The Toyota Tacoma is a perennial favorite among midsize pick-ups. It’s available with different engines, transmissions, cab choices, bed lengths and with two- or four-wheel-drive so you can get the truck you want. Toyota says there are 30 different combinations so whether you want a work truck or capable off-roader, there’s a Tacoma for you.
The 2018 Tacoma is available in six trims: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited and TRD Pro. Starting prices range from $25,200 to $41,520.
The Tacoma was redesigned for the 2016 model year. New for 2018 is the addition of Toyota Safety Sense in all models, which includes technologies such as lane departure alert and pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.
The Tacoma fits four passengers in models with the Access Cab and five passengers in Double Cab models. The bed is either five- or six-feet long and is made of a durable composite material so Toyota says you don’t need a bed liner. When properly equipped, the Tacoma can haul up to 1,620 pounds and tow up to 6,800 pounds.
The Tacoma has two engine choices. The base engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. My tester has the 3.5-liter V6 that makes 278 and 265 pound-feet. Take the V6 if you plan to tow and/or carry large loads. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, while a six-speed manual is available on the V6.
The ride is fairly firm, as you’d expect in a pick-up, but not jarring. The Tacoma feels solid on the highway and even does a decent job as a daily driver. But the automatic transmission can take a little time to find the right gear when you’re accelerating on the freeway. Road and engine noise are noticeable. The pick-up’s relatively small size, as trucks go, makes it fairly easy to drive and park in the city.
Fuel efficiency is below average for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 18 mpg city and 22 mpg highway with a combined rating of 20. I got 20 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is what you’d expect in a pick-up: durable and functional. It’s not plush but materials are decent. Controls are logically laid out. Seats are comfortable and supportive. There’s a fairly high step-up to get in the cab, and the driver’s seat and steering wheel have limited adjustments so it can be challenging to get them in the position that best fits you. Rear legroom in the Double Cab will be fine for kids and average adults but taller passengers may wish for a little more room.
Standard features on all Tacoma models include rearview camera, Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and hardware on the windshield to accommodate a GoPro camera so you can shoot video of your driving adventures.
Available features include proximity key, push-button start, power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, upgraded Entune system with a seven-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, JBL premium sound system, smartphone integration with apps including Pandora and Slacker, and wireless smartphone charging.
The Entune system is user-friendly with its logical menus and clear graphics, and the touchscreen responds quickly to touch and voice commands. There are also redundant knobs and buttons for basic functions, including volume and tuning. But there’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay in Toyota products yet. You have to install the Entune app on your phone if you want to use all of the smartphone features.
New for 2018, all Tacoma models come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense Suite which includes automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection. Optional driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.
In addition to the bed, Access Cab models have fold-up rear seats and under-seat storage. Double Cab models have 60/40 split-rear seats with under-seat storage.
The bed deck features two-tier loading and an integrated deck-rail utility system with four standard adjustable tie-down cleats. The deck rail system is compatible with Genuine Toyota Accessories, including a cargo divider that locks into the rails to help keep cargo from moving, and mini tie-downs with hooks that also help to secure the load. There’s also an available 120V/400W power plug.
Good all-around pick-up that’s also okay as a daily driver
Available in 30 different models so you can get the pick-up you want
User-friendly infotainment system
Lots of standard safety features
Excellent off-roading capability when properly equipped
Fuel efficiency low for the class
Some competitors can tow and haul more
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay not yet available in Toyota products
My tester starts at $34,340. SR5 Parking Sonar and Navigation Package is $775 and includes Entune Premium Audio with navigation and rear parking sonar. Carpet floor mats with door sill protector are $208. D-rings are $55. Alloy wheel locks are $80. Delivery fee is $995 bringing the grand total to $36,453.
If you’re shopping for a good all-around midsize pick-up, the Toyota Tacoma should be on your short list with its wide range of prices and features.