2013 Toyota Tacoma Review

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2 Reviews
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

If you don't truly need a full-size truck, the Toyota Tacoma's price and simplicity could make it a viable alternative--but it can get expensive, and its ride and gas mileage will have you reconsidering your motives.

While compact pickups have largely vanished from the U.S. market, the Toyota Tacoma soldiers forward. The Ford Ranger has exited the market, and the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado compact pickups are taking a transition year off--leaving the Tacoma as one of the few not-full-size trucks sticking it out. Toyota's even invested more in the future of the Tacoma, moving it from a California production site (now home to Tesla) and setting it up in Texas alongside the full-size Tundra.

The Tacoma's had a big fan following for years, but it's not entirely clear why, when the basic versions are considered. Off-road specialty and aftermarket versions aside, the standard-issue Toyota Tacoma isn't as refined, as stylish, or as capable on pavement as the Nissan Frontier, its chief rival. But for those who truly don't need something full-sized, the Tacoma's a workhorse, with a reputation for durability that's at least the equal of the Nissan's.

The Tacoma's looks haven't changed much since a 2005 redesign. The grille's a bit more pronounced, and the headlamps are tapered a bit more into a more amped-up front bumper. Elsewhere, it's purely business, without the flair that the Frontier has--and that the Frontier's cousin, the Suzuki Equator, sharpens with its own front-end look. The Tacoma's just more chunky, more disjointed, and behind the front pillars, more plain and traditional. In the cockpit, Toyota's improved the texture and appearance of the plastic trim in recent years, and the Tacoma's cabin gets the nod over the Frontier's if only for that slightly elevated sense of quality, enhanced by the backlit gauges and touches of brightwork.

The base 159-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder can manage basic chores well enough, so long as you're riding solo and not towing or hauling much. We'd choose the five-speed manual, and leave off the hefty four-wheel-drive system; the four-speed automatic's gears are too widely spaced for quick acceleration or good fuel economy. The 4.0-liter V-6 on the preferred versions of the Tacoma has a completely different personality: it makes 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough to hustle the Tacoma around quickly, even when you have a heavy load, though things get a little breathless past 75 mph or so on the interstate. The five-speed automatic that's standard on V-6 models is a responsive gearbox, too.

It's the Tacoma's road manners that disappoint the most. Even among pickups, which typically trade off some ride comfort for heavy-hauling ability, the Tacoma feels numb and lifeless in urban environs. The ride is hard and choppy; on pockmarked city surfaces the tires simply lose contact with the road. Maneuverability in the Tacoma doesn't seem any better than that of a full-size truck.

The best way to judge the Tacoma's performance, since its street handling not very impressive, is by towing and payload and off-road capability. The Tacoma's payload is well into the 3/4-ton category, depending on the model, and its tow rating goes up to 6,500 pounds. The Tacoma's a beloved canvas for the off-road community, with everything from a basic four-wheel-drive system and a locking differential to skid plates, huge knobby tires, and off-road suspensions available from Toyota as a model or as an accessory.

Regular Cab, Access Cab, and Double Cab editions of the Tacoma are offered, with standard or long-bed (LB) lengths, with four- or six-cylinder engines, and they all have the same styling, albeit with different levels of stretch for the cab and bed. As for interior comfort, it's all relative. Compared with full-size trucks, the Tacoma disappoints for interior roominess and seating comfort, but compared with other mid-sizers like the Nissan Frontier it's competitive. That said, even though Double Cab versions have the space for four adults (two kids in back for Access Cabs, which have smaller back doors and seating), the rather skimpy, short and flat seats in front won't win you over for longer trips

For 2012, the Tacoma gets some much-needed audio-system improvements, with the standard system incorporating built-in Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, plus a USB/iPod port. The base system now has six speakers, and even that is satellite-radio capable. Also new to the Tacoma line is the Entune system, which packages navigation functions, text-to-voice capability, voice commands, HD Radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, and real-time traffic and weather, among other features.

Outside of these changes, the Tacoma's model line largely carries over, offering a basic pickup package for those looking at the cheapest model, ranging all the way up to two specialized models, the terrain-focused PreRunner and the street-smart X-Runner. The PreRunner adds a higher-riding suspension, locking rear differential, and other appearance cues. The X-Runner gets wider wheels and tires; a lowered, sport-tuned suspension; and an X-braced frame (hence the name), along with extra interior conveniences. Also available is a TRD Off-Road Package that brings special badging, plus an off-road suspension with Bilstein dampers, fog lamps, and a transfer-case skid plate.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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July 5, 2015
2013 Toyota Tacoma 4WD Double Cab V6 AT (Natl)

TRD off road Pro is Quality, Reliability and does what we wanted it to do, with ease

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Nice size, Toyota quality, rides well, and handles well, wish it had a Diesel
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June 12, 2015
2013 Toyota Tacoma 2WD Access Cab I4 MT (Natl)

I buy a new truck, but the base model make it feel old...

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Brought a new Tacoma, but the technology inside the truck is like buying a new old truck. 4speed auto, no cruse control, 2 speed wiper, leaf springs so week, you could only put 500 lbs inside the bed...
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April 14, 2017
2017 Toyota Tacoma SR5 Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x2 AT (GS)

Not What I expected from Toyota

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I bought my 2017 SR5 V6 November 1st 2016 with 8 miles on it, Fell in love with this truck as soon as I saw it. Drove it, loved it and bought it! Worse thing I ever did! Sounds like a diesel most of the time... + More »
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March 27, 2017
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport Access Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 MT (GS)

Truck gets an A minus (so far).

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I'm pretty sure this is the best mid-size pickup available, and it does everything Toyota claims it will do. The style is fine, although nobody should confuse "TRD" with real racing DNA--this vehicle is a... + More »
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September 9, 2016
2016 Toyota Tacoma 4WD Double Cab V6 MT TRD Sport (SE)

First truck - really happy!

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I actually have a 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro. It's my first truck and I have been pleasantly surprised. Due to a change in life at 53, I had to switch from my traditional car to a truck. I chose this Pro because it... + More »
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December 5, 2015
2016 Toyota Tacoma 4WD Double Cab V6 AT TRD Off Road (Natl)

Fantastic truck, how long will new AT last???

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I have about 2600 miles on my 2016 AWD TRD offroad Tacoma V6 with the new 6 speed auto transmission. I honestly love everything about the new truck except for one thing. Starting at about two hundred miles I... + More »
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November 16, 2015
For 2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 4x4 Double-Cab Limited

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I just purchased a red copy of the 4x4 double-cab limited. I really like the update, the push start, audio system, and tailgate update with lock are awesome features. And, NO DRIVE TRAIN VIBRATION; that drive... + More »
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September 12, 2015
2016 Toyota Tacoma 4WD Access Cab I4 MT SR (GS)

This 2016 Toyota Tacoma has everything to offer to anyone !

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I've seen the video presentation for 2016 Toyota Tacoma and it's amazing with great performance that anyone can like it!
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August 19, 2015
2016 Toyota Tacoma 2WD Double Cab V6 AT SR5 (GS)

TACOMA is the moderate car,luxury one ,more economic ,safe with high performance

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TACOMA is the moderate car,luxury one ,more economic ,safe with high performance
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June 20, 2015
2016 Toyota Tacoma 2WD Double Cab V6 AT SR5 (GS)

TOYOTA improved engine performance every years more better power ,the shape looks comfortable.

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I really like TACOMA 4 doors ,every years I tried to find out what different the old before , 2016 Toy Tacoma look nice ,interior n exterior. More , I hear about Atkinson cycle ? more power n save gas .? .I... + More »
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