Tacoma doesn’t lag that far behind. While Toyota has yet to release official stats for the all-new 2024 Tacoma, the 2023 version was able to get up to speed in just 7.7 seconds with the i-FORCE engine. Sure, pickups aren’t typically judged on their off-the-line acceleration, but it can be a handy stat when comparing the relative performance of the two models.

Towing and Hauling

The ability to tow and haul is one of the main selling points of the pickup segment, so how do the Tacoma and Tundra compare to this all-important metric? Unsurprisingly, the full-size Tundra has the Tacoma beat by a fair margin, which can largely be credited to its larger engine. When properly equipped with rear-wheel drive, the Double Cab, and a standard bed, the Tundra posts a maximum tow rating of 12,000 lbs and a max payload rating just north of 1,900 lbs. If you regularly find yourself towing RVs, campers, boats, construction equipment, and other weighty payload, the Tundra’s 12,000-lb towing capacity can mean the difference between a job well done and one that never gets started in the first place.

The Tacoma can still hold its own when towing and hauling, but the specific numbers are still up in the air as Toyota has yet to release the full stats for the all-new fourth-generation model. Luckily, we do know what the Tacoma’s SR5 trim is capable of, which is handy when comparing the midsize pickup with its full-size brother: when equipped with the 278-hp i-FORCE engine with 317 lb-ft of torque, the Tacoma maxes out at around 6,500 lbs of towing capacity. The Tacoma’s maximum payload is a little more competitive with the Tundra at 1,709 lbs, but if you see a lot of towing tasks in your future, there’s really no comparison between the two models.

But what about the hybrid models? These tend to lag behind their gas-powered counterparts when it comes to towing capacity due to their increased weight, but the hybrid Tundra calls this logic into question with its powerful 473 hp engine boasting 583 lb-ft of torque that is rated to tow up to 11,350 lbs with a max payload of 1,680 lbs. The i-FORCE Max-powered Tacoma is capped at 6,000 lbs with a payload rating of 1,709 lbs, putting it firmly in second place behind the Tundra.

A black 2023 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition is shown parked in a city.

Explore the Tacoma and Tundra for Yourself at Marietta Toyota

If you’re on the hunt for a new Tundra or Tacoma, Marietta Toyota should always be your first stop. A trusted presence in the Atlanta auto market since 1975, Marietta Toyota has thrived thanks to a combination of outstanding customer service, a stellar inventory, and building the kind of relationships that only come with time and experience. It also helps that we sell some of the most affordable, long-lasting, and reliable vehicles on the market—especially hardworking pickups like the full-size Toyota Tundra and midsize Tacoma.

There’s no understating Toyota’s legacy for reliability, but we take it one step further with our Nationwide Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. Coupled with the generous ToyotaCare program that covers all new vehicles for two years and 25,000 miles (including complimentary factory scheduled maintenance with roadside assistance), you can see why so many drivers have made Marietta Toyota their go-to dealership for all things Toyota. The Tundra is always a best-seller, and the all-new Tacoma will be a hot ticket going into the 2024 model year, so stop by today and check out our wide selection of Toyota pickups before it’s too late.