Overview

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Overview (Final Score: C+)

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is a strong, capable and versatile little truck. It was redesigned for the 2016 model year and hasn't changed much since then. For 2018, Toyota added some safety features as standard and removed the base model's manual transmission option. The 2018 Tacoma is otherwise unchanged.

It's not a bad thing since the Toyota Tacoma is a solid little truck and remains the best-selling midsize pickup truck for a good reason. Tacoma models work for for simple workaday needs, everyday drivers, occasional off-roading and cargo hauling, and serious off-pavement activity and weekend fun. Whatever you have planned for the 2018 Tacoma, there's a model to fit.

The Tacoma is available with two engine choices, six trim-level options and two cab options. The base model SR is popular as a fleet truck or small business hauler, while the SR5 is often a consumer's entry-level pick. Three Toyota Racing Development (TRD) trims are offered, starting with the TRD Sport and moving to the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro editions. The Limited package is the top fitting in terms of comfort and convenience.

Most models of the Tacoma are available as rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Both an extended cab and four-door crew cab option are available in most trims as well. Bed lengths can vary from 5 to 6.1 feet in length, depending on cab choice and model trim.

What We Love About the 2018 Toyota Tacoma:


  • Nice materials choices for the interior

  • Off-road capability is second to none in the TRD Pro package

  • Value proposition is very solid, especially given its high resale


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Toyota Tacoma:


  • Exterior design can be polarizing

  • Driver's seating position may not fit some drivers

  • Fuel economy is low, even in the most fuel-conscious model


 

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Exterior View (8/10)

The Toyota Tacoma has a robust look aimed at conveying muscle and speed. The new-generation Tacoma has a large front grille, heavy overhang and flat hood. This gives its front end a look much like the toe of a clipped cowboy boot. The squared cab, whether extended or crew, emphasizes this and the squared bed finishes it off.

Large tires and wheel wells mark the 2018 Tacoma's capability. Even two-wheel drive models have plenty of ground clearance and wheel-well gap. The only obvious difference between two-wheel and four-wheel drive Tacoma is in the suspension behind and the size of tires.

The midsize 2018 Toyota Tacoma gives off a "get it done" attitude. The truck aims for a balance between looking like a working vehicle and a weekend fun machine.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

The Tacoma has a good interior layout with quality design and materials. Durability is the primary focus of the 2018 Tacoma's interior.

Comfort levels are good for the driver and front passenger, though the driver may have to adjust to the seating position in the Tacoma as it's more akin to a car than a truck or SUV. It's lower and more upright, requiring the driver's legs to be more straight, which can impede the driver's comfort and stability levels when off-road or looking around physically to back a trailer.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab 4X4 12

The 2018 Tacoma remains one of the roomier pickups in the midsize class. Legroom and headroom in the front are excellent. Rear seats in the extended cab are for occasional use only, but roomy enough that two (perhaps three) adults can sit back there when needed. In the crew cab, legroom improves greatly and the rear seats become habitable for longer drives. Three across is a little tight, but no worse than any similarly sized pickup or crossover.

Entry and egress into the 2018 Toyota Tacoma can be a bit tricky in the taller TRD models. But the doors open wide and the step up can be aided with optional rails or steps. Grab handles are found at each door to aid the climb.

The driver will find that visibility in the Tacoma is excellent, and the large side mirrors and standard sliding window for the back glass make things easier. Storage is good in the Tacoma, though there aren't many USB ports for plugging devices into lower-trim models.

Technology (8/10)

The Tacoma uses Toyota's Entune infotainment interface, which comes as a touchscreen with large visual buttons. The 2018 Tacoma has an easy-to-understand infotainment system that's easy to use whether parked or moving. Integration with a smartphone via Bluetooth is relatively easy to accomplish, but some menus and controls from there can be tricky. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto are available. Instead the Tacoma uses Toyota's own Entune app (free to download).

The USB jack required to use Entune app is often the only one in the truck, which is a serious downer. At least voice control is very good, with solid usefulness once the menus are understood.

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Fuel Economy (6/10)

If you're expecting good fuel economy from a midsize pickup truck, you'll be disappointed with 2018 Toyota Tacoma. It's EPA-rated at only 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway in the rear-wheel drive models and 17 city/20 highway in the four-wheel drive models.

In the real world, we've only seen the 4WD numbers pan out when conditions were perfect. Averages were more in the 15 mpg range than 17 to 20.

Opting for the base model's four-cylinder engine doesn't improve mileage much. It's rated at 20 city/23 highway.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (6/10)

There are not yet any ratings available for the 2018 Toyota Tacoma's predicted reliability. But as it is nearly identical to the 2017 model year for the truck, those disappointing numbers are likely to carry through.

The Tacoma received a rating of only "About Average" in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study. Recalls for the Tacoma continue, carrying forward from 2017.

