Video: Toyota Tacoma is a fine workhorse but lousy family vehicle

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Serving as an alternative to full-sized pickup trucks, the Toyota Tacoma is well suited to handling cargo hauling and fairly challenging off-roading. But as we were reminded with our recent crew-cab test truck, the Tacoma makes for a lousy family vehicle.

Many years ago, pickup trucks were meant to be pure workhorses, but today, many serve as daily commuters—some with very luxurious accommodations and full creature comforts. It is here that the Tacoma struggles.

Frankly, the Tacoma feels/is outdated. It was redesigned back in 2005, and it remains rough riding, with clumsy handling and long stopping distances. Further, the high floor and low roof make access awkward and the driving position uncomfortable. Things are worse for rear-seat passengers, where leg room is limited and the seat cushion is low. The interior feels cheap in places, but at least most controls are simple.


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Fitted with the 236-hp, 4.0-liter V6, our 4x4 returned just 17 mpg overall. The Tacoma performed well off-road and climbed our challenging rock hill with ease. That's impressive, given that our truck doesn't have the available TRD off-roading package that adds off-road tires, hill descent control, and a locking rear differential.

After weeks of testing, the results are decidedly mixed. And the bottom line is that the Tacoma scored too low in our testing to earn our Recommendation.

Watch our video below for more highlights from our test, and read the complete Tacoma road test for the full details, including reliability, owner costs, owner satisfaction, and pricing.


—Jeff Bartlett

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