2018 Toyota Tacoma remains popular midsize truck

Toyota enjoys huge sales numbers in the U.S., largely due to the popularity of the Tacoma. Reportedly, half the midsize trucks sold in this country are Toyota Tacoma models.

For more than two decades, the Tacoma has been a very popular alternative for shoppers who feel full-size trucks are just too big and too expensive. There’s no hard sell necessary when it comes to the Tacoma. The popular midsize truck has been a big seller for years and there’s no reason to believe that trend won’t continue.

Toyota redesigned the Tacoma two years ago. Among the changes were improved fuel efficiency, new exterior styling, better V6 engine, several interior changes, plus more available off-road performance.

One of the popular choices in the 2018 Toyota Tacoma lineup is the TRD Off-Road, one of six Tacoma trim levels (SR, SR5, TRD Sport, Limited, TRD Pro). The popular truck includes two body styles – the crew cab and the extended cab. Only the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Nissan Frontier provide any competition for the Tacoma.

Despite its sales, the Tacoma has its detractors. The V6 acceleration remains modest, the towing capacity (6,800 pounds) has been criticized as lacking, and gas mileage is still an issue for people who expect more appealing numbers.

Car shoppers looking for some versatility should enjoy the TRD Off-Road. It has a rugged body and special 16-inch alloy wheels that will help absorb the bumps over rough pavement and dirt surfaces. The rugged truck comes with Bilstein shock absorbers and is also equipped with an electronic locking rear differential and the Crawl Control system, which supplies cruise control for off-roading between 1-5 mph.

Toyota redesigned the Tacoma two years ago. Among the changes were improved fuel efficiency, new exterior styling, better V6 engine, several interior changes, plus more available off-road performance. For 2018, Toyota adds the Safety Sense P, an impressive array of safety features that includes lane departure alert, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and auto high beams.

The TRD Off-Road is a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The engine fails to deliver strong acceleration, clocked at 8.3 seconds going from 0-60 mph. However, the engine improvement has led to better gas mileage (17-23 mpg), plus a smoother and quieter ride than ever before.

2018 Toyota Tacoma

  • Performance: 2.7-liter, four cylinder, 159 horsepower; 3.5-liter, V6, 278 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 19-23 mpg; 17-23 mpg
  • Price: $27,200 to $43,100
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 2 years/unlimited

The Tacoma lineup has one other engine, a much less powerful 2.7-liter, inline-4 that generates 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Gas mileage is marginally better – 19-23 mpg. Note that Toyota discontinued the five-speed manual transmission for the four-cylinder engine.

Interior highlights include a touchscreen interface and a lockable tailgate that were added two years ago. The interior is more about durability than luxury, but that’s expected in a truck. The front seats won’t be good for all drivers due to a low mounting position and lack of height adjustment. Headroom is limiting and the backseat in the crew cab is comfortable for children only. However, that’s not a problem in the extended cab.

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma remains a good selection for people shopping for a midsize truck. We are especially impressed with the TRD Off-Road because it delivers in many ways for individuals who want a solid truck with some good versatility.

Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at skiweidel@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel. His “Weidel on Wheels” auto reviews are featured periodically on this website at www.tahoeskiworld.com.

 

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