For the past decade, most stock Toyota Tacoma trucks, except for the Limited trim, come out of the factory either with a 16-inch or a 17-inch wheel. Today, many 2nd and 3rd-generation "Taco" owners still argue about which wheel size is better for their mid-size Toyota truck.
If you're also trying to decide which wheel size will suit your Tacoma better, we've done the research for your convenience.
If you use your Tacoma often for heavy hauling, towing, and challenging off-road adventures, then 16-inch wheels are slightly better.
On the other hand, 17-inch wheels may give you more benefits for highway cruising or city driving.
At the end of the day, your performance requirements and personal aesthetic preferences will be your best criteria.
Would you like to know more about the pros and cons of Tacoma's different wheel options? Do read on, because we've also added some sections about some possible wheel-and-tire combinations for this popular mid-size truck.
16 VS 17 Inch Wheels Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most popular mid-size trucks in the U.S. for the past few decades.
Due to the large customer base, "Taco" owners have banded together in both online and offline communities to discuss and share tips about their rides and activities.
One of their often-discussed comparisons is about the Taco's wheel-and-tire setup.
With regard to wheel (or rim) size, many stock Tacoma owners debate whether the 16-inch wheel or the 17-inch wheel is a better fit for their trucks.
Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and we will discuss them in the following sections.
Tacoma 17 Inch Wheels
Some members of Tacoma groups generally prefer the 17-inch wheel option over the 16-inch option. Whether the Tacoma is in stock or modified configuration, 17-inch wheels give the truck more visual appeal, especially when you use highway tires that have modest tread patterns.
Holding overall tire diameter as a constant, 17-inch wheels can provide better on-road handling than smaller rims can. Most 17-inch wheels are wider than 16-inch wheels, and this allows you to fit wider tires.
Wider tires, in turn, provide more traction and stability over narrow ones, especially on slippery roads and during highway cruising.
Larger wheels also decrease the tire wall's height, again assuming that the overall tire diameter remains constant. Smaller tire walls translate to less sidewall flex, making the Tacoma's steering more responsive, especially on curvy roads.
Another advantage of the 17-inch wheels is the capability to fit larger brake assemblies. You may be able to upgrade to slightly larger brake rotors and/or calipers to provide you with more stopping power for your truck.
Finally, 17-inch wheel fans suggest that tire manufacturers offer a lot more tire sizes and designs for this specific wheel size compared to the available tire options for 16-inch rims.
Some truck enthusiasts claim that 17-inch wheels are more "future-proof", considering that truck manufacturers have slowly phased out 14-inch and 15-inch wheels over the years.
Are 16 or 17 Inch Wheels Better For Off Road?
On the other hand, utility-focused, overlanding, or off-roading Tacoma owners prefer to stick to the smaller, 16-inch wheels for their trucks.
Aesthetically speaking, there may be fewer Taco owners who like the appearance of 16-inch wheels over 17-inchers.
Nevertheless, some people still prefer to see their trucks sitting on more tire rubber than steel wheels, especially when the tires have aggressive tread patterns.
For Taco owners who haul and tow heavy loads, the slightly larger tire sidewalls of tires wrapped around 16s will give the truck more load-carrying capability than tires of the same overall diameter but wrapped around 17s.
Many Tacoma trail lovers, overlanders, and off-roaders also prefer using 16-inch wheels to get more sidewall flex from tires that can fit inside the truck's wheel wells.
Taller sidewalls flex more than shorter ones, thus making the former more comfortable in general - be it on the highway, a dirt road, or a rocky trail.
Moreover, when airing down tires for more aggressive activities like rock crawling, a bigger sidewall helps ensure that your tires - and not your rims - will be clawing against rocks and boulders for traction.
Price-wise, tires for smaller wheels are generally cheaper than those meant for bigger wheels.
Although low-profile (short sidewall) tires have less rubber material, they have more advanced (hence more expensive) construction than higher-profile (tall sidewall) tires.
16 VS 17 Inch Truck Wheels
The current-generation Tacoma's stock 16-inch wheels have the 7J x 16 ET25 specification - meaning that each wheel has a width of 7 inches, a diameter of 16 inches, and an offset of 25mm.
In summary, 16-inch wheels allow you to fit more affordable, comfortable, and higher load-bearing tires that are also better for frequent off-roading.
On the other hand, the Tacoma's stock 17-inch option has the 7.5J x 17 ET30 specification, meaning that it is bigger, wider, and has a more positive offset.
The 17-inch wheel will allow you to choose from more available tire brands and models that give better highway traction and handling, and aesthetic appeal, at a higher price point.
So which wheel size is better? If you use your Tacoma more often for hauling, towing, or off-road activities, then you're better off with the 16s.
If you drive your Taco more on highways and city streets, and you don't mind forking out a few extra dollars, then 17s will be more suitable for you.
What Are The Biggest Tires You Can Put On A Stock Tacoma?
