2019 Toyota Tacoma

Performance


MSRP
$25,850
U.S. News Best Price Program

2019 Toyota Tacoma Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.0

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma is composed and capable on the highway, especially with the V6 engine. Its ride is firm but mostly smooth, and this Toyota has some of the best off-road capabilities among small trucks.

  • "On road, the new Tacoma in any grade is quieter and easier going than previous versions. The ride motions are better controlled, the V-6 significantly more subdued, and the steering better mannered if not particularly communicative." -- Car and Driver (2016)
  • "Changes to the suspension plus the tweaks to the frame make the 2016 Tacoma feel more planted and more stable on-road. Handling feels better, and the ride is comfortable and compliant." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "Now structurally more rigid and better sealed against the elements and noise, the Tacoma conveys a much greater sense of solidity and refinement on the road." -- Motor Trend (2016)

Acceleration and Power

A 159-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine powers the base Tacoma. This engine is fine for daily commutes, but it struggles when the Tacoma hauls heavy loads or climbs steep hills. A 3.5-liter V6 engine solves these issues. It makes 278 horsepower and produces smooth acceleration and ample power. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard, and a six-speed manual is available.

With the four-cylinder engine, the Tacoma gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. As is typical, the V6 earns a lower rating: 19/24 mpg. Both estimates are below average for the class.

  • For most drivers, the 159-horsepower 2.7-liter engine can get the job done, but don’t look for stellar passing power when towing or climbing steep grades. While at first glance fuel-economy figures may seem attractive, they’re not all that much better than what the V6 delivers, leading us to suggest that if you can afford the extra cost, the V6 is the best choice. With 278 horsepower on tap, the 3.5-liter V6 moves the Tacoma with brisk bursts of acceleration." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The Tacoma's 3.5-liter V6 engine is the way to go if you'll be doing a lot of towing and hauling. Unfortunately, it needs high rpm to do its best work, and the optional automatic transmission seems to favor high gears, which keeps the engine turning at low revs where torque is thin. Also, the automatic transmission tends to hunt between gears on freeway inclines, making it more of a chore than expected to keep up with traffic." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The new V6 is smooth, pulls strongly to redline and sounds much sweeter. Move the cool console shifter over to 'sport' and it locks out fifth and sixth gear and really wakes up the trans. We don't have hard acceleration times, but the new Tacoma feels noticeably quicker than the old one." -- Autoweek (2016)

Handling and Braking

The Tacoma has a firm but smooth ride. It’s a passable daily driver and commuter, and its steering is responsive. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while four-wheel drive is available.

  • The Tacoma’s ride is firm but not jarring, and the steering is impressively responsive." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • There's not much you can do to help the brakes. The brake pedal response is abrupt and annoying in routine driving. Even so, you do get a pretty decent ride quality with the Tacoma. Though the TRD Off-Road's suspension and 16-inch tires are optimized for rough terrain, we like the way it soaks up the bumps on pavement, too. The Limited is noticeably firmer with its 18-inch tires and road-tuned suspension setup, though certainly not uncomfortable. Either way, we applaud the Tacoma's steering, which offers an intuitive buildup of effort and good on-center feel." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • Handling and ride comfort in the Tacoma is predictably good in most situations. If you're going to be driving your Tacoma as a car stand-in, pick a tire/wheel setup that matches your intended use." -- Autotrader (2016)

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds and has a payload capacity of 1,620 pounds. The former is unimpressive when weighed against other compact pickups, but the latter exceeds most rivals.

  • "All Tacoma models are rated to tow 3,500 pounds, and with an optional V6 Tow Prep Package installed, some can tow up to 6,800 pounds. Sway control is standard on [the] Tacoma this year, which is a very good thing no matter what size trailer you're towing." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "Toyota has the Tundra for heavier towing jobs, but a 2016 Tacoma V6 with the Tow package is no slouch." -- Edmunds (2016)

Off-Roading

Every Tacoma offers four-wheel drive, but some trims – like the TRD models – are particularly adept at off-roading. The TRD Off-Road features a locking rear differential, active traction control, multi-terrain select, crawl control, and skid plates, among other adventuring equipment. The TRD Pro adds standard four-wheel drive and even more off-road equipment, and it has 9.4 inches of ground clearance. As far as off-road proficiency goes, the Tacoma is one of the class leaders.

  • "The TRD Pro remains one of the best factory off-road-ready trucks you can buy. The Pro comes standard with unique hardware like Fox off-road shocks, a quarter-inch-thick aluminum skidplate, electronically locking rear differential, 5-mode Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control plus more ground clearance than the Chevy Colorado ZR2." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "I'm happy to report that the new off-road-specific tech that's baked into the 2016 Toyota Tacoma is fully up to the challenge of clawing its way up, around, over, and through the toughest obstacles I could throw at it. An experienced off-roader can do just as well, but the Tacoma is now packed with computerized brains to make obstacles disappear for anyone who can at least keep the steering wheel pointed in the proper direction." -- Autoblog (2016)
  • "During our afternoon with the Tacoma TRD Off-Road we effortlessly climbed up and then came back down a hill raked at more than 40 degrees, plowed through a boulder-covered trail and climbed over everything in-between. But perhaps most impressive, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road is capable of crawling out of a sand pit, even when buried up to its axles." -- Left Lane News (2016)
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2019 Toyota Tacoma

MSRP: $25,850 - $45,665

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