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in Compact Pickup Trucks

MSRP: $18,125 - $28,385
Invoice: $17,162 - $26,297
MPG: 21 City / 25 Hwy
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Toyota Tacoma Performance

Reviewers say the 2014 Toyota Tacoma offers plenty of power, has respectable towing and hauling capabilities and returns decent fuel economy for a truck. Testers also appreciate the Tacoma's off-road prowess when equipped with the TRD Off-Road Package.

  • "Don't get us wrong, the Tacoma is still a proper truck. To wit, it'll tow up to 6,500 pounds and haul about 1,500 pounds with the V6. Plus, it's a champ off the beaten path with 4-wheel drive. But it's also happy to be your errand-running companion and hang out in your apartment's parking garage at night. And that's why, for many current truck-shoppers, the Tacoma just might offer the best of all worlds." -- AutoTrader
  • "The small engine may be a decent choice for casual driving, but the larger engine is a must if there is to be any work done with the Tacoma. Considering the fuel economy is not especially better for the four-cylinder, the V-6 is easily the better choice." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "In Consumer Guide testing, we averaged 16.8 mpg in a 4WD Double Cab, which isn't bad in a test that included mostly city driving." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The Tacoma's base engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that produces 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. This engine is available with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. A 4.0-liter V6 that produces 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque is optional, which is mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ranges from an EPA-estimated 21/25 mpg city/highway for a two-wheel drive Tacoma with the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission to 16/19 mpg for a four-wheel drive Tacoma with the V6 and manual transmission. The Tacoma's fuel economy is slightly better than that of the Nissan Frontier. When properly configured, the Tacoma can tow up to 6,500 pounds and haul up to 1,500 pounds, which is comparable to the Frontier's capabilities.

Reviewers say the four-cylinder engine makes adequate power for day-to-day driving, but say the V6 feels stronger and is a better choice for anyone with any substantial towing or hauling needs. Both manual and automatic transmissions are praised for their smooth power delivery.

See full 2014 Toyota Tacoma specs »

  • "Buyers who don't plan to tow heavy loads, or those who just want to save some money out the door, will find the 2.7-liter four-cylinder perfectly acceptable. It isn't especially more fuel-efficient than the brawnier V6, however, which is a better choice for work and play thanks to an abundance of low-range pull." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Smoother and stronger than the standard 159-horsepower 4-cylinder - and without much penalty in fuel economy - the 236-horsepower V6 engine answers eagerly to the throttle. Both the standard 6-speed manual transmission and the optional 5-speed automatic work smoothly." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "Only V6-powered Tacomas have been made available for evaluation. They're plenty strong. The manual transmission has a crisp, positive feel, which is not something you would normally expect from a pickup. The automatic shifts smoothly and responds quickly to throttle inputs." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

The Tacoma comes standard with rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive is optional. Toyota offers two performance suspension packages: the TRD Off-Road Package adds skid plates and Bilstein shocks to aid off-roading capability, and the TRD Sport Package adds a sport-tuned suspension to improve on-road handling. Reviewers say that four-wheel drive models have marginally worse handling than their two-wheel drive counterparts because of their higher center of gravity. They also say that the off-road package makes the Tacoma very capable beyond the pavement, but makes for a bouncy ride on pavement. Testers say the Tacoma is more maneuverable than a full-size pickup, though it can still be a bit cumbersome to maneuver. Reviewers note that the Tacoma’s soft brake pedal doesn’t inspire much confidence when stopping.

  • "Otherwise, the Tacoma feels maneuverable from behind the wheel. We found parking to be a breeze. The 4-wheel-drive models have a higher center of gravity, so handling suffers a bit. On the other hand, a 4-wheel-drive Tacoma with the special TRD Off-Road Package is a beast in the dirt, while the TRD Sport Package optimizes on-road handling. Suffice it to say that if you want a midsize truck, there's likely a Tacoma variant that drives to your liking." -- AutoTrader
  • "Among the different suspension types, Tacoma's ride is par for the course among compact pickups. The PreRunner's standard setup is reasonably compliant. The X-Runner's sport suspension and low-profile tires cause most bumps to make their way into the cabin. Unless you have true wanderlust, we'd stay away from the optional TRD Off-Road package, as its ride is far too bouncy to be comfortable in everyday driving." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Braking is the only area where the Tacoma comes up merely average. Its stopping power is acceptable, but the soft pedal feel doesn't inspire much confidence." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "From behind the wheel, a 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab pickup definitely handles more easily than a full-size truck, but don't expect miracles. Around town it can still seem a little bulky and clumsy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/16/14

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