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2018 Toyota Tacoma

Starting Price:  $24,670 | Price Yours

Above Average: The mid-sized pickup truck best seller for more than a decade, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma continues with a stellar record for both on- and-off-road performance. It’s available in six trim levels with a variety of grills and over 30 different configurations. We think If you can’t find what you need in this lineup, you are just too darn picky. The Tacoma can pull up to 6,800-pounds when equipped with the V6 Tow Package. Available with rear- or 4-wheel drive and 6-speed automatic or manual transmission, not to mention the Access Cab or the Tacoma Double Cab. Perfect for carrying the motorcycle, surfboards and other adventure gear that the Toyota 4Runner can’t. Conversely, what you can carry in the pickup bed takes the place of the people you can’t carry inside.

Below Average: Sluggish 2.7-liter inline 4-cylinder. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, nor are power seats at any trim level. What the Tacoma claims with its towing and cargo abilities, it gives up in creature comforts inside. Pedal placement might be difficult for taller drivers. No diesel option as seen in Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon. Cramped rear seating area unless ordered as Tacoma Double Cab. Front seating is compromised, with no height adjustment.

Consensus: The 2018 Toyota Tacoma retains its strengths and addresses a few shortcomings. We would opt for the 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6, whose fuel economy rating is almost on par with the smaller 4-cylinder. By truck standards it’s pretty SUV-like, except when opting for larger off-road tires. Crawl control, locking rear differential all worthy options if you like to venture away from the pavement.

Tech options include rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist, pre-collision system, lane departure alert, and blind spot monitoring. Push button start with Smart key, Q wireless charging, tilt and slide moonroof, Entune with full App suite and JBL sound system. Toyota offers to make the Tacoma tougher by its optional TRD Pro Trim package, with available Multi-Terrain and Crawl Control options. 

 

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2018 Toyota 4Runner

Starting Price: $35,655 | Price Yours

Above Average: Body-on-frame SUVs are becoming rarer than hen’s teeth. So, in this case, the 4Runner is akin to the last of the Mohicans, or, at least one of them. The 2018 Toyota 4Runner, capable of carrying 5-or-7 passengers depending on configuration, can handle everything from paved streets and highways to locations the competition can only dream of. Six trim levels. TRD models include 4WD, locking rear differential and multi-terrain select with crawl control. Depending on trim, other drivetrains include (rear) 2WD, part-time 4WD, and full-time 4WD with a limited slip locking center differential. Available TRD Pro Series model adds off-road Nitto Terra Grappler tires, Bilstein shocks, and skidplates.

Below Average: If the destination is more important than the comfort and ride quality in getting there, then the 4Runner is a clear choice. Seven-passenger seating via the available third-row seating. Tow rating of 5,000-pounds may leave owners wishing for more. Ride quality is not quite as good as that found in unibody-style SUVs like the Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia or Nissan Pathfinder, reminding us of the 4Runner’s pickup truck roots. Fuel economy is less impressive than Tacoma, owing to a higher curb weight and five-speed automatic transmission.

Consensus: A fully-capable around town SUV that is at home both on and off-road.

 

The Toyota Tacoma features body-on-frame construction for ultimate towing and cargo-hauling capabilities, while the 4Runner is more like a fully enclosed station wagon to take the family to the cabin 20 miles off the beaten path. Each pair has a purpose, but neither are exactly the right choice for all situations.

Toyota Tacoma Advantages

Up to 6,800-pounds of towing capabilities using the V6 Tow package, and TRD Pro trim level with aftermarket shocks, skidplates and extra ground clearances.

Toyota 4Runner Advantages

The TRD Pro trim level makes this the ultimate off-road Tacoma, with its Fox Shocks, additional ground clearance, and aluminum skidplates, special tires and other equipment. 

Similarities

Imagine that both Toyotas are capable of carrying plenty. While the Tacoma carries cargo in its bed, including motorcycles, surfboards, and maybe even a jet-ski, the 4Runner is capable of carrying up to seven passengers, when properly equipped.

Final Recommendations

If it’s just you and a friend hauling cargo and fun equipment in the cargo bed, then the Tacoma should be your top choice. If directions to the family campsite include such phrases as “continue down dirt road for 20-miles, then turn left and rock crawl down the hill,” we think the Toyota 4Runner would be a perfect vehicle.

 

  2018 Toyota Tacoma 2018 Toyota 4Runner
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.7-Liter Inline 4-cylinder 4.0-liter V6
Horsepower 159 @ 5200 rpm 270-hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque 180 @ 3800 rpm 278 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission Automatic 6-Spd  Automatic, 5-spd Seq Shift
Fuel Economy 21 mpg (19 city, 23 hwy) 18 mpg (17 city, 21 hwy)
Also Available 4-Wheel Drive, 3.5-L V6, 6-Spd Manual 4-Wheel Drive
Specs    
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 3 years or 36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 Stars 4 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 4 passengers 5-7 passengers
Wheelbase 127.4 inches 109.8 inches
Overall Length 212.3 inches 190.7 inches
Width 74.4 inches 75.8 inches
Height 70.6 inches 71.5 inches
Turning Diameter 40.6 feet 38.9 feet
Headroom, Front 39.7 inches 38.6 inches
Headroom, Rear 34.9 inches 38.6 inches
Legroom, Front 42.9 inches 41.7 inches
Legroom, Rear 24.6 inches 32.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.3 inches 57.8 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.5 inches 57.8 inches
EPA Passenger Volume N/A 97.3 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume N/A 89.7 cu. ft.
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