ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Toyota’s best-selling Tacoma pickup offers something for nearly everyone.
With a vast number of model permutations, there’s bound to be one that fits a buyer’s quite specific needs, whether it be long or short bed; two- or four-wheel drive; basic, sporty or luxurious; seating for two, four or five; economical four-cylinder or powerful V-6; manual or automatic transmissions – the variations are virtually limitless.
But what keeps the Tacoma on top of the compact truck heap is its reputation for bulletproof reliability and impeccable assembly quality.
Our tester, a V-6 Access Cab 4×4, came loaded with off-road options, a tow package and an upgraded audio system that ran up the bottom line to a breath-catching $33,168. Not an insignificant amount, but that gets you an adventure-ready sports truck that’s ready to tackle some pretty rugged terrain, with comfort and style to boot.
In the Access Cab, small, rear-hinged “suicide”-style doors open for entry to a rear seat barely suitable for two full-size adults. If you want better accommodations for your passengers, you’ll need to move up to the Crew Cab model.
Included in the TRD Off-Road package, along with a plethora of suspension and drivetrain upgrades and appearance and convenience features, are a pair of form-fitting sport buckets up front to hold you in place while traversing parking-lot speed bumps or banging through the boonies. Too bad the seats are positioned so low to the floor, a long-standing complaint with Toyota trucks.
Cabin materials are generally hard plastics of various textures and tones, but impeccably assembled. Controls are utterly straight-foward.
On the road, the V-6 delivers generous power, but also generates a fair amount of commotion. Road noise, too, is a constant traveling companion.
The truck displays an agreeable, light-footed feel under way, making it a pleasant everyday driver. Handling is best in class, but the highway ride is a bit busy, due mostly to the off-road shocks and tires.
Overall, the Tacoma merits its long-running success.