SEATTLE — The Tacoma pickup line of trucks is one of the most reliable and useful midsize trucks available. It’s long pedigree of being a capable truck for most household chores, along with Toyota reliability has helped it gain a loyal fan base. Even though not a great deal has changed in its lifespan, there is still has a lot going for it. The 2018 model year continues the design language of 2015 and that hasn’t slowed down sales in the least. In fact, it sells well over 200,000 units per year — in a market of souring sedan sales, that’s a nice number for Toyota.
Built on a steel frame, the Tacoma has a solid rigidity to it that makes it feel very sturdy during heavy hauling or flexing its suspension while off-roading. Sure, it rides like a truck while going down the freeway but there’s a certain honesty in that and frankly, it’s something we enjoy. The Tacoma is not pretentious, not a jaw-dropper, not merely a pavement princess. In fact, it’s exactly the kind of truck that you will want to take off-road and perhaps get a few, light, “battle scars” in the paint and not care.
What lies beneath:
Under the hood, we find a 3.5 liter V6 engine with a rated output of 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a rated towing capacity of 6,400 pounds. The EPA provides a fuel economy rating of 18 around town and up to 22 on the highway. While we’d love to see that gain some improvements in future models, it’s still not bad for a vehicle that tips the scales at just over 4,300 pounds. Underneath, this TRD Off-Road has some upgrades such as a factory installed skid-plate, locking rear-wheel differential and a handy crawl mode for off-roading. Crawl mode allows the truck to take over acceleration and braking for easy navigation of more difficult descents.
Spacious inside but there’s a catch:
Inside, the Tacoma still feels as if it’s stuck in a bit of a time-warp. It simply doesn’t “feel” completely modern, as if it’s still so 2-3 years ago. While that’s not completely terrible, it does feel just a touch dated. However, there are most of the modern conveniences we desire in play. On-board navigation, a decent-sounding infotainment system with JBL speakers. CD/MP3/AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth audio are all here. The touchscreen is a bit on the small side but nonetheless, it’s still very functional and easy to use. While there’s ample room for four adults in this crew-cab pick-up, it’s the head-height I had a bit of an issue with. At almost 6-ft tall, it kind of felt as if the roof wasn’t high enough; as if it were closing in on me a bit. Granted, I had a few inches of clearance, but the way the seats are set, with no height adjustments, made it feel on the cramped side. Outside of that, the seats are comfortable and I had no issues with their body support. It’s easy to see why the Tacoma has done well for Toyota. Starting at around $25,000, our TRD Off-road test model has a sticker of $41,387 as optioned out. You can clearly see there’s quite a price delta between the base model and our test truck. It even goes higher with the TRD Pro.
There’s no question that if you’re looking for a midsize pick-up, then make sure to checkout the Tacoma. There’s enough variances in the models to have something for nearly everyone who’d be shopping for a truck in the first place. It has good power, excellent off-road capability with the right tires. Lastly, it is still comfortable enough to be a daily driver or even for longer journeys, as well. Find out more at: www.toyota.com