One year after a long-awaited redesign, the 2017 Toyota Tacoma continues where it left off: as the best-selling small pickup truck on the market. Closer in dimensions to midsize than compact, the current model welcomes back the TRD Pro, one of three such models attributed to Toyota Racing Development.
In all, six Tacoma models are available. Standard 4x2 and available 4x4 configurations, extended and double cab layouts, a pair of bed options, and two engine choices await buyers. Toyota offers five- or six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
What's New for 2017
Fresh off its 2016 makeover, the significant news this year is the return of the TRD Pro, the Tacoma’s most capable off-road model. Offered previously only in 2015, the latest iteration is based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab Short Bed and is outfitted with a TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate, 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires, and special lighting enhancements. Interior embellishments include TRD badging, a power sliding rear window with privacy glass, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
Choosing Your Toyota Tacoma
Toyota no longer offers a regular cab Tacoma. You have a choice of extended (Access Cab) with a 60.5-inch bed and Crew Cab models with 60.5- or 73.7-inch beds. The Access Cab offers a pair of rear-hinged doors and a folding rear seat. The Double Cab offers four conventional doors and a rear bench seat. Seating is for four in the Access Cab and for up to five in the Double Cab.
All models come with a front skid plate, 16 inch or larger wheels, a deck rail system, a composite bed, and a sliding rear window. Also included is Entune audio, Bluetooth wireless technology, a rearview camera, a GoPro windshield mount, and power windows and door locks.
The standard engine is a 2.7-liter inline-four making 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Also available is a 3.5-liter V6 making 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque.
A Class-IV towing hitch receiver is available, but comes standard with the TRD Pro. The four-cylinder offers a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds; the V6 up to 6,800 pounds.
Fuel economy for the Tacoma 4x2 equipped with the four-cylinder engine is 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Models equipped with the V6 engine make an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
With no fewer than 31 possible configurations to consider, Toyota offers a dazzling number of choices for Tacoma shoppers. Choose your model by first selecting your preferred cab layout, followed by your engine of choice. Narrow your list further to 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains and you’ll arrive at the right Tacoma for you.
Though it’s gone through updates and redesigns, the Tacoma has maintained the same basic rugged, do-it-all pickup formula since 2005. In 2016, Toyota gave its small truck a fresh look, an updated powertrain, and enhanced off-road credentials, but maintained the Tacoma's formula from over a decade ago. All this carries into the 2017 model year, which also sees the return of the even more off-road-ready TRD Pro model along with a few smaller tweaks.
How does the 2017 Toyota Tacoma stand up in a resurgent midsize pickup segment? Continue reading to find out.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2017 Toyota Tacoma, like a lot of trucks, has a wide price range, with six trims covering $25,315 to $43,920 ($960 destination fee included). Because of the additional creature comforts it offers over the base SR trim, we expect the SR5 trim to be the most common among buyers. This trim comes standard with:
Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming
Variable intermittent windshield wipers
Chrome bumper and a chrome-accented grille
15-inch steel wheels
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Entune Audio Plus infotainment system with Scout Navigation Link and Siri Eyes Free
Six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM
Buyers looking to make the SR5 a little more stylish can add the SR5 Appearance Package ($685), which includes 16-inch alloy wheels and color-keyed overfenders. There is also a wide range of standalone options, like the 5-inch chrome oval tube steps ($535), cast-aluminum running boards ($795), and all-weather floor liners and doorsill protectors ($209).
Buyers looking for something with a little more off-road cred can go with the TRD Off-Road model, which runs from $33,970 to $40,960 ($960 destination fee included) and adds a terrain selector, crawl control, and an off-road suspension that allows for more wheel articulation.
There are just two engines available in the 2017 Tacoma. The standard powerplant is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that produces a modest 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The optional engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that pumps in 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. This engine can mate with one of two six-speed transmissions: a manual or an automatic. Both engines are also available with rear- or four-wheel drive.
Small Toyota trucks like the Tacoma are among the most unkillable vehicles on the planet.
Plenty capable off the beaten path, especially the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models.
Upgraded springs and dampers for a softer ride and increased control.
Four-cylinder engine struggles at high speeds and when hauling.
Quiet cabin for a pickup truck.
Toyota paid close attention to the surfaces and textures.
Plenty of great tech, comfort, and convenience options to choose from.
Has a not-so-comfortable driving position.
Seat cushions are not comfortable and are a little shallow.
Limited head room makes things tight for taller drivers.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
We all know just how reliable the Tacoma is off-road and on the job site, but its on-road manners are quite impressive too. Its ride is soft without feeling like it's floating, and its peaceful cabin is not something we’d expect from a pickup. Adding in the V6 engine with the automatic transmission smooths it out even more.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
While the cabin is peaceful, the uncomfortable seats nearly ruin it. Not only is it hard to find a comfortable driving position, but the lack of give in the seats make things a little achy over time.
The Bottom Line
The 2017 Tacoma checks a lot of the boxes midsize pickup truck buyers require, and it has for some time now. It’s rugged, has plenty of power with the V6, has a nice ride and plenty of available features. However, it does miss the mark big time in seating comfort, which could push some undecided buyers to more posh models, like the higher trim levels of the GMC Canyon or Honda Ridgeline.
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