It’s Time to Consider the Toyota Tacoma

August 12th, 2022 by

A white 2021 Toyota Tacoma for sale is shown off-roading.

One of the most popular midsize pickup trucks in its class is the Toyota Tacoma. In a segment of the automotive industry dominated by domestic brands such as Ford and Chevrolet, Toyota has steadily carved out a place for itself among truck enthusiasts and drivers alike. The Tacoma has earned credibility in the off-roading department. It encompasses the versatility that makes it a reliable work truck, daily driver, or family vehicle. At a time when everything is at its historically highest price, there has never been a greater argument for checking out a used Tacoma. Let’s explore what to consider when looking for a used Toyota Tacoma for sale.

When looking at some of the more recent models, there’s ample opportunity to get a truck with all the modern touches and performance but without the sting of a new car price tag. Used Tacomas from 2017-2019 generally still have that new car aesthetic. With lots of trims and options available, we’re impressed any Toyota dealership can keep the metaphorical shelves stocked for long.

Overall, the Tacoma feels sophisticated for a truck. At first glance, the exterior lacks any head-turning details, but upon closer examination, it’s clear the body is shaped with thoughtfulness and subtlety, creating an aura of laid-back elegance. Plus, there’s the comfort in knowing it’s a Toyota, a notoriously reliable badge of honor whose cars stay on the roads for decades if cared for properly.

What Kind of Performance Can the Tacoma Have?

Available with an I-4 or V6, the 2019 Tacoma powertrain options can hackle just about anything. The inline-four is a 2.7L that produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The optional V6 is a big jump in size, going to a 3.5L that outputs 278 horsepower with 265 lb-ft of torque. For towing purposes, we’d definitely recommend the V6 with the six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel drive. Since many pickup truck drivers are incentivized by off-road capability, we also examined those features. The upgraded TRD Pro trim offers better suspension for tackling dirt paths and other off-road terrains.

The TRD Off-Road model is a goodie bag full of helpful configurations. The backseat is spacious, offering seating for up to four passengers. This model’s suspension has been finely tuned to include specialty off-road shocks, making it ideal for getting dirty. The V6 engine can come with a six-speed manual transmission, only available in models with four-wheel drive. The TRD Off-Road also boasts an electronically locking differential.

Available options, such as the TRD Sport and the Limited models, enhance the truck’s city driving abilities, while the TRD Pro has more specifications for rugged terrains. We’re also very pleased with the towing capacity. Rear-wheel drive configurations allow for 6,800 lbs, while the four-wheel drive can pull up to 6,500 lbs depending on the configuration and engine. Plus, the Limited models have been found to be quieter than similar trucks in their class.

A grey 2020 Toyota Tacoma is shown from a rear angle towing a boat.

What Sort of Technology Is Available?

What’s great about Toyota is that they don’t skimp out on technology, meaning that when a useful update is released, it comes standard to the lineup instead of being relegated to exclusive, more expensive models. For example, the entirety of 2017-2019 Tacomas have a touchscreen infotainment system. The Entune system is easy to read and use. More modern systems from the past couple of years are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment center also looks appealing, with a nice glossy black bezel. The menus are super user-friendly, and the voice command feature is simple to set up and works flawlessly.

Though the 2017 and 2018 models are part of the same generation as the 2016 model, we prefer the 2018 as a starting point because of the enhanced safety features. In 2018, Toyota installed Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams. And if that’s not impressive, they made these features standard, whereas many automakers force buyers to pay extra for these types of safety packages. Including safety features standard on all models makes for a more practical truck overall and more likely to appeal to those looking to the Tacoma as a daily driver.

What Sort of Trims Are Available?

Both 2018 and 2019 Tacomas come in six varying trim levels: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. They’re each available in two different body styles: the Access Cab or the Double Cab. The Access Cab offers seating for four and comes with a bed that measures 6 ft 1 in. The Double Cab has seating for five and offers the options of each a 6 ft 1 in bed or a 5 ft bed for those with fewer payload requirements.

The base model SR is loaded with plenty of desirable features at a more affordable price than the fancier builds. It still comes with lots to brag about in features. Available as both an Access Cab or Double Cab, it comes with all the safety features previously mentioned. Depending on which model year you find, it has either the 6.1 in or 7 in touchscreen infotainment center in the dash.

Bumping up the SR5 means getting a bit more bang for your buck. This trim has a leather-wrapped steering wheel for comfort and an upscale feel. It also has remote keyless entry, satellite radio, fog lights, and smartphone navigation integration.

The Limited offers all the features of the SR5 but with the added bonus of leather upholstery throughout, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a moonroof, blindspot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and a rear cross-traffic alert. However, the Limited is only available as a Double Cab.

The TDR Pro trim was first introduced in 2017. It’s our trim of choice for improved off-roading but also for higher-quality tech. In the 2019 TRD Pro, you receive an extra two USB ports located in the center console. Toyota removed the rearview mirror’s compass on trucks that have built-in navigation, streamlining the interior, so it’s not too busy. They also added a JBL audio system. Both the Limited and the TRD Pro have heated front seats and dual-zone climate control.

Styling-wise, the TRD Pro doesn’t miss. Its exhaust is painted with a black chrome top. It also comes with a skid plate with a red TRD badge, a sunroof, and a sleek TRD Desert air intake on 2018 models. An exclusive Voodoo Blue paint is available only for the TRD Pro. While privacy glass is standard on all the models, it’s a nice touch and helps with temperature control. Overall, the TRD Pro trim is the way to go to satisfy anyone wishing for all the performance capability and the luxury touches all rolled into one.

A blue 2016 Toyota Tacoma is shown parked in a dry grassy field.

Are You Ready to Get a Used Toyota Tacoma?

With so many available trims, Toyota has covered a variety of features across the board, from safety to off-roading to technology. The Tacoma is overall very user-friendly and is packed with fun extras. The 4.5 out of 5 reliability rating from J.D. Power puts our minds at ease, as does the Toyota name for its impeccable history of long-lasting vehicles. Tacomas also have one of the lowest levels of depreciation for trucks compared to similar pickups from Jeep and the Ford F-Series. The Tacoma can be as luxurious or as rugged as you want, as long as it’s out there tearing up roads and making drivers happy. If you still have questions or want to try one of these excellent trucks for yourself, then we can help you out.