By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
America's best-selling compact pickup just keeps getting better, which is bad news for the competition, but great news for lovers of the 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup. With the Ford Ranger no longer offered, the Tacoma's biggest competitor has been removed from the race, leaving a lot of room for potential new customers. Those who do migrate toward the 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup will find a robust near-mid-size pickup truck with a wide range of trims, engines, cabin configurations and packages. Larger than either the GMC Canyon or the Chevy Colorado, the 2012 Tacoma is more in line with the mid-size Ram Dakota and Nissan Frontier when it comes to dimensions, but there is no comparing the resale and reliability ratings of the three, because the 2012 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup truck runs away with the honors.
If you're looking for a proven pickup that is as capable as it is stylish, the 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup deserves your full attention. Nearly as capable as a full-size pickup, but without the extra bulk or poor fuel economy, the Tacoma offers a wide selection ranging from everyday work truck to rugged off-road adventurer.
The 2012 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup can't tow as much as a full-size V8-powered pickup, and its narrower bed won't hold as much cargo. If you're looking for a smooth, comfortable ride and you don't plan on going off-road, the Honda Ridgeline may be a better choice.
The 2012 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup truck receives new front-end styling, with a new grille and headlight design, some upgraded interior pieces and new audio systems that include USB ports and Bluetooth. Double Cab V6 models receive the most modern audio system that includes Toyota's Entune infotainment, navigation, HD radio, text/email-to-voice and the JBL GreenEdge energy-efficient sound system.
Driving Impressions We spent some time behind the wheel of a 2012 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab long-bed with the 4.0-liter V6 matched to a 5-speed automatic...transmission. Our test vehicle was also equipped with 4-wheel drive and the cool SR5 package that brought a limited-slip differential. We noticed the Tacoma drove well on smooth-surfaced freeways, but it felt rather bulky and clumsy in the tighter confines of city driving. Get the Tacoma out in the open, however, and the driving experience greatly improves. It takes only the slightest push on the Tacoma's gas pedal to bring the V6 to life. 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 errands in suburbia.
The optional Eaton-Roots-type supercharger kit increases the V6's output to 304 horsepower and 334 pound-feet of torque, and carries a 5-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 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup's interior has a modern urban feel, with 2-tone gray or beige plastic panels outfitted with metal-look trim appliqués. The Tacoma's front seats are wide and supportive, but the rear seats in the Access Cab are useful only for short trips. Seating improves greatly in the Double Cab model, which has a full bench seat with adjustable head restraints and under-seat storage. Steering-wheel-mounted controls for the audio and available Bluetooth are a welcome touch, as are the many upgraded audio features available through the Entune infotainment system. Entune is Toyota's answer to Ford's SYNC system and includes a number of popular mobile applications. Just connect your smart phone to the Entune system and either through the vehicle's controls or by voice command, the driver can access real-time traffic and weather, fuel prices, sports, stocks and such popular apps as MovieTickets.com and OpenTable.
The 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup lifts traditional pickup truck features more commonly attributed to full-size trucks and grafts them onto a compact frame to create one very cool truck. The new grille and front-end treatment help the 2012 Toyota Tacoma to remain fresh, and the look works across the line. Choose the base truck and you get a basic work truck with black bumpers and simple wheels. The Pre-Runner displays the look of a rugged off-roader in a rear-drive pickup that costs thousands less than a comparable 4x4, while the X-Runner takes the pickup to a whole new place, with a lowered suspension and available bolt-on supercharger kit. As with everything Toyota builds, the 2012 Tacoma compact pickup's build quality and finish are above reproach. Some of the Tacoma's more notable features include a 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. And, to help keep your truck looking new, a protective composite molded bed liner is standard.
The 2-wheel-drive 2012 Toyota Tacoma's base 4-cylinder engine displaces 2.7 liters. Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with single-disc 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.
