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2014 Toyota Tacoma

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/28/2014 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2014

The Tacoma remains mostly unchanged for 2014 with carryover powertrains and some minor improvements in the cabin and infotainment system. Toyota has moved the rearview camera from the rearview mirror to the touch screen on trucks equipped with Entune Premium Audio. An SR Package, which is essentially an exterior appearance kit, is a new option for 2014 Tacoma PreRunner and four-wheel-drive base models.

Summary

The Tacoma is Toyota's compact and midsize truck, slotting below the full-size Tundra. It is sold in rear- or four-wheel drive configurations, as an access or double cab, and with a long or short bed.

Vehicle Overview

The 2014 Tacoma is one of two players in the compact pickup truck segment where it competes against the Nissan Frontier. It is available with either a 2.7-liter I-4 producing 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque or a 4.0-liter V-6 generating 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Four- and five-speed automatic transmissions are available, as are five- or six-speed manuals depending on the engine choice. Like its stable mate, the 4Runner SUV, the Tacoma excels off-road but manages to remain comfortable on pavement compared to its SUV sibling. The availability of TRD performance parts means that it appeals to a broad audience, which includes those looking for a compact work truck and people looking to modify them for off-road duty. EPA fuel economy ratings for the Toyota Tacoma ranges between 16/19 mpg city/highway with a four-wheel drive V-6 with a six-speed manual to 21/25 mpg with a rear-drive I-4 paired to a five-speed manual.

Toyota has kept the exterior styling and interior mostly the same from the previous year, which retains a conservative look. Entune Premium Audio is offered in four different versions depending on the trim level while cloth upholstery is standard across all models, while leather-like SofTex is available.

The 2014 Toyota Tacoma has a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS testing, the Tacoma earned a rating of good in three categories but just marginal in the roof strength test.

What We Think

The Tacoma remains a viable compact truck because of its off-road capabilities, variety of body styles, and the availability of performance upgrades from Toyota. In a 2012 First Test review of the truck, we said that the Tacoma "offers a good balance between a perfectly good daily driver and impressive off-roader." Additionally, in a 2011 First Test, we stated that the Tacoma's balance of on- and off-road capabilities makes it tolerable on long drives.

Installing performance parts from TRD detracts from the truck's refinement, which stiffens the ride and increases exhaust noise. The availability of these parts however, allows customers to personalize their Tacoma without worrying about voiding the factory warranty.

You'll Like

  • Off-road capabilities
  • Comfortable on-road ride for a truck
  • Availability of TRD performance parts

You Won't Like

  • Less than stellar fuel economy
  • Outdated engines and transmissions
  • Trucks with TRD suspension upgrades have a stiffer ride

Key Competitors

  • Nissan Frontier
  • Used full-size truck

Rating

3 star It's the best-selling compact/midsize for a reason.

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