Is there anything better than a weekend off-roading with friends behind the wheel of one of the best-selling trucks of the past few years? Probably not if you live and breathe the thrill of adventure and the feel of power as you grip the steering wheel. The Toyota Tacoma has been an off-roading fan favorite for over a quarter of a century. It doesn’t take long to understand why when you compare the 2023 Toyota Tacoma vs 2023 Honda Ridgeline. This is especially true when you consider that off-roading requires a certain skill set that is only improved upon by Toyota’s reliability and responsive handling.
As more and more people strive for a better work/life balance, they’re finding what they need outside, and it makes sense. Getting away from the daily stressors is a must to reset and avoid burnout. It also promotes self-care and decreases burnout. Plus, connecting with friends and family can increase your overall health and well-being. If you’re convinced that you need more balance in your life or are shopping for an off-road vehicle that will get you through even the toughest terrains, continue reading to learn more about how the 2023 Toyota Tacoma and the 2023 Honda Ridgeline compete against one another when it comes to exploring the path less traveled.
A Closer Look at Performance
Both models offer an available 3.5L V6 engine that produces almost equal horsepower, with the Tacoma inching out the Ridgeline when it comes to torque. It’s also worth noting that the Ridgeline offers the 3.5L as its sole engine choice, while the Tacoma gives you an additional option in the form of the standard 2.7L I-4 engine for those needing more performance options to choose from.
With the V6 engine on the Tacoma, you get 265 lb-ft of torque, while the Ridgeline can produce 262 lb-ft. The Tacoma can also tow more than the Honda, and those numbers are much farther apart. The maximum towing capacity of the 2023 Tacoma is 6,800 lbs, with a maximum payload capacity of 1,685. For the Ridgeline, your towing capacity is 5,000 lbs and 1,583 lbs for payload.
You also get more choices when opting for the Toyota Tacoma. For instance, the Tacoma is available in seven trims, besting the Ridgeline by three. You can also choose from a Double Cab or Access Cab when choosing the Tacoma, while the Honda truck only has the Double Cab option. Additionally, the Tacoma has a five or six-foot bed. Compared to the 5.3-foot bed on the Ridgeline, the Tacoma gives you an option for more cargo room, which is essential for hauling everything you need during your outdoor adventures.
Continuing with performance, the scales tip in the 2023 Toyota Tacoma’s favor. While the 2023 Honda Ridgeline gives you an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, the Tacoma again gives you options that help you feel like you’re truly able to customize your experience. Many die-hard enthusiasts want to feel the gears shifting and be in control, which is exactly why Toyota gives you the choice of a manual or automatic transmission. Toyota also provides a dynamic high-low transfer case on its available four-wheel drive. You can also improve your performance by choosing locking differentials and all-terrain tires, neither of which are available on the 2023 Honda Ridgeline.
Last but not least, when it comes to performance, the Toyota Tacoma’s body-on-frame truck offers superior handling and a smooth ride, as well as increased strength that you can feel while driving on any terrain. Meanwhile, the Ridgeline is built on a unibody frame that can’t quite stack up to Toyota’s strength.
Examining Off-Road Capabilities
When taking your truck off-road, you need to trust that it can keep up with whatever or wherever the road takes you. After all, trucks are about exploration and leaving it all behind. You can’t do that if you don’t trust the process, which means you need to be confident in the truck you drive. The first thing to consider is how your truck responds when shifting from the highway to the road less traveled. In other words, what drive modes are available with the 2023 Toyota Tacoma and the 2023 Honda Ridgeline?
Across the board, the Ridgeline offers Intelligent Traction Management with three options. Those options are Snow, Sand, and Mud. On the Tacoma side, you get a Multi-Terrain Select system that provides you with an answer for every terrain you might face. This 2023 Toyota Tacoma system, as well as other drive modes, is outlined below.
Mud & Sand
This mode allows you to conquer more slippery roads and trails that are covered with everything from sand, mud, and the often challenging snow; basically, any slippery or dirty road conditions.
As the name suggests, this mode is more tailored to handling anything you may encounter when venturing off the pavement, most notably terrain that includes mixtures of earth and loose rock.
A simple mode that specifically focuses on bumpy road conditions you may encounter on dirt roads and trails.
Rock & Dirt
Designed for bumpier road conditions involving rocky roads.
This mode is specifically made for traversing over rocky terrain.
The 2023 Toyota Tacoma Crawl Control is designed to improve traction control, responsiveness, and stability while tackling new terrains. This system is always paired with Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select unless you choose a manual transmission that doesn’t offer it. When you activate this system, you gain maneuverability for a variety of terrain settings, from slow-speed hill-climb to downhill control and more.
Comparing Ground Clearance and Additional Enhancements
When off-roading, it’s essential also to consider ground clearance. With the 2023 Toyota Tacoma, you get 9.4 inches of clearance, while the 2023 Honda Ridgeline offers 7.6 inches. Additionally, Toyota enhances your off-road experience by offering a Multi-Terrain Monitor that lets you watch for possible obstacles on the 7 or 8-inch touchscreen, depending on the trim you choose. Simply push a button to get a variety of angles from all sides of the truck. While Honda has announced it will offer a similar option on the Ridgeline in future models, it isn’t available for the 2023 version.
So Which Truck Wins This Off-Roading Competition?
When you look at what each truck offers for off-roading, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma takes the lead thanks to its increased towing abilities, terrain management system, and overall versatility. That being said, they’re similar regarding warranty coverage, with each offering a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Additionally, you’ll be happy to know that both trucks also offer two years of free maintenance or 25,000 miles for the Tacoma and 24,000 miles for the Ridgeline. They also score high in the J.D. Power ratings with their reliability.
Choosing between the two might be a toss-up, but consider why you wanted a truck in the first place. If the answer is to get out and enjoy some adventure in your downtime, the Tacoma eases you into the off-roading life with increased confidence thanks to its attention to detail when it comes to hitting the trails. If you’re a truck driver that yearns to head into the wilderness and enjoy the company of Mother Nature, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma is here to be your next faithful travel companion for exploring the unknown.