2012 Toyota Tacoma Review
Updates for 2012 help the Toyota Tacoma retain its spot at the top of its class.
No truck in the compact pickup class is luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but test drivers are glad that the 2012 Toyota Tacoma is at least well-made and its features are easy to use. While the Ram Dakota and the Ford Ranger have been discontinued for 2012, the Tacoma gets a moderate refresh, with new looks and more high-tech features, like Toyota’s Entune voice-command infotainment system.
Reviewers say that in its X-Runner trim, the Tacoma is by far the sportiest compact pickup truck. When equipped with the TRD off-road package, it’s fairly capable when taken off-road, and its on-road handling isn’t bad either. However, test drivers dislike the brakes, which feel soft and mushy, and they universally pan the tiny jump seats in the back of the Access Cab.
Still, if you’re looking for a nimble little truck for your daily commute, or an off-road toy for the weekends, test drivers strongly recommend the Toyota Tacoma. In fact, the Toyota Tacoma does such a good job of combining interior features, performance and price that we named it the 2012 Best Compact Pickup Truck for the Money.
Other Trucks to Consider
Reviewers say that the Toyota Tacoma is the best choice in its class, especially after its updates for 2012. However, if you’re shopping the Tacoma, you should also consider the Nissan Frontier. It’s one of the more recently-updated trucks in its class, compared with the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon, which haven’t seen a redesign since their introduction in 2004. Test drivers say that the Nissan Frontier is comfortable and capable on-road and off, though it is a bit more expensive than the Tacoma.
You should also consider the Honda Ridgeline, one of the last sport utility trucks on the market. It has the body of a pickup truck but the underpinnings of an SUV, so it’s far more comfortable and easy to drive than most other compact pickups. It does cost more than the Tacoma, but it comes standard with many more features, in addition to a roomier interior.
Details: Toyota Tacoma
The 2012 Toyota Tacoma comes in four trims: Regular Cab, Access Cab, Double Cab and the high-performance X-Runner trim. This year, the Tacoma receives some significant updates, including a redesigned grill, new interior controls and dashboard design and a few additional features on each trim. Double Cab V6 trims also now include Toyota’s Entune system, a voice-command infotainment system similar to Ford’s SYNC.
If you can wait, Chevrolet has confirmed that it will be bringing its brand-new Colorado to the U.S. for the 2013 model year. That means it will likely get here in 2012. Reviewers haven’t driven it yet, but the brand-new Chevrolet Colorado may breathe new life into this dwindling segment.
See the full list of 2012 Toyota Tacoma specs.
- "Like a dodo that rules at calculus, the Tacoma is among the best of a nearly extinct species: the mid-size pickup.” -- Car and Driver
- "Tacoma continues to lead the class in refinement, and is more than competitive in performance, accommodations, utility, and off-road prowess. The X-Runner handles like a sports car while sacrificing little utility. Overall, these are excellent compact trucks and Best Buy picks.” -- Consumer Guide
- “With the Ford Ranger no longer offered, the Tacoma's biggest competitor has been removed from the race, leaving a lot of room for potential new customers. Those who do migrate toward the 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup will find a robust near-mid-size pickup truck with a wide range of trims, engines, cabin configurations and packages.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The … Toyota Tacoma is a top choice in the midsize pickup segment thanks to its highly capable nature and wide array of configurations.” -- Edmunds
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