Dependable Midsize Pickup: 2017 Toyota Tacoma

The 2017 Toyota Tacoma is a leader in the midsize segment and for a good reason. Toyota built a smaller truck with exceptional dependability and off-highway capability. This truck is for more than hauling your construction materials; it combines performance with the off-road lifestyle you desire.

Prices range from $24,575 – $43,215 depending which trim and options you choose. With six available models and a wide range of options there is a truck available to suit any driver’s budget.

In addition, you’ll find the Toyota Tacoma listed as Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value in the Midsize Pickup Truck segment. It also won awards for Best-Selling Compact Pickup in America and Best-Selling Midsize Pickup for the last 10 years. The 2017 Toyota Tacoma was also named Best Overall Value of the Year by IntelliChoice, as well as having the offered Double Cab dubbed an “Excellent Value Winner.”

Performance Qualities

The 2017 Toyota Tacoma comes with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that offers 159 horsepower. This can be paired with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. There is also the option to choose a 278-hp 3.5-liter V6 with an automatic transmission, which can go zero-to-60 mph in 7.7 seconds, according to Car & Driver.

Safety Features

The 2017 Toyota Tacoma comes with a wide array of safety features. Key among them is Toyota’s Star Safety System — standard on all models — which includes Anti-Lock Brake System, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control, and Smart Stop Technology.

In addition to the Star Safety System, the Tacoma offers an innovative approach to door construction using high-strength steel, which hold up better when faced with a side impact. Plus, the rear parking assist sonar helps to determine the distance between your Tacoma and other objects, giving you an audible warning when you get close to any object. Those looking for more rear monitoring, the Tacoma Limited and TRD Sport include blind spot monitoring as part of a Rear Cross Traffic Alert System.

On top of all that, drivers are provided with ToyotaCare, a no-cost maintenance plan, with new leases or purchases. The plan is valid for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. In addition to the plan, roadside assistance is also provided for two years with unlimited miles.

Entertainment and Special Features

With a variety of trim options, the Tacoma comes equipped with many features meant to please anyone’s taste.

SR Model

Many will look at the SR as a bare-bones model as it is modestly equipped. You can choose between the extended cab with a 6.1-foot bed and a crew cab with a five-foot bed. A two-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive are also offered.

The SR features a dark grill and 16-inch steel wheels. There is a sliding rear window, movable cleat tie-down system, backup camera, and tough composite bed.

Inside the SR, you get four-way cloth seats with driver-side lumbar adjustment. The steering wheel telescopes, tilts, and has control buttons for the radio. The Entune stereo supports Bluetooth and USB.

On the windshield of the SR, you’ll find a built-in GoPro camera mount for your trips off-road. Both cruise control and remote keyless entry are offered in a package option.

SR5 Model

As the most purchased model, the SR5 offers a long wheelbase to pair with the crew cab and 6.1-foot bed. It also features a chrome rear bumper and some chrome on the charcoal-colored grille.

The 16-inch wheels can be upgraded to alloy, and the front bumper is equipped with fog lights. Standard with this model are keyless entry, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a sliding rear window with privacy glass.

Between the gauges, you’ll find a 4.2-inch information screen. The SR5 also has the enhanced Entune audio system which supports satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free voice control, and smartphone-enabled navigation via the Scout GPS app.

TRD Sport

The TRD Sport comes with the same cab and bed configurations that come with the SR5, but are limited to the V6 engine. The two-wheel drive option has the six-speed automatic while the four-wheel drive option offers the automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

This model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, turn signals in the mirror housings, body-color fender flares, and a hood scoop. There is also a 400-watt power outlet in the bed along with a sliding rear window that is power-actuated. They are also equipped with smart entry and push button start with the automatic transmission. For entertainment purposes, the Entune premium audio system features a seven-inch touchscreen.

TRD Off-Road

Offered with the same engine and configuration options as the TRD Sport, the TRD Off-Road has a few different visual aspects. These include the chrome rear bumper, knobby all-terrain tires on 16-inch alloy wheels, extra skid plates, Bilstein monotube shocks, and an additional off-road traction control system that offers multiple terrain settings with crawl control.

Both the TRD Off-Road and Sport can be upgraded to include a sunroof, heated seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, as well as automatic climate control. In addition, you can add the JBL speaker upgrade with a subwoofer.

Limited

The Limited is only offered with the V6 engine and short bed. You can still choose between the two or four-wheel drive. The Limited edition also features 18-inch wheels with lower-profile tires as well as body-color flares and rear bumper. Upgrades include the leather-trimmed seats and the JBL speaker package.

TRD Pro

This option is only available as a crew cab with a short bed and four-wheel drive. While the V6 is standard, you can still choose between the manual or automatic transmission. The black throwback grille offers the word “Toyota” spelled in bold, capital letters. It also features the black headlight and taillight bezels, LED fog lights, and black textured fender flares.

This model is a mix of a few trims as it includes the 16-inch knobby tires from the TRD Off-Road, the hood scoop from the Sport, the traction management from the TRD Off-Road, and the luxury interior features from the Limited.

Image via Toyota Canada

Interior Room

The attractive interior is laid out well and the controls are easy to use. There is plenty of space for the people up front, but there isn’t a lot of room to accommodate taller drivers or passengers.

The downside is the tall step up to cab, which can be difficult for some. It also features a slightly uncomfortable driving posture for some.

The Competition

The 2017 Toyota Tacoma easily rides alongside the Chevrolet Colorado and Honda Ridgeline in test comparisons. All three models have many of the same features with a close price range. The difference with the Tacoma is the vast variety of options that can be chosen, which makes this model uniquely yours.

Fuel Efficiency

The 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 averages 21mpg combined (19 city/24 highway). This is slightly higher than the Chevrolet Colorado, but less than the Honda Ridgeline.

Final Thoughts

While the Tacoma does seem to have a lack of response in the V6, it is able to get the job done. Between the suspension, traction management, and tires, you’ll experience a great off-road adventure. If you are looking for the best in off-roading, the two models that offer the majority of off-road gear are the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro.

Pros

  • Attractive interior
  • V6 Engine can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission
  • Off-Road capability on many models
  • Truck bed offers movable tie-down cleats and a power outlet

Cons

  • Sluggish response
  • Tall step-up height
  • Seats not comfortable for tall driver/passengers
Image via Toyota Canada