Safety (9/10)

The 2018 Tacoma has been safety rated by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The truck did very well last year and has done just as well this year. We have improved its score, as the 2018 model includes standard advanced safety equipment not often found in the segment.

The NHTSA rated the 2018 Tacoma with four stars overall, with four stars each for frontal and rollover crash tests, and five stars for side crash results. The IIHS gave the 2018 Toyota Tacoma a top score of "Good" on all of its crash test results.

Standard safety equipment on the Tacoma now includes lane departure warning, frontal crash warnings and more through the Toyota Safety Sense system.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab 4X4 9

Performance (9/10)

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma definitely does not lack in performance. The base engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that outputs 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. That's enough oomph in most situations, but it will rarely give the impression that the engine is living easy. The upgraded V6 engine is standard in several packages.

The 3.5-liter six-cylinder offers 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Power delivery is smooth and well polished. The Tacoma isn't a race car, so going fast isn't the point of this engine. Steadily grinding out power is, and for that purpose it's excellent. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for this engine. Four-wheel drive is optional.

We like the V6 for its muscle and solidity. Rarely did the Tacoma feel less than confident with this engine. Road noise in the Tacoma is acceptable with either engine, and most tasks with the pickup are doable without complaint from the machine.

Off the road, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma has some great options for excellence. The best-in-class TRD Pro version is the way to go if serious off-pavement activity is your norm. Most four-wheel drive-equipped Tacomas are good off-road, and the little truck is surprisingly steady on washboard and other hazards common with dirt roads.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is designed and priced well. It's rare that the manufacturer puts any kind of cash on the hood, as the truck remains very popular and its sales require no push to stay that way. The Tacoma has a high resale value, especially in V6-equipped 4x4 models. Its reputation for longevity will keep that going.

The Tacoma comes well outfitted for the price paid. Buying one is rarely a bad decision.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (63/80, 78%)

Despite the Toyota Tacoma's best-seller status, other offerings in the segment shouldn't be ignored.

The aged Nissan Frontier is the only other truly midsize offering in the pickup truck market, but it brings a lot of rough-and-tumble to the table with good price metrics to match. The Chevrolet Colorado and its GMC Canyon twin are larger than the Tacoma, nearing the size of full-size pickups, but offer a lot of interior goodies for the price paid. That price will be higher than the Tacoma's, and the trucks are not as capable overall.

Few buyers will regret choosing a 2018 Toyota Tacoma. The base-level Tacoma is a good fleet buyer's choice and the TRD packages offer a lot to buyers interested in some off-road capability without sacrificing daily usability.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Crew Cab - 4WD
SR SR Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 31665
SR5 SR5 Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 34540
TRD Off Road TRD Off Road Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 34685
TRD Sport TRD Sport Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 34685
TRD Off Road TRD Off Road Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 36315
TRD Sport TRD Sport Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 36315
Limited Limited Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 40415
TRD Pro TRD Pro Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 41720
TRD Pro TRD Pro Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 43720
SR5 SR5 Double Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 35040
TRD Off Road TRD Off Road Double Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 36925
TRD Sport TRD Sport Double Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 36925
Crew Cab - RWD
SR SR Double Cab 5' Bed I4 4x2 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 26230
SR5 SR5 Double Cab 5' Bed I4 4x2 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 28065
SR5 SR5 Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 31465
TRD Off Road TRD Off Road Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 33350
TRD Sport TRD Sport Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 33350
Limited Limited Double Cab 5' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 37340
SR5 SR5 Double Cab 6' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 31965
TRD Sport TRD Sport Double Cab 6' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 33850
Extended Cab - 4WD
SR SR Access Cab 6' Bed I4 4x4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder 4WD 28475
SR5 SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed I4 4x4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder 4WD 30250
SR5 SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 33495
TRD Sport TRD Sport Access Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 34010
TRD Off Road TRD Off Road Access Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 35380
TRD Sport TRD Sport Access Cab 6' Bed V6 4x4 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 35380
Extended Cab - RWD
SR SR Access Cab 6' Bed I4 4x2 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 25400
SR5 SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed I4 4x2 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 27175
SR5 SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 30320
TRD Sport TRD Sport Access Cab 6' Bed V6 4x2 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 32095

Comparison of 2018 Toyota Tacoma with Similar Cars

2018 Toyota Tacoma MSRP Invoice
2018 Toyota Tacoma $25,400 $23,813
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Ford F-150 $27,705 $26,320 2018 Toyota Tacoma VS 2018 Ford F-150
2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $28,300 $27,027 2018 Toyota Tacoma VS 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2018 GMC Sierra 1500 $29,000 $27,695 2018 Toyota Tacoma VS 2018 GMC Sierra 1500
2018 Toyota Tundra $31,320 $28,971 2018 Toyota Tacoma VS 2018 Toyota Tundra

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Toyota Tacoma ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Toyota Tacoma rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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