2018 Toyota Tacoma Essential Expert Review

Toyota Tacoma maintains its position as resale value champ

Toyota Tacoma

What you need to know

The Toyota Tacoma has been the number-one-selling mid-size pickup truck in America for more than a decade. A key reason the Tacoma has become so popular is its well-earned reputation for quality and reliability. Another is its versatility. The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is available in 30 different variants across extended Access Cab and four-door Double Cab models in both rear-drive and four-wheel-drive versions. Because of the variety, you should be able to find a Tacoma to match your purpose whether it is an economical “work truck” for a tradesman or a near-luxury four-by-four with serious off-road credentials. Double-cab models have the most interior room, of course, with accommodations for four adults and perhaps a smaller fifth person in the center section of the 60/40 split rear seat. Access Cab models offer under-seat rear storage space with fold-up seat cushions that help maximize cargo space.

Every Access Cab model has a 127.4-inch wheelbase and offer a 73.7-inch-long bed. The Double Cab is available on the 127.4-inch wheelbase with a 60.5-inch bed or on a full-size-truck-like 140.6-inch wheelbase with the 73.7-inch bed. The base truck is SR grade, while the Limited is top of the line, essentially sharing that distinction with the specialized Ultimate Off-Road TRD Pro.

New for 2018

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is virtually identical to the 2017 in many ways, but a major differentiator is the addition of Toyota Safety Sense P this model year. The suite of safety enhancements includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with sway warning system, automatic high beams and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control. Toyota leads the auto industry in making automatic emergency braking systems standard on most of its vehicles. Other changes to the mid-size pickup pale in comparison to the addition of that elaborate safety combination. They include a minor grille updates to several of the vehicle’s trim levels. The up-level Tacoma Limited features not only a revised grille but also a new black leather-trimmed interior. The five-speed manual transmission is discontinued for 2018, though the six-speed manual transmission remains available on certain models.

Driving it

Toyota Tacoma pickupThe 2018 Toyota Tacoma can be equipped with two very different engine choices. Base engine is the venerable and solid 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 159 horsepower and 180-pound-feet of torque. The optional engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 delivering 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of peak torque. Neither engine offers startling acceleration, but both have reputations for serious longevity. Though some might need the capabilities of a full-size pickup, we were impressed with the Tacoma’s ability to take on a number of roles, from daily commuter, to serious work vehicle, to family recreation conveyance. The interior is beginning to show its age, and the reflections off the infotainment touchscreen can be irritating at times. But the controls are easy to reach and easy to understand, and the seats are both comfortable and adjustable. The truck remains remarkably flat in hard cornering, and its suspension delivers a reasonably comfortable ride with no irritating harshness or vibration.

Key competitors

Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline

Price range

Base:  $26,195

Fully Equipped: $41,210

Typically Equipped: $35,000

Best feature

High-quality design and construction resulting in a vehicle with excellent resale value


Regular cab version which was eliminated because of lack of sales volume

Typical buyer (estimated)

Male/Female – 58/42 percent   Married/Single – 45/55 percent

Median age – 41   Median Household Income – $90,000


NHTSA Crash Test Ratings

Overall 4-star  Frontal 4-star   Side 5-star  Rollover 4-star

Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Crash Imminent Braking, Dynamic Brake Support

IIHS Crashworthiness Rating

Rated “Good” in all Crashworthiness categories

Fuel Economy (EPA miles per gallon city/highway/combined)

Lowest:  17 / 20 / TBD         Highest: 19 / 23 / 21

Predicted Reliability

Poor | Good | Better | BEST

Predicted Cost-to-Own (versus key competitive vehicles)

Poor | Good | Better | BEST

Driving Today Expert Rating

Poor | Good | Better | BEST