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$10,591 - $20,757
$17,125 - $28,085

Pros & Cons

  • X-Runner trim's agile handling
  • Good fuel economy for the class
  • First-rate cabin quality
  • Double Cab's spacious rear seats
  • Rough ride with TRD off-road package
  • Weak brakes




Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.4
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2012 Toyota Tacoma Overview

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, and reviewers said it has adequate power, provided you’re not carrying heavy loads. Test drivers recommended the available V6 engine for those who want quicker acceleration or more hauling power. With either engine, a manual or automatic transmission is available. According to the EPA, a four-cylinder, rear-wheel drive Tacoma with an automatic transmission gets 19/24 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. V6 models get up to 17/21 mpg, which is also on the high end for the class. Test drivers said the base 2012 Tacoma has a smooth ride and composed handling, and added that the X-Runner trim, which has a sport-tuned suspension system, has very agile handling. According to reviewers, models with the TRD off-road package are capable off-roaders, but have a less forgiving ride over broken pavement. Some critics mentioned that the Tacoma’s brakes don’t feel very strong. When properly equipped, the Tacoma can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Automotive journalists agreed that the 2012 Toyota Tacoma has one of the nicest interiors in the class, with top-notch materials and excellent assembly quality. The 2012 Tacoma is available as a three-seat Regular Cab model, four-seat Access Cab or five-seat Double Cab. The Tacoma has comfortable front seats, reviewers wrote. The Access Cab has two fold-down jump seats in the back, and critics said they are very cramped and uncomfortable. However, most agreed that the Double Cab model has ample rear legroom. Reviewers said that the Tacoma’s audio and climate controls have a straightforward layout and are easy to use. A four-speaker audio system and an auxiliary input are standard. Available features include cruise control, power windows, power-adjustable mirrors, power door locks, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, satellite radio, navigation, an audio system with JBL speakers, Toyota’s Entune infotainment system and a USB port.

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma was named our 2012 Best Compact Pickup Truck for the Money when it was new.

Other Trucks to Consider

Reviewers said the 2012 Nissan Frontier has lively handling and a powerful available V6 engine that gives it robust acceleration. They found the available Utili-Track system helpful for securing cargo in the bed, and the Frontier is available with leather-trimmed seats, which are unavailable on the 2012 Tacoma.

Automotive journalists said the 2012 Honda Ridgeline’s comfortable ride and agile handling contribute to its car-like driving dynamics. They appreciated the Ridgeline’s spacious rear seats, the added storage of the lockable in-bed trunk and the utility of its tailgate that can either be lowered or swung open to one side.

Compare the Tacoma, Frontier and Ridgeline »

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