Now that we've discussed the pros and cons of two of the Tacoma's available wheel options, let's dive a bit more into the tires that go along with them.
Many Tacoma enthusiasts like to upsize their stock tires with little to no modifications needed, i.e. trimming, lifting, torsion bar adjustments, etc.
Here are the stock tire sizes of the 2023 Tacoma.
- 245/75/R16 - 30.5 inches overall diameter, 9.6 inches tread width, 7.2 inches sidewall height, 16 inches wheel diameter, 23 to 27 mm wheel offset range
- 265/70/R16 - 30.6 inches overall diameter, 10.4 inches tread width, 7.3 inches sidewall height, 16 inches wheel diameter, 23 to 27 mm wheel offset range
- 265/65/R17 - 30.6 inches overall diameter, 10.4 inches tread width, 6.8 inches sidewall height, 17 inches wheel diameter, 28 to 32 mm wheel offset range
- 265/60/R18 - 30.5 inches overall diameter, 10.4 inches tread width, 6.3 inches sidewall height, 18 inches wheel diameter, 28 to 32 mm wheel offset range
Based on the current-generation Tacoma's wheel well clearance and stock wheel offset, you can fit tires with a maximum diameter of 32.2 inches and maximum tire width of 10.83 inches (275 millimeters).
For 16" Wheels
The SR, SR5, Trail Special Edition, TRD Pro, and TRD Off-Road trims come with 16-inch wheels as standard. You can try the following tire size specifications for upsizing.
- 265/75/R16 - 31.6 inches overall diameter, 10.4 inches tread width, 7.8 inches sidewall height
- 275/75/R16 - 32.2 inches overall diameter, 10.8 inches tread width, 8.1 inches sidewall height
For 17" Wheels
The TRD Sport trim comes with 17-inch wheels and 265/65/R17 tires straight out of the dealership. You may fit the following larger tire sizes.
- 265/70/R17 - 31.6 inches overall diameter, 10.4 inches tread width, 7.3 inches sidewall height
- 275/70/R17 - 32.2 inches overall diameter, 10.8 inches tread width, 7.6 inches sidewall height
For 18" Wheels
The Toyota Tacoma Limited trim comes with stock 18-inch wheels. You can upsize to the following tire size specifications:
- 265/65/R18 - 31.6 inches overall diameter, 10.4 inches tread width, 6.8 inches sidewall height
- 275/65/R18 - 32.1 inches overall diameter, 10.8 inches tread width, 7 inches sidewall height
Why Do People Love Tacomas?
The Toyota Tacoma has been America's mid-size truck sales leader since 2002. The Taco's popularity comes from a combination of its size, utility, reliability, and resale value.
In its stock form, the Tacoma is maneuverable enough to drive comfortably both on city streets and highways. Despite its relatively small size, however, the Taco does not lack in power to tow, haul, and brave some challenging off-road trails.
Tacoma owners also love the truck's reliability and impressive resale value. In fact, J.D. Power gave the 2022 Toyota Tacoma an amazing resale value score of 98 out of 100.
How Much Is A Brand New Toyota Tacoma Going For?
As of the first quarter of 2023, Toyota USA offers the Tacoma in seven different trims, from the entry-level SR to the range-topping TRD Pro grade.
Depending on the trim level, the Tacoma also comes with two different engine options.
The 2.7-liter, 4-cylinder DOHC VVT-i gasoline engine can put out 159 h.p. and 180 lb.-ft. of torque, while the 3.5-liter V6 DOHC VVT-i gasoline option can deliver 278 h.p. and 265 lb.-ft. of torque.
Almost all 2023 Tacomas come standard with a 6-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission, except for some TRD trims that offer a 6-speed manual transmission option.
Moreover, depending on the trim, you can choose your preferred drivetrain, (4x2 and 4x4), bed type (5 feet and 6 feet), and cabin type (access and double).
Here are the starting prices of each of the 2023 Tacoma's trims:
- SR - $ 27,750
- SR5 - $ 29,540
- TRD Sport - $ 34,660
- TRD Off-Road - $ 35,940
- Trail Special Edition - $ 40,970
- Limited - $ 40,505
- TRD Pro - $ 47,185
These Tacoma prices are accurate as of March 2023.
The choice between the Tacoma's 16-inch and 17-inch wheels depends largely on the practical and aesthetic considerations of the truck's owner. Each rim size has its pros and cons, depending on the type of driving activity.
The smaller, 16-inch wheels will generally provide more utility and off-road capability. The 17-inch set, in turn, will generally deliver better on-road handling and opens up more options for brake upgrades.
Aesthetically, some truck owners like to see more rubber, and some like to see more metal.
Thank you very much for reading. We hope that we were able to give you a better perspective on the pros and cons of the different wheel sizes that you can fit in a Toyota Tacoma.
For more interesting reads about trucks, wheel and tire sizes, and other automotive topics, you may also check out these great articles below.