The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is a mid-size pickup with the right-sized attitude: it’s nimble off road, capable, and just enough truck for many buyers.
The 2018 Toyota Tacoma can’t stop to catch its breath.
The mid-size Toyota pickup with a loyal following was once so far ahead of its time, it was virtually the only one around.
Now, with the General Motors’ Canyon/Colorado twins, Honda Ridgeline, and aging-but-still-weirdly-popular Nissan Frontier to compete, the Tacoma is scrambling for attention.
Thankfully, its butch sheet metal and competent V-6 means it leads the pack in sales—for now. We give it a 5.8 overall, which is partly due to its low-level base configurations geared toward small-business buyers. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Tacoma is offered in SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off Road, Limited, and TRD Pro trim levels that range from workaday to everyday to take-the-hard-way levels of equipment.
The increasing cost of full-size pickups has driven buyers toward mid-size trucks like the Tacoma for good reason: for most people, they’re just enough grunt without the city-bus size.
The most popular configuration for the Tacoma is a V-6 with four-wheel drive that can scrabble up trails, wind around town, or haul up to 6,800 pounds. An inline-4 is available on base trucks, but we’d say skip it unless your plans only include rear-drive and not a lot of passing.
The news this year is the Tacoma’s standard active safety equipment that includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. A rearview camera is standard.
Every Tacoma comes with a touchscreen, although Toyota’s system is lagging the bunch. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t part of the formula, but a wireless charging mat and Bluetooth connectivity are.
Despite offering a smaller engine, the Tacoma isn’t particularly fuel-efficient. Inline-4 and V-6 versions are rated roughly the same, about 20 mpg combined, which is roughly the same as full-size trucks that don’t rely on big V-8s.