2009 Toyota Tacoma Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
An impressive automatic transmission and capable off road handling help the Tacoma earn good reviews for its performance, but a rough suspension and merely adequate on-road handling keep it from being perfect. Most reviews recommend that buyers with towing or hauling to do choose the V6 engine and automatic transmission. Off-road enthusiasts should find plenty to like about the Tacoma, while buyers who are new to the truck market may find the Tacoma's on-road ride a little rough.
- "It excels in off-road situations and is reasonably comfortable on the street." -- Edmunds
- "In general, the Tacoma always felt like it'd be happier hauling or towing something or negotiating rocks in a river. On one hand, that's exactly the attitude many buyers will require for a truck. On the other hand, the Tacoma's competition includes some other very capable trucks that offer a more "car-like" daily driving experience - namely the Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "This is plenty of truck for 95 percent of truck buyers, everyone who isn't hauling plywood or pulling 40-foot goosenecks." -- Car and Driver.
Acceleration and Power
In the past, reviewers paid little attention to the Tacoma's 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. However, with consumers skittish about fluctuating gas prices, a few reviewers say the four-cylinder makes sense. For buyers putting power before fuel economy, reviewers recommend the 4.0 liter V6 engine, which makes 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed manual is available. Most critics, however, recommend the smooth four or five-speed automatic transmissions. Reviews report that fuel economy is average for the class.
- "In this time of rising gas prices, the four-cylinder engine we once dismissed as simply "adequate" doesn't look that bad anymore. Its acceleration won't blow you away, and don't count on towing anything, but for a work truck, it makes sense. However, the V6 is a strong all-around performer, with plenty of pull down low and a willingness (albeit a somewhat noisy one) to spin into the upper rev ranges." -- Edmunds
- "Put the pedal to the floor and you can feel and hear the powerful V6 working, conveying a refined sort of ruggedness." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The automatic transmission shifts smoothly and downshifts quickly for passing." -- Consumer Guide
Handling and Braking
Most reviews say that the Tacoma handles fine on road, but the ride can be rougher than some might like. However, the same components that make the ride somewhat rough on road make the Tacoma ruggedly capable off-road, according to most reviewers. Many experts are also pleased with the truck's hauling and towing capacities.
- "In terms of handling, the 2009 Toyota Tacoma feels like a true truck from behind the wheel. It excels in off-road situations and is reasonably comfortable on the street. But depending on how it's equipped and whether it's carrying a load or not, the Tacoma can seem skittish or bouncy at times." -- Edmunds
- "The most carlike of all the compact pickups, the Tacoma drives surprisingly smoothly for its truck guts." -- Car and Driver
- "Most models are fairly controlled and comfortable for compact pickups, but the optional TRD Off-Road suspension makes the ride bouncy and stiff. X-Runner's sport suspension and low-profile tires annoy less, but try before you buy. Among models made available for testing, X-Runner has almost sporty-car moves, with little body lean in fast corners and strong brakes. PreRunners and 4WD Tacomas exhibit comparatively more body lean and less braking prowess, but are easily on par with class rivals." -- Consumer Guide