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#3

in Compact Pickup Trucks

MSRP: $20,765 - $37,415
Invoice: $19,467 - $34,661
MPG: 21 City / 25 Hwy
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Toyota Tacoma Performance

The 2015 Toyota Tacoma offers plenty of power, has respectable towing and hauling capabilities and returns decent fuel economy for a truck, according to test drivers. They also appreciate the Tacoma's off-road prowess when equipped with the TRD off-road package.

  • "Toyota builds one of the best V6 engines in the industry and they offer it in the 2015 Tacoma pickup. The 4.0-liter is smooth, powerful and returns acceptable fuel economy for the class, plus it can be paired with either a manual or automatic transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Suffice it to say that if you want a midsize truck, there's likely a Tacoma variant that drives to your liking." -- 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)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is available with this engine. A 4.0-liter V6 engine is optional, which generates 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, and can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The base Tacoma gets up to an EPA-estimated 21/25 mpg city/highway, which is normal for the class.

Auto journalists agree that the four-cylinder engine has sufficient power for everyday commuting, but recommend stepping up to the V6, which has more power for towing and hauling. Some also note that the V6-powered Tacoma’s fuel economy is only marginally lower than that of the four-cylinder model. They add that V6-powered models have a manual transmission that feels engaging or a responsive automatic transmission.

  • "In our tests, we found the 4-cylinder to be more than up to the task of daily drives and some light-load hauling, but we think the V6 is the engine of choice here. It offers superior power without much penalty in fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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)
  • "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 2015 Tacoma comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive is optional. Most reviewers say that the Tacoma generally has a comfortable ride, however several comment that models fitted with the available off-road suspension don't ride as comfortably on the pavement. They say that the Tacoma has composed handling, but some note that four-wheel drive models have a higher center of gravity and don't handle quite as well as rear-wheel drive models. According to critics, the Tacoma's steering is responsive, but not all are impressed with the strength of its brakes. The Tacoma is praised for its easy maneuverability in close quarters.

  • "Toyota's Tacoma pickup for 2015 is easy to maneuver and park, thanks to its somewhat compact dimensions. The handling is predictable, with responsive steering and brakes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We also found parking to be a relative breeze. The 4-wheel-drive models have a higher center of gravity, so handling suffers a bit." -- 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. … 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)

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Off-Roading

Four-wheel drive Tacomas are available with a TRD off-road package that features a number of components and features designed to improve off-road performance. These features include a locking rear differential, unique wheels and tires and an off-road suspension that provides additional ground clearance. Test drivers agree that the TRD Pro model is extremely capable of driving through dirt or climbing sand dunes. 

  • "… a 4-wheel-drive Tacoma with the new TRD Pro off-roading package is a beast in the dirt. ..." -- AutoTrader
  • "Off-roaders can endlessly debate tire choice and suspension setups. But when it comes to out-of-the-box fun and performance, it really doesn't get much better than the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. At the end of the day, there wasn't a dune left unclimbed." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Off-road models see their ride and handling measurably diminished, but their off-road abilities more than make up for any minor discomfort." -- Kelley Blue Book
Review Last Updated: 10/21/14

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