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2013 Toyota Tacoma

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2013 Toyota Tacoma Review

Reviewed by Automotive on

The 2013 Toyota Tacoma is one of the remaining models in the dwindling midsize pickup truck market segment. A number of competitors have either delayed or completely discontinued their midsize models as the demand has waned, with full-size models getting engines that make them nearly as efficient while increasing comforts and handling ability. Thanks to this, the mediocre Tacoma has risen to the top of the market segment.

Available in a variety of body styles and trims and with plenty of modification packages available, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma can be built to please the needs and wants of almost any buyer. The basic models range from the workhorse Regular Cab to the sporty X-Runner, with packages going from the basic add-on packages to the high-performance TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road packages.

New For 2013

Across all cab style, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma has received three updates. Daytime running lights are standard and a display audio system with the Entune multimedia system is optional. The biggest update is a new Limited Package that includes:

  • Simulated leather upholstery and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
  • Chrome grille surround, rear bumper and 18-inch wheels
  • Heated front seats
  • Color coordinated front bumper
  • Fog lights
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror with outside temperature gauge
  • Special Limited badging


The outside of the Toyota Tacoma was redesigned in the previous model year, so the 2013 Toyota Tacoma doesn’t see any additions or restyling. The Tacoma is a bit busy in the front, with a wide grille accentuated by headlamps that merge with it in an odd way and high turn signals. Flared wheel wells and flared fenders give it a slightly aggressive appearance, but the rest of the body is chunky and plain. There is a clear disjoint between the cab and the bed that, from the side, makes the Tacoma look as though it was designed by two different people and grafted together in the middle. The X-Runner model and the TRD packages get some extra odds and ends that make them slightly more appealing on the outside than the standard model, but what’s underneath is still clear.

Interior & Cargo

The basic 2013 Toyota Tacoma is quite sparse and unrefined inside, and has some major issues with room. The inside is difficult to get in to for any larger adult, with the roof being low and the floor being high. Headroom is lacking, and the seats themselves are skimpy on cushioning, as well as being poorly shaped, making long rides slightly uncomfortable. The interior lets in a bit much of the engine noise, but does a decent job of keeping road noise filtered out. The materials are of average quality inside, but the cabin as a whole does feel well assembled and tight. The ride is not very smooth to begin with, and it becomes much worse when the TRD Off-Road suspension is added.

In terms of options and amenities, the base model of the 2013 Toyota Tacoma is sparse, but still gets the six-speaker stereo with Bluetooth connectivity and the Entune system. Optional equipment includes power windows and locks, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery and shift knob, heated front seats, cruise control, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors.


The 2013 Toyota Tacoma comes with a great deal of safety equipment and accident avoidance tools, but scores on crash tests have not been as high as hoped. Toyota’s Start Safety System is a comprehensive accident avoidance package that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and Brake Assist with Smart Stop Technology that brings the vehicle to a stop efficiently from five miles per hour or greater. An additional option is a reverse sensing system with a rear camera. All of this helps to avoid accidents, but in the case of a collision, there is plenty of safety equipment to keep the driver and passengers safe. Airbags are standard for driver and front passenger, as are seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags.

The crash-test scores of the 2013 Toyota Tacoma are about average. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Tacoma five stars for side-impact protection, it only received three stars for frontal impact and a total of four stars out of five for overall safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tacoma a score of ""good"" for front, side, and rear impact, but only a marginal rating for roof strength.

Driving Experience

The driving experience of the 2013 Toyota Tacoma depends greatly on the model, engine, transmission and suspension packages. The basic Tacoma with a small, 159-horsepower, four-cylinder engine is underpowered. Connected to the five-speed manual transmission, the engine is not terrible, but the widely spaced gears in the four-speed manual cause the fuel economy to drop. The 4.0-liter, V-6 engine is entirely different. It provides 236 horsepower and, more importantly, 266 lb-ft of torque. It comes attached to a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, both of which work well with the engine. It can be tuned for street performance, or coupled with the TRD packaging for a capable off-roader, or left alone, in which case it is a good hauler and work truck. Steering and handling is solid, but is better offroad than on-road, surprisingly.

Key Competitors For The 2013 Toyota Tacoma

  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Dodge Ram 1500
  • Nissan Frontier

See the New 2015 Tacoma.

Front & Driver Side View