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To bring you an expert opinion of the Toyota Tacoma, the editors of TheCarConnection.com have driven several variations of the Tacoma—and hauled a few items. Then, to bring you the most useful information for your shopping process, TheCarConnection.com has researched the range of available road tests on the new Tacoma and produced an adjacent Full Review.
- Affordable, fuel-efficient base four-cylinder
- Simple, straightforward instrument panel
- Reputation for toughness and reliability
- Strong resale value
- Hard, bouncy ride
- Uncomfortable seats
- Not very maneuverable
- V-6 models are pricey
The Toyota Tacoma got some significant revisions for 2009 but returns for 2010 with few changes. A little larger than compact and more mid-size, like the Nissan Frontier, the Toyota Tacoma serves those who don’t need the hardcore hauling and towing ability of the full-size trucks but still require the day-to-day durability of a pickup.
Though the Tacoma saw some changes last year, its fundamental design and styling are carried through, essentially unchanged since its last full redesign in 2005. Despite offset, flared sheetmetal around the wheelwells, the Tacoma looks a little more aggressive, especially if you outfit it with one of several off-road trims. Inside, it depends on the trim; although entry Tacomas look basic and even a little drab inside, the top trim levels have an interior that uses more matte-metallic panels and upgraded upholstery that has more in common with the Camry and Avalon sedans. 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.
The 159-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder that’s standard on some models of the Tacoma somehow manages quite well—provided you’re not trying to move too quickly or take too much of a load. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission, which shifts smoothly but has long throws; both the four-speed automatic that’s optional with the four-cylinder and the five-speed automatic that’s standard on V-6 models are responsive. The 4.0-liter V-6 that’s offered on the rest of the lineup provides a completely different personality, as it produces 236 horsepower and an even more noteworthy 266 pound-feet of torque—enough to move the Tacoma quickly even when you have a heavy load. With the four-cylinder engine, the Tacoma is a reasonably fuel-efficient choice, rated as high as 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, while the V-6, 4WD models rate at just 16/20 mpg. Ride and handling are a low point for the 2010 Toyota Tacoma; it handles like a truck—which is to say that the steering is good and communicative, but the ride is hard and bumpy. Push a little too hard over bumps and the tires simply lose contact. Maneuverability is another disappointment; the mid-size proportions of the newer Tacoma don't allow it to turn around any easier than a full-size truck.