New 2018
Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Pickup

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

America’s best-selling midsize pickup for more than a decade, the comfortable and capable 2018 Toyota Tacoma has been improved with new standard safety technology, including a Pre-Collision system and Lane Departure Alert. Available in six trim levels and over 30 configurations, the new Toyota Tacoma enjoys a stellar reputation for excellent durability and reliability as well as on- and off-road performance. Two engines are available starting with a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder that makes 159 horsepower. We recommend the 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, which can be paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. And when equipped with an optional V6 Tow Package, the Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds. Competitors include the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as the Nissan Frontier.

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You'll Like This Pickup If...

Few vehicles are as versatile or as personally customizable as the 2018 Toyota Tacoma. With six trim levels and over 30 configurations available, there’s a new Tacoma to fit any budget, any want and any need. If you’re looking for a reliable work truck, a capable surf wagon, a durable dirt-bike hauler, a comfortable daily driver or an ultimate off-road adventure vehicle, you’ll like the 2018 Tacoma.

You May Not Like This Pickup If...

Both the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon offer a diesel engine, which the Tacoma does not. Both also offer superior interior comfort to the Toyota as well as onboard Wi-Fi. Also, if your needs include full-size loads or large-scale towing, you’ll reach the Tacoma’s limits quickly and should consider a full-size truck like the Toyota Tundra.

What's New for 2018

For 2018 all Tacoma models gain Toyota Safety Sense electronic driver aids as standard equipment. It includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Most trim levels also get a new and distinct grille treatment. The 5-speed manual transmission is no longer available.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

In most driving environments and situations, the Tacoma’s 159-horsepower 2.7-liter engine is powerful enough, but climbing grades with a full load in the bed will require some planning and probably full throttle. Plus, the 4-cylinder can get a little rowdy when you rev it out. This is also easily fixed by choosing the 3.5-liter V6. This engine makes 278 horsepower and significantly improves the capability of the 2018 Tacoma, and it makes the Toyota a more enjoyable pickup to drive. The 6-speed automatic transmission isn’t exactly state of the art, but it works well with both engines. The V6 and 6-speed manual combination is rewarding to drive. Seating is comfortable and overall visibility is excellent; however, the Tacoma’s pedal and steering-wheel placement may be an issue for shoppers with long legs. The Tacoma also rides well, with less chop than you might expect from a small pickup.

Favorite Features

PRE-COLLISION SYSTEM
This clever system, which is also found on Toyota’s sedans as well as Lexus cars and SUVs, scans the road ahead for obstacles including other vehicles and pedestrians. When a possible collision is detected it will warn you, but if you do not take action to avoid the accident, the system will apply the truck’s brakes for you.

TRD Pro
The TRD Pro is the ultimate off-road-capable Tacoma. It’s also the most expensive at about $43,000, but its unique list of specialized hardware is worth it. These trucks get Fox shocks, additional ground clearance and thick aluminum skidplates, as well as special tires and other equipment and trim. The Tacoma TRD Pro and the Chevy Colorado ZR2 are the elite off-road machines in this class.

Vehicle Details

Interior

As is Toyota's tradition, assembly quality is excellent. The 2018 Tacoma interior uses high-quality materials on the doors, dash, seats and everywhere else. Overall the Chevy Colorado’s interior is more car-like and it’s quieter, but the dynamic design of the Tacoma’s dash and controls is more interesting. It gets push-button start, and the handy multi-information display between the main gauges displays fuel economy, outside temperature and even off-road info such as trail mode or angle of the Tacoma on a steep hill. The new Tacoma also comes with a new version of Entune, the connectivity and entertainment-control center, and Qi wireless charging. However, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't available on any model. Neither are power seats.

Exterior

Now in its third generation, the Toyota Tacoma was redesigned extensively in 2015 and it still looks fresh. Designed and built in the United States, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma looks rugged and carries the kind of swagger most pickup truck buyers appreciate. But it’s no wallflower, and it certainly isn’t old school. There are modern cues, such as LED daytime running lights, and the separate models -- SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Pro and Limited -- each get different front-end styling, making it easy to tell which is which at a glance. Our Tacoma TRD Pro drew a crowd at gas stations and thumbs-up from other truck enthusiasts.

Notable Standard Equipment

For 2018 the Tacoma offers Toyota Safety Sense electronic driver aids as standard equipment. It includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. A rearview camera, a basic version of Entune connectivity, an automatic limited-slip differential, eight airbags, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a lockable tailgate, 16-inch wheels and adjustable tie-down cleats in the bed are also standard. The standard engine is a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder powering the rear wheels. Interestingly, the Tacoma uses old-school drum brakes in the rear, and power seats are not available, even in high-end models. On the other hand, the standard GoPro camera mount is as 21st-  century as it gets.

Notable Optional Equipment

Options for the new 2018 Toyota Tacoma roughly divide into features that make it more rugged and tough, and those that bump up technology and refinement. There's the TRD Pro trim level, of course, but beyond that on the tough-truck side of the list are Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control, and a hard tonneau cover. On the technology side the Tacoma offers rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking assist and blind-spot monitoring. Making life more comfortable is push-button start with Smart Key, Qi wireless charging, tilt-and-slide moonroof, heated leather seats, Entune with a full App suite, and a JBL sound system.

Under the Hood

The base engine in the 2018 Toyota Tacoma is a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder that's been part of the Tacoma lineup pretty much forever. It powers the rear wheels (2WD) or all four wheels (4WD) through a 6-speed automatic. But we suggest skipping it for the 3.5-liter V6. The bigger engine offers nearly 120 more horsepower (278 vs. 159) but gets nearly the same fuel economy and doesn't cost much more. It's also available with a 6-speed automatic, and 4WD models can opt for a 6-speed manual, too.

2.7-liter inline-4
159 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23 mpg (2WD, automatic), 19/22 mpg (4WD, automatic)

3.5-liter V6
278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
265 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, est.: 19/24 mpg (2WD, automatic), 18/23 mpg (4WD, automatic), 17/21 mpg (4WD, manual), 17/20 mpg (4WD, manual, Double Cab)

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Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2018 Toyota Tacoma is all over the place, thanks to the variety of cab, bed, engine and drivetrain choices. Put simply, the least expensive model is an SR trim 4-cylinder Double Cab with 2-wheel drive, starting about $27,000 when the $995 destination charge is included. On the other end of the scale is the Tacoma 4x4 TRD Pro Double Cab with the automatic transmission, which starts around $45,500. You can mix and match to just about anything in between, but for what it's worth the prices start higher than a Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon, but the new Tacoma comes with a lot of standard equipment. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price calculator to see what people are paying in your area for the Tacoma, and note that resale value is just another one of this truck's many strengths.

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