Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B-)

The current-generation Toyota Tacoma is now in its third year since redesign and continues to be the best-selling midsize pickup truck on the market. There's good reason for that, but also room for improvement in the Tacoma. The Tacoma remains a solid little truck with plenty to offer, however, including lower-end options for workaday use and higher-end off-road powerhouses for fun.

The 2019 Tacoma sees a few updates to its rough and ready TRD Pro trim level, which now has even more off-pavement equipment as standard. An available high-mounted snorkel is also offered for the TRD Pro line. But even the lower-end Tacoma offers good off-road options thanks to a high ground clearance and good suspension as standard equipment.

As a strong and capable little truck, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma is also versatile and useful as a pickup. There are two engine choices, six trim levels, two cab configurations, two bed lengths (based on cab choice), and rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Each of the six trim levels available for the Tacoma offer something specific to most needs, from low-end work truck to everyday driver to off-road powerhouse.

What We Love About the 2019 Toyota Tacoma:


  • Materials choices inside the Tacoma are excellent

  • Off-road capability is unmatched in the TRD Pro series

  • Great value proposition with high resale


What We Don't Love About the 2019 Toyota Tacoma:


  • Exterior design is polarizing

  • Driver's seating position and feel are difficult to get accustomed to

  • Best models are very pricey


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Exterior View (8/10)

The exterior of the 2019 Toyota Tacoma is, as with all Tacomas of this generation, polarizing. Its robust look and strong design elements include a heavy front overhang, large grille, and a flat hood. This gives the front end a clipped, heavy-faced appearance that many may not find appealing. Everything behind the large front fascia is squared and diminished as a result.

The 2019 Tacoma is blessed with large tires and wheels, a high ground clearance, plenty of tire-to-well space, and a flat bed rail. These emphasize the capability of the Tacoma, with even the two-wheel drive models sporting these elements. In fact, the only way to tell the difference, visually, between a rear-wheel and four-wheel drive Tacoma is by the meat on the tires and the suspension components visible behind them.

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma offers a good "get out there and do it" attitude with its midsize build. The balance between looking the part and actually doing it is well done with the Tacoma, once the polarizing elements are forgotten.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

The 2019 Tacoma has a good interior layout with controls that are easy to find and intuitive. The materials quality in the Tacoma's interior is excellent, offering some of the best in the segment in terms of build and quality of feel. This despite the obvious focus on durability for the Tacoma, which might have cheapened some of those tones.

The driver and front passenger are treated to well-done seats, but those seats are more suited for a sedan than a pickup, giving both an odd low position that detracts from a feeling of stability. This is anathema to a pickup truck, which should feel robust in the driver's hands, and it can be difficult to find a comfortable spot in the 2019 Tacoma. Luckily, headroom and legroom are otherwise very good, even for those over six feet in height.

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The Tacoma is one of the roomier small pickups available on the market, offering lots of space for the driver and front passenger. That continues into the back seats, especially in the Crew Cab option, which offers comfortable seating for up to three. The rear seat has good outboard positions and a middle spot that can be used in a pinch. Child safety restraints for safety seats and boosters are also well-placed in the 2019 Tacoma.

Getting in and out of the 2019 Toyota Tacoma can be difficult for some, given the little trucks height, but the wide-opening doors and optional rails or steps can help. Grab handles at all four doors are also a nice touch.

Visibility for the driver is very good, with all points open and easy to manage. STorage is also good, especially at the front where the driver and front passenger have a large center bin and door pockets and such for extra space. All Tacoma models come standard with a GoPro camera mount on the interior of the front windshield.

The rear cargo bed is nicely designed with several options for adding tie-down convenience or covers for the load.

Technology (8/10)

The Tacoma uses Toyota's Entune infotainment interface via a touchscreen with large visual buttons. The 2019 Tacoma has an easy-to-understand system that is not difficult to learn. Smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth works well, but the only other option is to use Toyota's proprietary app for mirroring from a phone. That is limited and not very useful. There is neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto available.

Only one USB port is standard and another isn't gained until several trim updates are made first. We do like Toyota's well-done voice control and hands-free options.

Fuel Economy (6/10)

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma has disappointing fuel economy returns. The EPA rates the truck at 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for rear-wheel drive models and 17 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway for four-wheel drive models.

The real world says different, however, with the 2019 Tacoma getting closer to 15 mpg with 4WD and the base model's four-cylinder engine fares little better than its V6 upgrade at only 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Those opting for that or the rear-wheel drive V6 will still see smaller numbers than that in average returns.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

Last year, the Tacoma had disappointing reliability expectations in consumer surveys done by J.D. Power and Associates. This year, the kinks seem to have been ironed out as the Vehicle Dependability Study has given the 2019 Tacoma a rating of "Better Than Most." This rating is more in line with what's expected of the Toyota brand on the whole. As of this writing, one recall has been issued for the Tacoma.