Options for the 2012 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup include a 4.0-liter V6, 4-wheel drive, JBL GreenEdge audio with Bluetooth connectivity, Entune infotainment system, and the SR5 Package, that adds color-keyed over-fenders and front bumper, chrome grille surround and a chrome rear bumper. Double and Access Cabs can be fitted with a rearview camera while transmission upgrades from the base 5-speed manual include a 4-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic and 5-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 myriad 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 trucks. 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.
Both the 4-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, 2- or 4-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 @ 5,200 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/25 (2WD, manual), 19/24 (2WD, automatic),
18/20 (4WD, manual), 18/21 (4WD, automatic)
236 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21 (2WD, manual), 17/21 (2WD, automatic), 15/19 (4WD, manual), 16/21 (4WD, automatic)
By Lar on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought the 2014 Toyota Tacoma Sport with long bed 6 months ago. Really like the pickup. Glad we got the long bed, it rides better than the short bed plus more room for hauling. The sport suspension is a little stiff but it corners great. If your looking for a mid-size pickup that you get in start it up and drive, this is the one. Toyota doesn't put a lot of digital touchy stuff on the computer screen like some other auto makers. You just drive and enjoy the Tacoma."
By Richard on Saturday, October 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Everything is excellent"
Cons: "No cons, bought it new two years ago."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Must sell due to financial problems. Excellent condition. New tires. Custom Stereo system. GPS built into dash. V6 great mileage. New batter two weeks ago. Roll top bed cover. Bed liner."
By jim292160 on Friday, October 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 310,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "will run forever"
Cons: "bad fuel milage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned since new 310000 trouble free miles no parts bought except for poor taillight wiring that corrodes easily am on 4th set of brakes and tires still runs as new I am amazed at the durability after my family saw this Toyota is all we buy now this is a honest review the taillights are a sore spot though after paying dealer first time they woudnt repair a second time free of charge so wirenuts and tape fixed it in my backyard a third time"
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Wild Bill on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great quality, reliable, good mpg"
Cons: "paint tends to chip a bit easily (too thin)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I got rid of my noisy and rust-prone '97 Ford Ranger a year and a half ago, and upgraded to a 2005 Tacoma 4 cyl 2wd manual trans access cab pickup w/shell. Best decision I've made in a while. MPG about 25 mpg overall after switching all oils to Amsoil synthetics. Good power and acceleration for a 4 cyl engine. Toyota even did a free recall-type rust inspection of the underside of the pickup last month, found a few minor rust areas (to be expected on a 9 yr old vehicle in Ohio), and applied a non-hardening oil-based undercoating, valued at $1000 (or so they say) for free. Next pickup, probably 5 or 6 yrs away (as I hold my vehicles pretty long) will likely be another Tacoma, except this time with automatic transmission, as they now get as good gas mileage as the manuals do."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Lee on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"> My previous Toy p.up 1987 had 489K miles, and never stranded me once in 22 years. Changed the dynamic balance, water pump, and timing chain at 325K. No other engine work was done, just brakes, tuneups, exhaust components, batteries, and windshield wipers. Best vehicle ever owned. The thing I really like about Toyota i was the confidence it gave me that no matter where I went and no matter how remote I was, I knew It would get me home. What I would I like to see changed?. When it rains, you can't hear yourself think, or the radio. It is loud and annoying. Deaden the sound. First wk.I had the vehicle we had a major thunderstorm. When the rain came, it just poured, and it was so loud, I thought maybe Ithe truck was coming apart or some other major malfunction. It really unnerved me. Now, I'm used to it. On the highway truck drifts alot from the wind gusting. Not like the 87 p.up. Another thing I would like to mention is the idling of my truck. It is set to I believe 6700 rpm, and the truck vibrates and is not comfortable. Toyota dealership I go to says it's set right, but is a vibrating pickup right? I have the 4 cylinder engine., same as I had in my 87 pick up."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By RICK on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great truck to own!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought a 2013 Tacoma. This is the second Tacoma I have owned. The first one was a 2004 and I loved it. In the nine years that I owned it my out of pocket costs were ZERO! I highly recommend this truck!!!!"
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful