For more than two decades, the Toyota 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 extremely popular midsize truck has been a big seller for years and there’s no reason to believe that trend won’t continue. Around since 1995, the 2018 Tacoma had all-time sales of 245,659.
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.
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma lineup features six trim levels (SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited and 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 serious 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.
Even more intriguing is the Tacoma TRD Pro. New this year is the odd-looking, optional hood-mounted snorkel intake (cost is $725). Off-roaders can benefit because this feature moves the air intake away from the traditional location inside the wheel to above the roof dust that’s often kicked up. The snorkel intake is a potential money saver that avoids dirty air filters and choked-out engines,
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 (17-24 mpg), plus a smoother and quieter ride than ever before.
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. Despite being a smaller engine, the gas mileage is actually less than the V6 – 19-23 mpg.
2019 Toyota Tacoma
- Performance: 2.7-liter, four-cylinder, 159 horsepower; 3.5-liter, V6, 278 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 19-23 mpg; 19-24 mpg
- Price: $25,900 – $35,900
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 2 years/unlimited
Interior highlights include a touchscreen interface and a lockable tailgate. 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 in the backseat of the crew cab and is comfortable for children only. However, that’s not a problem in the extended cab.
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma continues to be a good selection for folks shopping for a midsize truck. The TRD Off-Road model is especially impressive because it delivers in many ways for individuals who want a solid truck with some versatility.
Weidel on Wheels is featured periodically on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.