By KBB.com Editors
The 2011 Toyota Tacoma is the best selling compact pickup five years running. While some competitors, such as the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, are bowing out of the compact pickup segment all together, Toyota has expanded is presences by adding five new trims to the Tundra line up. Of course, the term compact doesn't necessarily mean small, as the Toyota dwarfs the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado in every area that counts. It's now more akin to the midsize Dodge Dakota and Nissan Frontier, and not all together much smaller than some full-size regular cab pickups. And, while the Frontier and Dakota are worthy competitors, neither can match the Tacoma's excellent resale value and overall history of reliability.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a capable pickup larger than a Chevrolet Colorado, but not as massive as a Ford F-150, the 2011 Toyota Tacoma deserves your attention. Beyond its cult-like following, many consumer groups rank the Tacoma at the top of their reliability and repair charts.You May Not Like This Car If...
Unlike many crossovers and car-based truck variants, the Tacoma still delivers very truck-like ride and handling characteristics. If you need less off-road ability and more on road comfort, the Honda Ridgeline might make a better choice.What's New for 2011
Five new fuel-efficient models join the Tacoma lineup for 2011, all equipped with the 2.7-liter engine. New trims include the T|X and T|X Pro Package, both based on last year's SEMA concept trucks. New features for 2011 include standard air conditioning on Regular Cab models and satellite radio on all models equipped with the six-disc CD changer.Driving It Driving Impressions
We tested a 2011 Tacoma Double Cab with a long bed and 4.0-liter V6 engine teamed to a five-speed automatic transmission. Our test vehicle was also equipped with four-wheel drive and the SR5 package that included an automatic limited-slip differential. On the highway, our Tacoma rode rather nicely, but it almost seemed out of its element when asked to negotiate city streets. Put the pedal to the floor, however, and the Tacoma's V6 engine roars to life, conveying a refined sort of ruggedness. Still, we couldn't escape the feeling that the Tacoma would be happier hauling or towing something or negotiating rocks in a river rather than running suburban-type errands. To be honest, that's exactly the attitude many buyers require for a truck. However, if you don't count yourself an off-road enthusiast or weekend rock warrior, the SUV-like ride provided by the Honda Ridgeline is probably a better fit.Favorite Features
The optional Eaton-Roots type supercharger kit increases the V6's output to 304 horsepower and 334 lb.-ft. of torque, and carries a five-year/60,000-mile warranty (or the remainder of the powertrain warranty at the time of installation) when installed by a Toyota dealer.
All Tacomas feature a composite inner bed with built-in storage compartments and four rail-mounted sliding tie-down cleats.
The 2011 Toyota Tacoma's roomy interior includes a recessed, three-ring instrument cluster that looks handsome and is easily viewable from the driver's seat no matter what the driver's size. Most, if not all of the controls are easy to reach and adjust, and steering wheel-mounted controls for the radio are available. The Tacoma's firm seats include firm bolstering in key areas and numerous adjustable points to support most body types and sizes. Access Cab models feature a small rear seat area suitable only for short trips. Frequent four-passenger journeys are best suited for the Double Cab, which features big back doors that open wide for easy entry and exit.Exterior
The 2011 Toyota Tacoma combines classic Toyota truck styling with some of the oversized features commonly found on full-size domestic trucks. A new grille and more trims this year expand the Tacoma's wide-ranging personality profile, touting oversized headlamps, chrome or black-out grille treatment and an assortment of wheel and tire packages. As with all Toyota products, the Tacoma's overall fit and finish are impeccable, with tight tolerances between body panels, glossy paint and doors the shut with a solid "thunk". Unique features include a class-first roof-rack system on Double Cab models and integrated bed deck rails that can be used to secure optional accessories, such as the fork-mounted bike rack and diamond-plate storage boxes. The Tacoma's bed features a protective composite bed liner that is both durable and light.Notable Standard Equipment
The two-wheel-drive Tacoma's base four-cylinder engine displaces 2.7 liters. Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with single CD system, anti-lock brakes (ABS), front side-impact and side curtain airbags, traction and stability control, tachometer, two instrument panel powerpoints and rear mudguards. Regular Cab 4x4 models with the automatic transmission feature standard bucket seats. Access Cab X-Runner and Double Cab models include bucket seats with center console, power mirrors, power windows and power door locks.Notable Optional Equipment
Options for the 2011 Tacoma include a 4.0-liter V6, four-wheel drive, JBL audio with Bluetooth connectivity, and the SR5 Packages which adds color-keyed overfenders and front bumper, chrome grille surround and a chrome rear bumper. Double and Access Cabs can be fit with a rear backup camera while transmission upgrades from the base five-speed manual include a four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic and six-speed manual. Optional body configurations include Access Cab and Double Cab models, plus a long bed. Hill-start Assist (HAC) is available on V6 models with automatic transmissions. There are also a myriad of TRD parts available including the Big Brake Package and a supercharger. In addition, a limited run of T|X and T|X Pro Package features can be added to TRD equipped truck. The T|X trim adds 16-inch black bead-lock alloy wheels, black tube side steps and unique exterior graphics. The Pro Package takes it a step further, adding a cat-back custom exhaust.Under the Hood
Both the four-cylinder and the V6 Tacoma engines 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 to get exactly the pickup you want. Maximum towing and payload capacities are 6,500 pounds and 1,535 pounds, respectively.}
2.7-liter in-line 4
159 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
180 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/25 (2WD, manual), 19/25 (2WD, automatic),
18/20 (4WD, manual), 18/21 (4WD, automatic)
236 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 (2WD, manual), 17/21 (2WD, automatic), 14/18 (4WD, manual), 16/20 (4WD, automatic)
The 2011 Toyota Tacoma is available in 20 distinct model configurations with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that ranges from a low of about $17,000 for a two-wheel-drive Regular Cab to more than $32,000 for a nicely-equipped four-wheel-drive long-bed Double Cab model. Although the Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Ranger cost less, neither offers as much power or interior room. The Dodge Dakota can match the Tacoma's size and even offers the option of a V8 engine, but its resale values don't come close to the Tacoma's. 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. When it comes to resale value, Kelley Blue Book expects the four-cylinder base models to retain better-than-average residual values, while the V6 Access Cab and Double Cab models should do even better.