By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 Toyota Tacoma may be the Japanese automaker's smallest pickup, but it has long since left the realm of the compact courier. The Tacoma is the best selling pickup in its segment and 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 match the Tacoma's long history of reliability and high resale value. Wrapped in muscular, aggressive 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 2009 Toyota 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 New for 2009
All Tacoma trucks are now fitted with Toyota's STAR Safety System that adds anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic traction and stability control. Also standard are front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A new Automatic Limited-slip Differential (Auto-LSD) replaces last year's mechanical model and is standard on all trims except for TRD Off-Road Package-equipped vehicles. Access Cab models receive standard power windows and door locks as well as redesigned rear seat.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 an automatic 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 experience – namely the Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier.Favorite Features
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.