Safety (9/10)

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma has received very good marks for its crash test results. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have given the Tacoma good scores.

The NHTSA has rated the 2019 Tacoma with four stars overall for crash tests. These include four stars each for frontal and rollover tests and five stars for side crash test results.

The IIHS has given the 2019 Toyota Tacoma top scores of "Good" on all crash tests as well as a top score of "Superior" for advanced safety equipment.

Standard safety equipment on the Tacoma includes lane departure warning, frontal crash warnings, and more with Toyota Safety Sense being standard equipment.

Performance (9/10)

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma has two engine options and two drivetrain choices. The base engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that outputs 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission, but doesn't offer much else. It's fine for around town driving as a workhorse, but the base engine and transmission will struggle to get up to highway speeds or haul heavier loads.

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The upgrade engine for the 2019 Tacoma is a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine that boasts 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. This engine utilizes a six-speed automatic transmission. The V6 offers smooth power delivery and lots of get-er-done torque. It won't hurry onto the freeway, but it won't lag behind either. It's a good, strong offering that fits the size and expected capabilities of the Tacoma very well.

Most of the dedicated off-road versions of the 2019 Toyota Tacoma are powered by the V6 by default. When equipped, the Tacoma is the best off-pavement go-getting in the segment with plenty of goodies in the TRD Pro package to make it capable of following even the most tricked-out Jeep along trails and into the wilderness.

Towing for the 2019 Tacoma is rated at up to 6,800 pounds, when equipped, with cargo listed at 1,620 pounds maximum. The Tacoma is a good work truck when properly equipped for it.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma is well-priced at its base and mid points, but gets expensive when the upper-end and off-road packages are opted. Resale values for the Tacoma are very high--the highest in the segment--so that helps the value proposition immensely.

High sales and demand mean that it's rare for Toyota to put cash on the hood as incentives, especially in the V6-equipped 4x4 models. Even so, it's hard to argue with the expected price point for the things included with the Tacoma at any trim level.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (65/80, 81%)

The 2019 Tacoma is the best-seller in the midsize pickup truck segment. It competes with other offerings that are almost all larger in size, and thus less "midsize" than expected. The only exception to that is the Nissan Frontier, which is far older in design than is the Tacoma. The Frontier is compelling for its price point and ruggedness, however, so cross-comparing may be smart. Other offerings, such as the Chevrolet Colorado, are much larger in size when parked next to the Tacoma, nearing full-sized pickup truck bulk and price point. The Honda Ridgeline is also comparable to the Tacoma, though it lacks the off-pavement focus.

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma is a best-seller in the midsize truck segment for good reason. Few will regret purchasing one. We recommend shopping the packages to find an exact fit, however, as much of the Tacoma's appeal is in its versatility.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Crew Cab - 4WD
SR 4WD SR Double Cab 5' Bed V6 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 31665
SR 4WD SR Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 32115
SR5 4WD SR5 Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 34990
TRD Sport 4WD TRD Sport Double Cab 5' Bed V6 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 35135
TRD Off Road 4WD TRD Off Road Double Cab 5' Bed V6 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 35135
TRD Sport 4WD TRD Sport Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 36765
TRD Off Road 4WD TRD Off Road Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 36765
Limited 4WD Limited Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 40865
TRD Pro 4WD TRD Pro Double Cab 5' Bed V6 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 42960
TRD Pro 4WD TRD Pro Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 45665
SR5 4WD SR5 Double Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 35490
TRD Sport 4WD TRD Sport Double Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 37375
TRD Off Road 4WD TRD Off Road Double Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 37375
Crew Cab - RWD
SR 2WD SR Double Cab 5' Bed I4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 26680
SR5 2WD SR5 Double Cab 5' Bed I4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 28515
SR5 2WD SR5 Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 31915
TRD Sport 2WD TRD Sport Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 33800
TRD Off Road 2WD TRD Off Road Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 33800
Limited 2WD Limited Double Cab 5' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 37790
SR5 2WD SR5 Double Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 32415
TRD Sport 2WD TRD Sport Double Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 34300
Extended Cab - 4WD
SR 4WD SR Access Cab 6' Bed I4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder 4WD 28925
SR5 4WD SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed I4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder 4WD 30700
SR 4WD SR Access Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 31575
SR5 4WD SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 34110
TRD Sport 4WD TRD Sport Access Cab 6' Bed V6 MT (Natl) V6 4WD 34520
TRD Sport 4WD TRD Sport Access Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 35830
TRD Off Road 4WD TRD Off Road Access Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 4WD 35830
Extended Cab - RWD
SR 2WD SR Access Cab 6' Bed I4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 25850
SR5 2WD SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed I4 AT (Natl) 4 Cylinder RWD 27625
SR 2WD SR Access Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 28110
SR5 2WD SR5 Access Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 30770
TRD Sport 2WD TRD Sport Access Cab 6' Bed V6 AT (Natl) V6 RWD 32545

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2019 Toyota Tacoma ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2019 Toyota Tacoma rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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