- We tested three trucks in the redesigned Tundra lineup to find the sweet spot.
- Across the board, the Tundra's 2022 redesign brought new standard features and upgraded equipment.
- The TRD Pro and luxury-level Capstone variants loom large, but are they worth the spend?
2023 Toyota Tundra Trims: Which Is Best?
We search for value in this overhauled pickup
The Toyota Tundra's redesign for 2022 caused a shockwave. That's because this new full-size pickup truck, entering its third generation, debuted a wide range of updated capabilities and brand-new trim levels.
Now the Tundra is a true competitor to the Ford F-150s and Ram 1500s and Chevrolet Silverados of the world, earning a rating of "Good" in our full-size truck rankings. Recently we took a close look at three trim levels to see how the Tundra has evolved.
Which trucks did we test?
For our comparison, we used these Tundra trims:
- Tundra SR5 with the TRD Sport package (mainstream with a bit of flair)
- Tundra TRD Pro (the off-roader)
- Tundra Capstone (the range-topping luxury model)
This selection provided us with a wide range of capabilities and features across the truck's price range. For 2023, the SR5 starts at $44,265 including the destination fee, while the TRD Pro costs $70,315 and the Capstone costs $77,040 — no small ask, to be sure.
All Tundras are powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine that starts out making 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. But there's a hybrid version of this engine known as "i-Force Max" that makes an even gutsier 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque. In our test, the SR5 had the non-hybrid engine, while the TRD Pro and Capstone rolled with the i-Force Max as standard kit.
How did our three Toyota Tundras perform?
We tested these different trucks in different ways. First, we examined the Tundra SR5, just one step above the base SR level. The SR5 is intriguing because it's an affordable pickup with a great set of standard features. Toyota switched to a fully boxed ladder frame for this third generation and also included rear coil springs for a softer ride, plus a dent-resistant composite bed so you don't need to add a pricey protective bedliner. On the whole, these changes make the Tundra SR5 a capable and livable modern truck at a reasonable price. An 8-inch screen is standard but ours came with the optional 14-inch unit, and the TRD Sport package includes 20-inch wheels and a slightly lowered suspension. Those options don't strike us as necessities, though the TRD Sport styling tweaks do look good.
In the Tundra TRD Pro, naturally, we found our way to an off-road course. This model gets the hybrid powertrain and 14-inch screen as standard and adds rugged equipment like skid plates, a locking differential, Fox shock absorbers and a locking rear differential. It's a little lacking in ground clearance compared to some rivals, and it's missing the locking front diff that you can have on the Chevy Silverado ZR2 for about the same price. But the TRD Pro performed admirably on our challenging hillclimb and still felt comfortable on the highway too.
Finally we got all dressed up to drive the Tundra Capstone, a premium trim level being offered for the first time on this generation. It comes with a genuine leather interior and flashy 22-inch wheels, and our test vehicle even had an optional air suspension. Toyota would like you to think that this is the Lexus of Tundras, but in our experience the reality falls a bit short of that expectation. While we enjoyed the comfortable seats and enhanced tranquility of the cabin (thanks to sound-reducing front windows), there remains a lot of subpremium plastic inside that you wouldn't find on an equivalent Ford or Ram.
Also, it must be said that the muscle-bound hybrid powertrain doesn't exactly sip fuel. Both the TRD Pro and the Capstone carry EPA estimates of 19 mpg combined, and our experience indicates that this number is rather optimistic in the real world.
We like the cheaper versions of the redesigned Tundra. They have plenty of power, spacious cabins and helpful features like that dent-resistant bed — in fact we recommend the value-packed Limited trim for most buyers. Once you get into the upper trims, pricing quickly becomes an issue when competitors make such luxurious trucks at that level.