2023 Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD Sport: Which is the Better Pick?

You’ve decided it’s time for a new truck and picked the Toyota Tacoma. Well done! Now it comes down to choosing between the various trim levels. If you compare the Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD Sport, you see several differences that must be weighed. 

I make the selection much easier for you by breaking down all of the key differences between the TRD Sport and SR5 Tacoma trims. I look at the interior, exterior, features, and capability to help you make a decision. 

Design and Features

Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport

From a design standpoint, there are quite a number of differences between these two Tacoma trim levels. Even from the front grille design, these two trucks appear different. 


Let’s start with the exterior features both trucks have:

  • Fiber-reinforced Sheet-Molded Composite (SMC) inner bed with steel outer panels
  • Deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats and four fixed cargo bed tie-down points
  • Variable intermittent windshield wipers with mist cycle
  • Sliding rear glass with privacy glass
  • Skid plate on engine/front suspension
  • Integrated color-keyed tailgate spoiler

Additionally, the bed and cab configurations are the same. With either model, you can choose these configurations:

  • 6’ bed Access Cab
  • 5’ bed Double Cab
  • 6’ bed Double Cab

There are a few exterior differences between these models:

  • Headlights:
    • SR5: Projector-beam headlights with turn Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated fog lights
    • TRD Sport: Projector-beam headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated wide-angle fog lights
  • Grille:
    • SR5: Charcoal grille with chrome surround
    • TRD Sport: Gray grille with smoked finish
  • Wheels:
    • SR5: 16” styled steel wheels with P245/75R16 tires
    • TRD Sport: 17” machined alloy wheels with P265/65R17 tires (TRD Sport)

The TRD Sport also comes standard with a 120V/400W deck-mounted AC power outlet.

tacoma power outlet

Before we move on to the interior, let’s also look at the available exterior color options.

Both trims can be outfitted in these colors:

  • Black
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Blue Crush Metallic

However, the TRD Sport is also available in these four colors:

  • Lunar Rock
  • Electric Lime
  • Ice Cap
  • Wind Chill Pearl


toyota tacoma interior

When looking at the comfort of the Tacoma SR5 and TRD Sport, we see many similarities:

  • 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
  • Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel
  • Power windows and door locks

However, there are significant differences:

  • Climate controls:
    • SR5: Air conditioning
    • TRD Sport: Front dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter
  • Rearview mirror:
    • SR5: Manual day/night rearview mirror
    • TRD Sport: Auto-dimming day/night rearview mirror
  • Seats:
    • SR5: 4-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support
    • TRD Sport: 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat including 2-way lumbar support

SR5 is also available in the following two interior colors:

  • Cement Gray Fabric
  • Black with Red Accent Stitching Fabric

In comparison, the TRD Sport only comes in Cement Black Fabric.


toyota tacoma multimedia display

Both 2023 Tacoma models are heavily connected and include some of the latest tech features. Here’s what you can find with both trucks:

  • 4.2” color Multi-Information Display (MID)
  • Three USB ports
  • 8” touchscreen display
  • Android Auto™ 
  • Apple CarPlay®
  • Bluetooth®
  • SiriusXM® with a 3-month Platinum Plan trial subscription

The TRD Sport also includes Qi-compatible wireless smartphone and mobile device charging.


When it comes to safety, neither Tacoma model is missing anything important.

First, both trucks include the valuable Star Safety System™, which consists of the following:

  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
  • Traction Control (TRAC)
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist (BA)
  • Smart Stop Technology® (SST) 

The trucks also include Toyota Safety Sense™ P(TSS-P), which features these systems:

  • Pre-Collision System w/Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD)
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Lane Departure Alert
  • Automatic High Beams (AHB)

Furthermore, let us not overlook these standard features with both trucks:

  • Driver and front passenger active headrests
  • Driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
  • Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) with individual tire location alert
  • Driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA)
  • Engine immobilizer


Performance and Capability

With several different configuration options, the new Tacoma offers a variety of performance specs. To start, let’s look at the available engines with both trims.

