Toyota
Tacoma
2012
Go
Zac Estrada
Automotive Editor - March 29, 2012

2012 Toyota Tacoma OVERVIEW

The Tacoma comes in a number of different cab sizes and bed lengths, as well as trim levels. The Regular Cab is only available as a base model with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder, three-passenger bench seat and a 6-foot bed. But it can be had with either two or four-wheel drive and with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Opting for a V6 4x4 Double Cab sinks fuel economy to as low as 16 MPG city and 21 MPG highway – some versions of Ford's F-150 with the EcoBoost V6 do better.

V6 Access Cabs and Double Cabs can be had with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic. Access Cab has two small doors and two small seats behind the front passengers for four-passenger capacity. Double Cabs have four full doors and seating for five passengers and most come with a five-foot bed. The Base Tacoma is a no-frills work truck, while PreRunner models get more cosmetic enhancements and off-road gear to look like the 4x4 models. The X-Runner is a lowered, sportier version of the Access Cab that has two-wheel drive and the V6, 18-inch alloy wheels and a hood scoop. The TRD Off-Road Package on 4x4 models adds upgraded mechanicals for more serious adventuring.

The Nissan Frontier is the Tacoma's direct competitor. It combines rugged good looks with a strong V6. The Tacoma beats it by offering a regular cab for drivers who want to prioritize bed length and offers superior in-car technology with the Toyota Entune system. The Honda Ridgeline is less direct. Its unibody platform comes from the Pilot and Odyssey and it comes only as a four-door with one bed length. The Ridgeline is more carlike than the Tacoma and offers unique features like a lockable cubby in the bed. But the bed is shorter than ones offered on the Tacoma and it has less towing capacity and off-road capability.

Thanks to its size, powertrain options and wide array of cab sizes and trim levels, the Tacoma remains the perfect pick for buyers shopping for a pickup truck but who want to avoid the bulk and poor economy from full-size models. The strong V6 and availability of both a tuner-looking X-Runner and serious 4x4 models means there's likely to be a Tacoma for every buyer's tastes.

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