There was a mass exodus of midsize trucks for the 2012 model year, but you won't find Toyota upset about it. Ford took its midsize truck offering, the Ranger, as did Ram with its Dakota, and went home. All that remained in the segment was the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma. Both the Frontier and Tacoma never had any issues with sales even while the segment was more competitive, and not much has changed since Ford and Ram's departure. We recently spent some time with the 2013 Toyota Tacoma, and without giving it all away here, it's obvious why the Tacoma stays at the top of the sales pile.
Model and PriceIf you want a 2013 Toyota Tacoma like the tester we had for a week, that'll set you back $27,585, without any added options. But ours had options. Lots of them. The boatload of options we did have on our tester which included navigation with Entune and a backup camera ($1,930), TRD TX Baja Series add-ons ($5,015), heavy duty all-weather flooring ($50), and the TRD off-road package for the Baja Series ($3,555). Other options included daytime running lights ($40), a tow package ($650), and all-weather door sills and mats ($165). A delivery and handling fee of $810 was also assessed. The final asking price for our 2013 Toyota Tacoma tester came to an eye-popping $39,150. That's nearly a Toyota Yaris's worth of options.
Safety and Key FeaturesStandard safety features on the 2013 Toyota Tacoma includes stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, and electronic brake force distribution. Other standard safety features include side-mounted curtain airbags, three-point seatbelts for all passengers, side-impact door beams, and a tire pressure monitoring system. During National Highway Transportation Safety Administration crash testing, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma earned an overall safety rating of four stars. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the latest Tacoma achieved a score of "Good," the highest possible rating.
A few key features on this particular 2013 Toyota Tacoma include an off-road tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks and an exhaust system that reminds you you're driving an off-road oriented midsize pickup truck. The Bilstein shocks softened any blow dealt by the road surface below and the sport exhaust system, while fun at first, started to droned on the longer you were behind the wheel.
Family Friendliness and UtilityIt's never easy getting in and out of a vehicle with a raised ride height, and thanks to the heavy-duty off-road suspension, that's just what the 2013 Toyota Tacoma has. Nevertheless, you won't need a running start and will find loading and unloading cargo and goods in the Tacoma's double cab to be easier than anticipated. Throughout the course of its stay with us, we installed and took out multiple child seats and the LATCH points were easily accessible. Navigating through a crowded parking lot, however, is a tougher than first thought, as the Tacoma feels a bigger than it really is. The big tires and wide fenders make the Tacoma we drove wider than normal on a midsize pickup truck, too, so avoiding tight spaces is recommended.
Comfort and QualityAs expected, the driver's seat positions you high enough to see the road without feeling like you have an over-sized trailer in tow and a deadline to drop it off. The seats are firm but don't wear you down during a daily commute, and every essential button and knob is easily within reach. Being a truck, there are a lot of hard surfaces in the 2013 Toyota Tacoma, but nothing feels overly cheap or out of place. There are some richer feeling materials found inside, including a steering wheel and shifter wrapped in leather. The dashboard is accented with a metallic tone trim and in case you spill your soda, the seats are water resistant. The optional floor mats make further clean up easy as they're made of rubber.
How it DrivesIt may be classified as a midsize pickup truck, but the 2013 Toyota Tacoma rides just like its big brother, the Tundra. It's stiff at lower speeds but is comfortable when cruising down the freeway. As mentioned above, a wide body doesn't instill much confidence in a tightly-packed parking lot but it only takes a little practice before you really get your spacing down. The Bilstein shocks almost steal the show for the 2013 Toyota Tacoma with Baja trimmings as this system enables you to fly over dips in the road without facing a sever recoil. Then there's the 4.0-liter V-6 engine, rated at 236 horsepower, and five-speed automatic transmission. This drivetrain was quiet and worked harmoniously together during the Tacoma's stay with us and without being overly powerful; it was still adequate on the daily commute.
SummaryThere's not much to pick from in the midsize pickup truck's current state, but it doesn't matter. The 2013 Toyota Tacoma would still stick out in the segment even if Ford, Ram, and Chevy were competing. Chevrolet is already hard at work again on a new iteration of its midsize truck offerings in the form of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon but we still expect the Toyota Tacoma to give both a run for their respective money. The Nissan Frontier is respectable in its own right as well, but at this time, we'd still opt to go with the Toyota Tacoma. As it stands now, with the all of the additional Baja goodies, the Toyota Tacoma is as close to being ready to go off road from the factory as possible. That off-road capability combined with the ability to easily live with it on a day-to-day basis makes the 2013 Toyota Tacoma our choice in the midsize pickup truck segment.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $39,150
EPA City: 16 mpg
EPA Highway: 21 mpg
EPA Combined: 18 mpg
Cargo Space: 25 "grocery bags"
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Excellent
Child Seat Fitment, Third Row (if applicable): Not Applicable
Estimated Combined Range: 379.8 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Excellent