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2018 Toyota Tacoma Buyer's Guide: Get answers to your truck questions

Autoblog logo Autoblog 5/19/2018 Nick Kurczewski
a blue car parked in front of a body of water 2018 Toyota Tacoma Buyer's Guide: Get answers to your truck questions

Don't let its small(er) size fool you—the 2018 Toyota Tacoma is as tough as they come in the pickup truck world. This long-running compact truck has been a favorite of shoppers who want to take their vehicle off the beaten path. Revised for the 2016 model year, the Tacoma was given a freshened cabin and exterior, along with a choice of a four-cylinder or optional V6 engine. Tacoma shoppers can opt for rear- and four-wheel drive, and there is a choice of manual or automatic transmission with either engine.

Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Tacoma caters to a client base that demands a rugged truck that plays to a spirit of adventure. The Tacoma TRD Pro, TRD Sport and TRD Off Road trim levels come with features such as beefier shocks and suspensions, skid plates, an electronic locking differential and a Terrain Select system.

Here you'll find all the information needed to make an educated buying decision if you're considering a 2018 Toyota Tacoma, including safety and reliability ratings, engine specs, horsepower, fuel economy ratings and pricing.

We'll also summarize what Autoblog's professional auto reviewers think of the Tacoma.

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Is the 2018 Toyota Tacoma safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given the 2018 Toyota Tacoma an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. It gets four out of five stars in frontal crash tests and rollover resistance, and five out of five stars for side-impact crash protection.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which provides ratings for new vehicles based on its own comprehensive crash tests, gave the 2018 Tacoma (tested in Crew and Extended Cab format) "good" ratings in all its crash-test categories. The Tacoma also scored a "superior" rating for front-crash avoidance and mitigation.

The 2018 Tacoma scored "marginal" ratings for overall headlight performance and ease of use of the onboard child seat (LATCH) anchors.

Ratings may differ for Tacoma models from other model years, so be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you're researching.

At the time of this writing, the 2018 Tacoma is not subject to any recalls.

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Is the Tacoma reliable?

J.D. Power most recently reviewed initial quality in the 2017 Tacoma, which is largely identical to the 2018 model year.

The 2017 Tacoma scored only two stars out of five for overall quality, along with three stars out of five for overall performance and design, as well as predicted reliability. It's a surprisingly weak showing for a Toyota truck prized for its reliability and toughness.

A note about J.D. Power's methodology: We have some rather serious issues with the way it weights serious and less serious reliability issues. Read more about that here

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How much interior and cargo room does the Tacoma have?

The 2018 Tacoma has seating for four people with the Access Cab and seating for five in Double Cab format. With the Access Cab, there are 42.9 inches of front legroom and 24.6 inches in the backseat. Passengers get 39.7 inches of front headroom and 34.9 inches in the rear seat.

The Double Cab provides 42.9 inches of front legroom and 32.6 in the rear. Front headroom is identical to that in the Access Cab model, though rear headroom is substantially more spacious at 38.3 inches.

The Tacoma is available with either a five- or six-foot long cargo bed. Maximum towing capacity is 6,800 pounds, when properly equipped.

Find 2018 Toyota Tacoma pricing information and even ones on sale near you.

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What are the Tacoma engines and specs?

The Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that delivers 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. This engine is coupled to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

An optional 3.5-liter V6 is nearly as fuel efficient as the four-cylinder and provides a useful 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. This engine is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

Rear-wheel drive is standard on most models, though four-wheel drive is available across the Tacoma lineup. The higher TRD trim levels come with additional off-road equipment, making these the best choice for anyone who plans to take their Tacoma off paved roads.

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What fuel economy does the Tacoma get?

A 2018 Toyota Tacoma four-cylinder delivers an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Models with the V6 get slightly better mileage: 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway. Models equipped with a manual gearbox get about 1 mpg less in city and highway driving.

Is there a hybrid Tacoma?

There is no hybrid version of the 2018 Toyota Tacoma.

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Does the Tacoma have 4WD?

Yes, all trim levels of the Toyota Tacoma are available with four-wheel drive.

What is the MSRP of the Tacoma?

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma SR equipped with rear-wheel drive and Access Cab starts at $25,200. Sitting atop the Tacoma lineup is the TRD Pro model, which has an entry price of $41,520.

Use Autoblog's Smart Car buying program powered by TrueCar to search out competitive local pricing and savings on the 2018 Toyota Tacoma.

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Can I read the latest review of the Tacoma?

Autoblog tested the Tacoma when it was brand-new for the 2016 model year. At the time, Autoblog's Consumer Editor, Jeremy Korzeniewski, immediately noted the in-your-face design of the newest Tacoma. "Toyota made the Tacoma look less like a car and more like a truck. This is a good thing," he wrote. "The blocky appearance and durable-feeling materials seem appropriate for a pickup's mission as a vehicle for work and play."

The 3.5-liter V6 also earned praise for its "sprightly" acceleration in city driving, along with the added towing capacity (6,800 lbs versus 6,500 lbs) compared with the previous Tacoma powered by a 4.0-liter V6. Fuel economy, on the other hand, was less than impressive. Competitors such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon hold an edge when it comes to mpg.

Toyota worked to make the latest Tacoma both stiffer and lighter than before. Steering feel was deemed "good enough" for a pickup, while the ride prevented "bone-jarring impacts" from entering the cabin." The cabin itself could feel cozy, however, with two full-grown adults sitting should-to-shoulder in the front.

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To get a sense of how the Tacoma's closest competitors stack up, use our Compare Cars tool.

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