Engine options: The SR5 can be equipped with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine (159 hp/180 lb-ft) or the 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 hp/265 lb-ft). The 2023 TRD Sport model only comes with the 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 hp/265 lb-ft).

Drivetrain: Both trucks can be equipped with two- or four-wheel drive. They also include the standard 6-speed Electronically Controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). However, you can choose a 6-speed manual transmission with the TRD Sport.

Suspension: Regarding the suspension, both models feature a coil-spring double-wishbone front suspension and stabilizer bar along with a leaf spring rear suspension with staggered outboard-mounted gas shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. However, the TRD Sport also comes with a special sport-tuned suspension. 

Towing capacity: Towing capacities vary based on the trim level, drivetrain, and engine. With the V6 engine, some Tacoma models can tow a maximum of 6,800 pounds, while the four-cylinder only offers enough towing capacity to hit 3,500 pounds. 

Off-Road Performance

You can expect these similarities between these trucks for off-road performance:

  • 9.4 inches of ground clearance
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)

Also, there is one angle difference between the two, which could be crucial while hitting the trails.

  • Approach angle (degrees):
    • SR5: 29
    • TRD Sport: 29
  • Departure angle (degrees):
    • SR5: 23.5
    • TRD Sport: 23.5
  • Breakover angle (degrees):
    • SR5: 24
    • TRD Sport: 21

Both trucks are also available with the same drivetrain options:

  • Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD): includes Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD)
  • 4WDemand: Is a part-time 4WD with an electronically controlled transfer case and Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD)

On-Road Performance

With the sport suspension on the TRD Sport, you may notice that the ride is more comfortable with this trim. However, you can’t equip the TRD Sport with a four-cylinder engine, so it naturally consumes more fuel.

Additionally, towing is made easier with the TRD Sport. This model comes standard with these towing features:

  • Class-IV towing hitch receiver
  • ATF cooler (with the automatic transmission)
  • Engine oil cooler
  • Power steering cooler
  • 130-amp alternator
  • 4- and 7-pin connectors with converter
  • Trailer-Sway Control (TSC) 


Price and Value

The MSRP can vary based on location, but it’s easy to see a comparison between the two 2023 Toyota Tacoma models.

Here are the two starting prices to compare:

  • SR5: $31,375
  • TRD Sport: $36,495

That’s a difference of $5,120 between the two trim levels at the lowest level. Depending on which engine, drivetrain, cab configuration, and truck bed you choose, these values change accordingly. 

Looking back over the styling differences, interior features, tech specs, and performance, I see that Toyota offers a great value with the TRD Sport. 


Available Configurations

With the SR5 model, there are nine possible combinations available to you. Choose from these options:

  • Engine: 2.7L 4-cylinder or 3.5L V6
  • Drivetrain: 2WD or 4WD
  • Cab configuration: Access or Double
  • Truck bed size: 5’ or 6’

The TRD Sport offers eight different combinations. Choose from these options:

  • Engine: 3.5L V6
  • Drivetrain: 2WD or 4WD
  • Cab configuration: Access or Double
  • Truck bed size: 5’ or 6’


Should You Buy the Tacoma SR5 or TRD Sport?

You can’t go wrong with either Tacoma model. Both have plenty of capability and tons of features for your everyday drive. Either one is also suitable for highway or off-road travel when properly equipped.

The decision comes down to what features are important to you. If you prefer the style of the TRD Sport and appreciate the added features, the extra cost will be worth it to you. Otherwise, you may prefer to save your money and go with the SR5.

Keep in mind that there are several other Tacoma trim levels you can choose from. That’s why I recommend hitting your local Toyota dealership to see them all in action before making a decision.

Your Tacoma Awaits

Don’t spend too long deciding because the 2024 Tacoma will be arriving. Sit down and figure out what’s most important to you. Use that list of needs and wants to find the Toyota Tacoma that best fits your lifestyle.

Don’t forget to spend some time customizing the new Toyota truck to match your personality. There are plenty of options that help make the truck uniquely yours. 

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