The 2008 Toyota Tacoma scores well on safety tests and includes many safety features, though stability control is an option.
For the second-gen Tacoma, Toyota significantly ups the ante regarding safety. VSC (vehicle skid control) and traction control became available on all models across the line, excluding the X-Runner, in 2005; these systems had previously been available only on the 4WD models. Automobile notes, “ABS with brake assist is standard. You can add stability control with traction control, as well as hill-start assist to prevent rolling back from an uphill stop.”
Speaking to the effectiveness of the standard brake assist feature, which incorporates a valve that increases vacuum assist when the brake pedal is enthusiastically applied--as in a panic situation--Car and Driver finds that their test Tacoma “conduct[s] four rapid stops from 70 mph in less than 190 feet, fleet performance for any pickup.”
In addition to standard driver and passenger airbags, side impact and side curtain airbags are optional in the Double Cab models.
In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, the 2008 Tacoma scores five stars for driver and passenger side frontal impact, as well as five stars for both front and rear occupants in side impacts. In rollover resistance, it managed a rating of four stars. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) frontal offset and side impact tests, the Tacoma scored that agency’s top “good” rating. Tacomas with bucket seats managed a “marginal” for rear crash protection, a comment on headrest design and whiplash protection.