The Toyota Tacoma is America's best-selling compact pickup and for several good reasons. It's a modern, capable, high-value vehicle with few real competitors. The 2013 Tacoma delivers on all the work and play expectations that make Americans love their pickups, and does it in a more manageable, fuel-efficient form than a full-size pickup while offering a wide range of trims, powertrains and cab configurations.
You'll Like The 2013 Toyota Tacoma If...
If you're looking for a proven pickup that is as capable as it is stylish, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma deserves your attention. Nearly as capable as a full-size pickup but without the extra bulk and fuel consumption, the Tacoma fits a lot of needs.
You May Not Like The 2013 Toyota Tacoma If...
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma pickup can't tow as much as a full-size V8-powered truck, and its narrower bed won't hold as much cargo. If you don't need to haul that much and you're looking for a smooth, comfortable ride, the Honda Ridgeline may be a more friendly choice.
The Toyota Tacoma rolls into 2013 without significant changes after it got a mild facelift, minor interior upgrades and some new audio systems just last year. As before, some top-line options, including the JBL-equipped audio system and Toyota's Entune infotainment system, are reserved for the V6/automatic Double Cab versions.
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma pickup's interior has a modern urban feel, with 2-tone gray or beige plastic panels highlighted with metal-look trim. The Tacoma's front seats are wide and supportive, but the rear seats in the Access Cab are useful only for short trips and smaller people. (Seating improves greatly in the Double Cab model, which has a full bench seat in back with adjustable head restraints and under-seat storage.) Steering-wheel-mounted controls for the audio and available Bluetooth are a welcome touch.
A new grille and front-end treatment graced the Toyota Tacoma in 2012 and, for 2013, they continue to help make this compact pickup look as brawny and tough as the domestic full-sizers. Choose the base truck and you get a simple work vehicle with black bumpers and plain wheels. The Pre-Runner displays the look of a rugged off-roader in a less-expensive rear-drive-only package, while the X-Runner takes the pickup to a new urban-street place, with lowered suspension. Build quality and finish are above reproach.
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. Controls feel refined and responsive, and ride quality is generally good though some payload in the bed helps, especially if you've specified one of the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) off-road suspension packages. 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. Some people may feel the front seats place them oddly low to the floor but you get used to it.
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup is available in 20 distinct configurations of cab, powertrain and trim. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at just over $18,000 for a base two-wheel-drive Regular Cab. A 4X4 Double Cab with V6 and automatic starts at about $29,000 and can top $36,000 with a couple of option packages. Although the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon cost less, neither offers as much power, space or refinement. The Nissan Frontier comes close on power but doesn't offer a regular-cab model. A look at our Fair Purchase Price will show you the typical transaction price paid for the Tacoma in your area. As for resale value, Kelley Blue Book expects the 4-cylinder base models to retain better-than-average residual values, and the V6 Access Cab and Double Cab models to do even better.
The 2-wheel-drive 2013 Toyota Tacoma's base 4-cylinder engine displaces 2.7 liters and makes 159 horsepower. Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD system, anti-lock brakes (ABS), front side-impact and side-curtain airbags, traction and stability control, tachometer, two instrument-panel powerpoints and rear mudguards. Regular Cab 4x4 models with the automatic transmission add standard bucket seats. Access Cab, X-Runner and Double Cab models include bucket seats with a center console, power mirrors, power windows and power door locks.
Many options for the 2013 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup are grouped in packages, and not all are available on every model. But the list includes a 4.0-liter V6, 4-wheel drive, JBL GreenEdge audio with Bluetooth connectivity, Entune infotainment system and the SR5 Package, which adds color-keyed over-fenders and front bumper, chrome grille surround and a chrome rear bumper. Double and Access Cabs can be fitted with a rearview camera while transmission upgrades from the base 5-speed manual include a 4-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic and 6-speed manual. Hill-start Assist (HAC) is available on V6 models with automatic transmissions.
A factory-provided supercharger! The accessory kit increases the V6's output to 304 horsepower and 334 lb-ft of torque (from 236 and 266). It has to be purchased after new-vehicle delivery, and be installed by a Toyota dealer to be warrantied (5-years/60,000-miles or whatever existing powertrain warranty remains).
All Tacomas feature a composite inner bed with built-in storage compartments and four rail-mounted sliding tie-down cleats. Very handy and functional.
Under the Hood
Both the 4-cylinder and the V6 Tacoma engines feature Toyota's VVT-i technology (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) that minimizes the compromise between low-end torque and peak horsepower. Combined with a choice of four available transmissions, 2- or 4-wheel drive, three cab styles and more, Toyota makes it easy to get exactly the pickup you want. Maximum towing and payload capacities are 6,500 pounds and 1,535 pounds, respectively.
159 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/25 mpg (2WD, manual), 19/24 mpg (2WD, automatic),
18/21 mpg (4WD, manual and automatic)
236 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21 mpg (2WD, manual), 17/21 mpg (2WD, automatic), 16/19 mpg (4WD, manual), 16/21 mpg (4WD, automatic)
The Toyota Tacoma is America's best-selling compact pickup and for several good reasons. It's a modern, capable, high-value vehicle with few real competitors. The Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger are gone, and the Chevrolet Colorado (and GMC Canyon) is aging and feels cheap. (A modernized Colorado is a year or more away.) That leaves Nissan's Frontier (getting dated, and better as a rugged worker than a family transporter) and Honda's Ridgeline (just the opposite; a car-based platform that is comfy but limited in its hauling ability). Only the 2013 Toyota Tacoma delivers on all the work and play expectations that make Americans love their pickups, and does it in a more manageable, fuel-efficient form than a full-size pickup while offering a wide range of trims, powertrains and cab configurations.