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2013 Toyota Tacoma Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Toyota Tacoma was new.


Performance: 7.8

While one test driver says that the 2013 Toyota Tacoma can be a little difficult to maneuver around town, he also notes that it’s still easier to drive than a full-size pickup. The Tacoma also earns points for its good fuel economy and credible off-road performance.

  • "In Consumer Guide testing, we averaged 16.8 mpg in a 4WD Double Cab, which isn't bad in a test that included mostly city driving." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Off-road, the four-wheel-drive Tacoma is an exceptional performer." -- Edmunds 
  • "From behind the wheel, a 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab pickup definitely handles more easily than a full-size truck, but don't expect miracles. Around town it can still seem a little bulky and clumsy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This is plenty of truck for 95 percent of truck buyers, everyone who isn't hauling plywood or pulling 40-foot goosenecks." -- Car and Driver (2005)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2013 Tacoma comes with a 159-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a five-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic transmission are optional. Access and Double Cab models get the same base engine, as well as an optional 236-horsepower V6, which comes with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. The EPA reports that the 2013 Tacoma gets up to 21/25 mpg city/highway, which is pretty good for the class. Four-wheel drive and V6-powered models earn slightly lower estimates. When properly equipped, the 2013 Tacoma can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Most reviewers have tested V6-powered Tacomas and say they offer plenty of power. Additionally, one test driver notes that fuel economy with the V6 isn’t much worse than the four-cylinder model. The automatic transmission also earns praise for its smooth, quick gear changes, and one test driver writes that the manual transmission shifts smoothly.

  • "Only V6-powered Tacomas have been made available for evaluation. They're plenty strong. The manual transmission has a crisp, positive feel, which is not something you would normally expect from a pickup. The automatic shifts smoothly and responds quickly to throttle inputs." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "In Edmunds performance testing, a V6 Tacoma Double Cab covered zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds -- suitably quick for a midsize truck." -- Edmunds 
  • "Smoother and stronger than the standard 159-horsepower 4-cylinder - and without much penalty in fuel economy - the 236-horsepower V6 engine answers eagerly to the throttle. Both the standard 6-speed manual transmission and the optional … automatic work smoothly." -- Kelley Blue Book 

Handling and Braking

In quick turns, one reviewer notices a little body lean in 4WD and PreRunner models, which have a higher ground clearance and larger tires. However, he also writes that the 2013 Toyota Tacoma handles well compared with other compact pickups. The Tacoma’s brakes work well, but one critic says that the spongy brake pedal doesn't inspire confidence. While most models offer a decent ride, another critic notes that models with the TRD off-road suspension are a little firmer than some shoppers might like.

  • "Among its peers, Tacoma's handling easily matches others in the class. The high-riding 4WD and rear-drive PreRunner models lean a fair amount in fast turns, and when braking, they exhibit quite a bit of nosedive. Neither are deal-breakers." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Braking is the only area where the Tacoma comes up merely average. Its stopping power is acceptable, but the soft pedal feel doesn't inspire much confidence." -- Edmunds 
  • "… ride quality is generally good though some payload in the bed helps, especially if you've specified one of the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) off-road suspension packages." -- Kelley Blue Book 

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