Even though the mid-size pickup truck segment is currently short on options, the Toyota Tacoma still is a solid choice. The Tacoma has been a pillar of the segment across three decades, even when the Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon were all competing for mid-size pickup dollars.
Today the Tacoma only has to worry about the Nissan Frontier, but with Toyota's legendary reliability and versatility - not to mention some of the highest resale values in the industry — it's easy to see why the Tacoma is so popular.
A tight turning radius and nimble handling make the Tacoma easy for anyone to drive and more appealing than some full-size pickup truck offerings. With its hydraulic-assisted steering system, the Tacoma is responsive, predictable, and is easy to maneuver through a congested parking lot. A reinforced ladder frame, available locking rear differential and off-road suspension help navigate all sorts of terrain. In the event of an emergency stop, the Tacoma's brakes bite down quickly and are easy to regulate.
If you tow often, the Tacoma can handle more than some full-size truck offerings without draining your wallet. The Tacoma's cargo bed is as flexible as they come and offers features like tie-downs and a composite liner. According to our 5-Year Cost to Own study, a new 2014 Toyota Tacoma regular cab will cost you $34,281 over half a decade when everything is accounted for. The Tacoma Double Cab PreRunner comes in right behind at $35,190 over five years while the 2014 Tacoma Access Cab takes third place with a grand total of $35,889 spent over the course of five years.
Although the field is small, the Nissan Frontier is no slouch and can carry its weight in weekend projects and fun.