2013 Tacoma New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Tacoma is the most popular of the midsize/compact pickup market. They're really aren't any compact pickups any more, they're all midsize. The Tacoma was named Most Dependable Midsize Pickup in the J.D. Power & Associates 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study, and Intellichoice called it a 2011 Best Overall Value in the compact pickup segment. New Car Test Drive considers the 2013 Toyota Tacoma the best pickup in its class and the best for rugged terrain, durability and reliability.
Tacoma offers a comfortable cab, a refined ride, and quality construction. Its on-road handing is responsive; its off-road capability is proven. The Tacoma Double Cab delivers offers rear-seat comfort for two additional passengers with enough room to rival a small sedan. Properly equipped Tacoma V6 models can to tow up to 6,500 pounds.
Tacoma not only owns the segment but practically is the segment. While Toyota sells more than 100,000 Tacomas a year, the other manufacturers have abandoned the small pickup business in America due to lack of demand. The Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, and GMC Canyon are reportedly going out of production, Ford finally stopped making the Ranger, Suzuki is no longer in the U.S., Dodge Dakota exited the stage years ago. The Honda Ridgeline, a much more expensive vehicle, offers carlike handling, strong performance and good fuel economy, but it doesn't offer the off-road capability or toughness of the Tacoma.
As a result, Tacoma hasn't changed much since its last major redesign for the 2005 model year. For 2012, Toyota treated the Tacoma to a new look inside and out, with new and more sophisticated audio choices. The 2013 Tacoma lineup includes a new Limited Package, featuring 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, chrome grille trim, chrome rear bumper, SofTex-trimmed front sport seats with heat, metallic tone instrument panel trim, leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, dual sun visors with mirrors and extenders, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with rear camera display, outside temperature gauge, and HomeLink universal transceiver. Pickup buyers can rejoice, however, because the 2013 Tacoma comes in a wide range of configurations to please a wide range of needs ranging from basic work truck with four-cylinder engine and 2WD to a loaded V6 4WD Double Cab Long Bed. The base Tacoma excels at durability and reliability and is among the few regular-cab pickups still available.
All Tacomas come with air conditioning. Audio systems begin with six-speaker AM/FM/CD display audio (four speakers on Regular Cab) with USB Port, auxiliary input, and Bluetooth phone connectivity; and range all the way up to a seven-speaker JBL GreenEdge system with navigation, and Toyota Entune.
Also standard on all models is Toyota's Star Safety System, which includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TC). An Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto-LSD), which uses brake intervention in place of a mechanical-type limited-slip to help reduce wheel-spin, is standard on all Tacoma models with the exception of those fitted with TRD Off-Road packages, like our test model; those will have a separate locking differential.
Toyota Racing Development, or TRD, offers myriad accessories to further improve on-road performance or off-road capability. A new TRD Baja Series features high-performance Bilstein off-road shocks, special Eibach springs, 16-inch beadlock wheels with BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires, sports exhaust and special graphics.
Model Overview The 2013 Toyota Tacoma is available in 20 different configurations, including Regular Cab, Access Cab (extended cab) and Double Cab (crew cab) body styles. Regular and Access Cabs come with six-foot beds; Double Cab comes with the choice of a shorter five-foot bed or a standard-size six-footer. The base engine is a 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder mated to a five-speed manual transmission; a four-speed automatic is optional ($900). A 4.0-liter V6 is standard on X-Runners and 4WD Double Cabs, and optional on some, but not all, other models.
Tacoma Regular Cab ($17,625) comes standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA four-speaker sound system, tachometer, digital clock, two 12-volt power points, fuel warning light, tire-pressure monitor, service reminder indicator, dome lamp, rear mudguards, 15-inch steel wheels and a full-size spare tire.
Tacoma Access Cab ($20,415) and Double Cab ($22,525) models add more standard features, including bucket seats and functional consoles for the floor and ceiling. Access Cabs have power windows and locks; Double Cabs add power mirrors. Access and Double Cabs also get six-speaker audio systems. Double Cab V6 models offer a premium JBL system ($2005) with amplified subwoofer, Bluetooth, XM, and Toyota Entune. The audio upgrade includes steering wheel controls.
Tacoma PreRunner models are 2WD, but feature the high stance and general appearance of a 4WD truck. (Desert racers use this style of truck to scout or pre-run the course before the big race.) The four-cylinder Access Cab with 4-speed automatic transmission ($22,075) is the entry-level PreRunner. The V6 is optional ($1435) on PreRunner Access Cabs and Double Cabs.
Four-wheel-drive is available throughout the line, in Regular, Access and Double Cabs. Four-cylinder and V6 engines, along with manual and automatic transmissions are available, including a 5-speed manual and 6-speed manual, or 4-speed automatic and 5-speed automatic.
A Convenience Package for Access Cabs ($1005) and Double Cabs ($790) adds rear privacy glass, a sliding rear window, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, power mirrors and remote keyless entry.
Tacoma X-Runner ($26,775) features unique styling cues and a chassis tuned for on-road performance. Its name refers to the additional X-shaped brace added to stiffen its frame against high cornering loads. X-Runner comes with 18-inch wheels and is offered only in the Access Cab style, and only with the V6 and 6-speed manual.
SR5 packages bundle styling and comfort features, including color-keyed overfenders and front bumper, chrome grille surround and chrome rear bumper, bucket seats with lumbar support, and a long list of car-like conveniences. These packages can be added to any Access Cab or Double Cab.
The TRD Sport Package starts with SR5 equipment and adds or substitutes P265/65R17 tires, sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, water-resistant sport seats, overhead console and with compass and outside temperature, and turn signals integrated into the outside mirrors, plus a hood scoop, lots of body-color trim, and its own graphics package. The TRD Sport Package is available on PreRunners and on Access and Double Cabs with V6 and 4WD.
The TRD Off-Road Package starts with the SR5 equipment and adds or substitutes BF Goodrich P265/70R16 OWL tires, locking rear differential, off-road suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, engine skidplate, sport seats, overhead console with compass and outside temperature, heavy-duty front tow hook, 115v/400w deck-mounted power point, and unique TRD graphics. TRD Off-Road is also available only on PreRunners and on V6 model 4x4 Access and Double Cabs, but not on Double Cab Long Beds. The TRD Baja Series features TRD Bilstein high-performance off-road shocks (66mm front shocks with Eibach red coil springs and 50mm rear shocks with remote reservoir), 16-inch TRD beadlock-style wheels with LT265/70R16 tires, BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires, TRD cat-back exhaust, vehicle side graphics, TRD exterior badge.
A Limited Package ($6695), available only on Double Cabs with V6 and automatic transmission, adds all the luxury and convenience goodies, including SofTex-trimmed four-way adjustable front sport seats with heat, metallic tone instrument panel trim, leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels with P265/60R18 tires, chrome grille surround, chrome rear bumper, variable speed windshield wipers, dual sun visors with mirrors and extenders, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with rear camera display, outside temperature gauge, and HomeLink universal transceiver; all the content of Convenience Package; the JBL stereo; and more.
An optional tow package ($650) for V6 models comprises a 130-amp alternator, heavy-duty battery, transmission oil cooler, and a Class IV hitch with seven-pin connector.
Safety features that come on all models include anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control, and the Automatic Limited-slip Differential. Models with automatic transmission also include Hill-start Assist Control, and TRD Off-Road models add Downhill Assist Control. In addition, front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, and side-curtain airbags are standard on all models.