By KBB.com Editors
The Tacoma may be Toyota's smallest pickup, but it has long since left the realm of the compact courier. Fresh from a complete makeover last year, the Tacoma now dwarfs the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado in every area that counts. Its closest competitors are now the Dodge Dakota and Nissan Frontier and, while worthy opponents, neither can touch the Tacoma's long history of reliability and high resale value. Wrapped in muscular new sheetmetal and touting the most powerful V6 engine ever to grace a small Toyota, the Tacoma has much to offer those who take their pickup trucks seriously.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a capable pickup larger than a Ford Ranger, but not as massive as a Dodge Ram, look into the Tacoma. When it comes to reliability in this segment, many organizations rank it at the top of its class.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you've driven the Honda Ridgeline or Nissan Frontier and were impressed by their car-like ride and handling, you might be disappointed that the Tacoma still drives very much like a truck.What's Significant About This Car?
The Tacoma receives larger front seats and a two-tone instrument panel featuring new audio head units. Drivers can now switch off the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) on models so equipped.Driving It Driving Impressions
The Tacoma we tested was a Double Cab, long-bed model equipped with a V6, four-wheel drive, five-speed automatic transmission and the SR5 package that includes a limited-slip differential. Put the pedal to the floor and you can feel and hear the powerful V6 working, conveying a refined sort of ruggedness. On the highway, our Tacoma rode rather nicely, but it almost seemed out of its element negotiating city streets.
In general, the Tacoma always felt like it'd be happier hauling or towing something or negotiating rocks in a river. On one hand, that's exactly the attitude many buyers will require for a truck. On the other hand, the Tacoma's competition includes some other very capable trucks that offer a more "car-like" daily driving experiencenamely the Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier.
The Tacoma's six-speed manual transmission helps take full advantage of the available 236-horsepower V6.
All Tacomas feature a composite inner bed with built-in storage compartments and four rail-mounted sliding tie-down cleats.
Getting into and out of the Tacoma is easy, and the new seats are designed with pleasant bolstering and adjustability to fit most body types and sizes. A recessed, three-ring instrument cluster looks handsome and is in clear view. Most, if not all of the controls are easy to reach and adjust, and steering wheel-mounted controls for the radio are available. Overall, the midsize Tacoma feels very roomy. On the Double Cab, the big back doors open up to a back seat as roomy as that in many small sedans.Exterior
The Tacoma's newest look succeeds by blending classic Toyota truck styling with the larger body panels of some domestic trucks. Oversized headlamps and a wide trapezoidal grille dominate the Tacoma's assertive-looking exterior. At a glance, the Tacoma might be mistaken for a domestic truck. The overall exterior of the Tacoma is well done, and an impeccable level of fit and finish is a known characteristic of Toyota products. Double Cab models offer a class-first roof-rack system that attaches to the roof rails.Notable Standard Equipment
The two-wheel-drive Tacoma's base four-cylinder engine displaces 2.7 liters. Other standard equipment includes an AM/FM CD sound system, anti-lock brakes (ABS), tachometer, two instrument panel powerpoints and rear mudguards. The Tacoma also includes a versatile composite inner bed that's 10-percent lighter than steel, much more durable and won't rust in the bargain.Notable Optional Equipment
The powerplant upgrade is a revised 4.0-liter V6. Transmission upgrades from the base five-speed manual include a four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic and six-speed manual. Four-wheel drive is also available. Optional body configurations include Access Cab and Double Cab models, plus a long bed.Under the Hood
Both of the Tacoma's engines, the four-cylinder and the V6, feature Toyota's VVT-i technology (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) that minimizes the compromise between low-end torque and peak horsepower. Combined with a choice of four available transmissions, two- or four-wheel drive, three cab styles and more, Toyota makes it easy (or difficult, depending upon your viewpoint) to get exactly the pickup you want. Maximum towing and payload capacities are 3,500 pounds and 1,350 pounds respectively.
2.7-liter in-line 4
159 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
180 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 (2WD manual), 21/27 (2WD automatic),
19/23 (4WD manual)
236 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 (2WD manual), 16/20 (4WD manual),
19/22 (2WD automatic), 18/21 (4WD automatic)
The Toyota Tacoma is available in 18 distinct model configurations starting at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $14,725 for a two-wheel-drive Regular Cab, and stretching to more than $30,000 for a four-wheel-drive long-bed Double Cab model. A look at the Fair Purchase Price will show you the typical transaction price paid for the Tacoma in your area, so be sure to check it out before you begin negotiations. Toyotas are known for their legendary ability to retain value, and the Tacoma is no exception. Kelley Blue Book expects the four-cylinder base models to retain between 63 and 66 percent of their value in the first 24 months, while the V6 Access Cab and Double Cab models do even better.