The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and the 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X have long been rivals in the world of off-road trucks. But for 2022, Nissan introduced an all-new Frontier that takes its small truck into the third generation. The 2023 Tacoma is still an older vehicle, but it offers a key advantage over the Japanese pickup. And that’s the availability of a manual transmission.
Will the 2023 Tacoma have a manual transmission?
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma pickup has an available six-speed manual transmission. But it’s worth noting that the standard transmission is limited to TRD models. That shouldn’t be much of a problem, because it means you can get a new Tacoma TRD Pro with hand-shifted.
In the past, the Nissan Frontier offered a six-speed manual transmission. And it could be had in the PRO-4X model. But, with the introduction of the 3.8-liter V6, rowing your own gears is no longer an option. So if you buy a 2023 Frontier, it will only come with an automatic gearbox.
The Toyota Tacoma is a solid 4×4 truck
As an off-road truck, the 2023 Tacoma performs quite well. It has several models that focus on 4×4 capability, but the TRD Pro is by far the most capable. The TRD Pro comes standard with an upgraded suspension and skid plates. That six-speed manual transmission is also standard.
Every 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. And as you’d expect from an off-road truck, four-wheel drive is standard. Unfortunately, the 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X outperforms the Tacoma in terms of horsepower. The new Nissan V6 makes 310 hp.
Both midsize trucks are decent off-roaders
Although the 2023 Frontier has dropped the manual transmission, both the PRO-4X and TRD Pro are ready for off-road work. These 4×4 trucks offer things like electronic locking rear differentials and modern off-road technology to help you handle the road less traveled.
According to motor trend, the new Tacoma TRD Pro starts at more than $45,000. That price makes it more expensive than the Nissan. At the same time, the Nissan Frontier was quite an old pickup before its restyling. So it doesn’t really have the kind of reputation that the Tacoma does.
What midsize trucks still have a manual transmission?
In 2022, only two new trucks come with a manual transmission: the Jeep Gladiator and the Toyota Tacoma. Although that might be disappointing news for enthusiasts, not many people buy new vehicles with standard transmissions.
Although it may not fully reflect the new market, according to CarMax, only 2.4% of their vehicles are sold with a stick shift. And it wouldn’t be surprising if the number of new trucks sold with manual transmissions is even fewer.
Standard transmissions are sought after for sports cars, but in the truck world, most buyers may not find the trade-offs worthwhile. And who knows if the next generation Tacoma will even offer one.