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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
By TCDB on Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Can haul lots of cargo; great off-road capability"
Cons: "No XM; uncomfortable interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"For a vehicle that has been in production for 10 years and is so overdue for replacement it isn't funny, this is the most antiquated and uncomfortable vehicle I have owned in recent memory. The seats grab onto you and hold you and if you are not in a comfortable position, good luck. the driver's knee room is poor - I am an average size person and my left knee is trapped against the arm rest / window control console. It takes this vehicle 25 miles of highway driving in the winter to begin to warm up the cab. The year I bought this vehicle, Toyota took a hiatus from offering XM satellite radio- bad news if you like to be entertained. I have not owned a vehicle for the last 20 years that required a spark plug replacement at 30,000 miles - this is archaic."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Jence on Sunday, December 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "rides nice, reliable, off road capable."
Cons: "seats. towing power, milage...."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Seats are very uncomfortable, especially for trips lasting more than one hour. Towing ability is very inadequate for anything bigger than a small boat or trailer. Mileage is less than ratings, and if you pull anything your milage is going to be 11-12 MPG..."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Post Impressionist on Sunday, November 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Always feel confident"
Cons: "Am sorry there are no more compact trucks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Very much miss my 1997 Tacoma. It was all the truck I needed. Compact, reliable, and never failed. A recall had me make a bed decision and take the money. This 2009 Tacoma is very good. Toyota hasn't changed this truck much which some find continuous but is a testament to not fixing something that isn't broken. 2009 lacks many of the new electronics which I find annoying. It maintains high marks in safety features, drive ability, durability, and intuitive controls. It is a decent size truck. The Tundra and others are just over kill for me. This four wheel truck is ready to go when I am. Living in the North East and being on call, know you can answer is paramount. This truck never failed. Always felt safe."
8 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By John on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This truck, besides the low mileage, is very clean. It has been garage kept. We are moving to a retirement village in Florida and we have no need for a second vehicle. Come and look at it . . .you won't be disappointed."
11 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By Ken on Friday, November 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value,reliability,Looks good"
Cons: "4 cylindar needs more power, blue tooth bad"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I really like the truck, good mileage, looks good, fare value. I have the 4 cylinder 4wd, I would like to have a bit more horse power, the blue tooth isn't the greatest. That's it! So far so good!"
11 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Shanman41 on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Whatever the weather, The Taco will get you there"
Cons: "Not as smooth driving as larger trucks."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The most reliable truck we have ever owned. Just traded in our 2009 Taco for a 2015 Taco. (I know, we could have driven another 100,000 miles) It has been so reliable in the winter here in Des Moines. From blizzard conditions to severe thunderstorms. I generally don't discuss finances but I received a $21,000 trade in allowance with 80,000 miles in our 2009. WOW! This truck is the best investment out there. Taco fan for life. ( or atleast until we grow out of it.)"
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful