Friday, February 12, 2010
The 2008 Toyota Tacoma is largely unchanged. This compact pickup truck offers three cab styles: regular cab, extended Access Cab with rear-hinged rear doors, and the Double Cab with four conventional side doors. Regular cabs have bucket seats or a three-passenger bench. The others seat five via front bucket seats and a three-place rear bench.
Regular cabs and Access Cabs use 6-ft-long cargo beds, Double Cabs 5- and 6-ft beds; all have a dent-resistant plastic liner. Tacoma offers two engines. The 159-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder teams with a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic. The 236-hp 4.0-liter V6 teams with a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic. Both are available with rear-wheel drive or with 4-wheel drive that should not be left engaged on dry pavement but includes a low-range gear for off-roading. Available safety features include ABS, antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. Available for off-roading are locking rear differential and hill ascent and descent control. The 2WD PreRunner has a raised suspension and other 4WD styling cues. The sporty X-Runner is an Access Cab with the V6, manual transmission, aero lower body trim, and sport suspension.
Consumer Guide Automotive places each vehicle into one of 18 classes based on size, price, and market position. Compact Pickups offer a true-truck design in a relatively modest package. They are best suited for personal or light-duty use rather than commercial use, heavy hauling, or towing.
Our Best Buy is the Toyota Tacoma. Our Recommended picks are the Dodge Dakota, Honda Ridgeline, and Nissan Frontier.
No big near-term changes are likely. However, recent Toyota statements suggest a flex-fuel V6 with E85 capability could be added before the truck's next redesign, which would probably occur for 2011 or 2012.