The aging and rugged Tacoma which was introduced 22 years ago is a good alternative to more sophisticated, grown-up rivals like the Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500. It caters to the crowd who want an old-school work truck experience without a lot of tech gizmos getting in the way. Throughout its life, the Tacoma has established itself as a rugged and reliable full-size pickup, with a unique fondness for conquering off-road terrain in mud, snow, sand, and any other tarmac-less ground you can think of an expedition in.
The base inline-4 produces 156 hp while the optional V6 takes the output to 278 hp and 265 pound-feet of torque. If you want a reliable pickup truck with impressive off-roading capabilities and strong towing power, then the Toyota Tacoma might just be what you are looking for. Rear-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is optional and it's available as a crew-cab or extended-cab truck. For all its off-road prowess, the interior is not left out entirely. You can not expect a premium leather finish of the GMC Sierra, but you get a good build quality that lasts quite a while after the purchase.
While it may be a rugged and reliable off-roader, other trucks in its segment offer much better features. Its size and weight also hinder its agility. The Tacoma is not nearly as composed or stable in the corners as a Chevy Colorado or a GMC Canyon. The Honda Ridgeline excels in the interior department as well, with leather-trimmed 10-way power-adjustable seats and a ride quality good enough to the level of a few luxury sedans.
5.5/10 Engine and Performance
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Features
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma is available in 6 trims levels. The SR trim is entry level Tacoma and comes with basic features. It is recommended to choose at least a couple of trims up to make your Tacoma off-road ready. Customers also have an option to upgrade from the standard 2.7L motor to a more powerful 3.5L V6 that generates more power and torque. The Limited trim used to be the top dog for Tacoma, but since last year the TRD Pro has taken the lead as the top trim.
When it comes to options many models offer features which are available on higher trims. Most of the Tacoma Limited's features are available on TRD models, many TRD features can be had on the SR5 and many SR5 features are optional on the SR.
Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P)
Keyless entry with engine immobilizer
Smart Key System with Push Button Start (A/T only)
Multi-terrain Select (4x4 automatic models only)
Dual-zone automatic climate control
TRD Pro cat-back exhaust
Integrated backup camera
4.2-in. TFT Multi-Information Display
LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
Crawl Control (CRAWL) (4x4 models only)
Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite
TRD-tuned high-performance FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass shocks
Entune™ Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App
Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite
Electronically locking the rear differential
Power tilt/slide moonroof
Rigid Industries® LED fog lights
TRD Pro skid plate
To get the best out of a Tacoma, it's a good idea to enhance its off-roading abilities. And for this, the TRD Off-Road model suits the profile perfectly. It adds extra features like a tuned suspension for off-road shocks, electronically locking differential and 7-inch infotainment system.
The TRD Off-road can only be had with a Double Cab, which adds to the rear legroom so you can fit more adults for your adventures. And to add the cherry on the top, the TRD gets a manual 6-speed transmission to get the most out of that 3.5L V6 powerhouse.
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Engine and Performance
“The Tacoma’s optional V-6 engine provides decent performance and towing muscle, but the base four-cylinder is weak-kneed and best avoided. We also advise steering clear of the persnickety six-speed automatic transmission with either power plant; stick with the six-speed manual and the V-6.” – Car and Driver
Engine and Transmission
The Tacoma offers two engine options under the hood. The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. It comes only with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 3.5-liter engine produces 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque which comes mated to either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission (4WD only). There is an option to upgrade to a V6 engine, which is highly recommended as the 159hp generating 4-cylinder engine feels too weak and inferior for a vehicle this size.
The transmissions saw some changes for the year 2019. The 5-speed manual transmission which was available for inline 4 engine is discontinued. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all trims. But for the old school guys who still prefer a manual gearbox, the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Pro have an optional 6-speed manual transmission as well.
278 @ 6000
308 @ 6800
308 @ 6800
280 @ 6000
265 @ 4600
275 @ 4000
275 @ 4000
262 @ 4700
Although an inline-4 engine is available in other competitors’ base models as well, Tacoma’s engine is relatively weaker. Even Tacoma’s V-6 engine fails to provide as much power as that of Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon, both of which can generate 308bhp.
“The six-speed manual not only puts the driver in charge of gear choices but in our testing, it was also quicker from zero to 60 mph” – Car and Driver
The V6 engine is preferred over the inline-four for obvious reasons, with its 278 horsepower the Tacoma accelerates to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. The V6 also helps in towing 6,800 pounds easily than compared to timid inline 4. The power at lower rpm’s is also unimpressive. Be it a rough path or smooth, swiftness is not one of Tacoma’s strong suit.
Chevrolet Colorado LT
GMC Canyon Denali
0 – 60
(Tons/yr of C02 at 15k mi/yr)
It’s no surprise that the least power-generating engine would also be on the shallow end of the boost pool; The Tacoma is no exception. While other competitors compete on a millisecond scale, Tacoma takes well over a second to reach the 60 mph mark.
Ride and Handling
The Tacoma comes with two engines to choose from, the 156 hp inline 4 gets the job done while 256 hp V6 provides the much-required power. Tacoma will feel a bit rough on highways as compared to rivals from GM and Honda. What it offers are agile handling and off-road capabilities. The steering is precise and it responds quickly to inputs. Once you keep its pickup nature in mind, Tacoma’s ride quality is not that bad.
At slower speeds, the steering feels a little sloppy but firms up once you hit the higher speeds. Tacoma made quite a progress in the brakes department, as the new Tacoma’s brakes modulate easily.
Once you go off-road, Tacoma easily tackles slow technical sections, sometimes even without the aid of driver assistance tools like crawl control or the locking rear differential. Sounds like Toyota really covered all grounds, right? Well, not quite; the steering tends to misalign at higher speeds on rough terrain, which is a letdown for an off-roader.
The Toyota Tacoma features disc rotors in the front and drum brakes in the rear which are very dependable. It takes 124 feet’s to stop in an emergency situation which pretty good. The stops are straight but sometimes they feel overly sensitive, which is awkward in heavy traffic.
But once you compare this year’s Tacoma with its predecessors, it is easy to feel an improvement in the brakes. They seem more easily modulated.
70 – 0 MPH
Brake Pads – Front (in)
Brake Pads – Rear (in)
The Tacoma does well to come to a halt from a speed of 70 mph. By stats, Tacoma does better than most rivals. However, from a driver’s perspective, the brake pedal feels a bit touchy and bites at minor inputs. This is grimly unsettling during traffic.
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Fuel Economy
Surprisingly, the 273 hp V6 delivers similar mileage as the 156 hp inline four. The standard engine returns 20 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway and 21 mpg in combined driving with rear wheel drive (RWD). Those figures lower by one mpg with 4-wheel drive (4WD).
These numbers are about the average for this class. The worst numbers were displayed when the V6 engine was paired with the 6-speed manual transmission, although the manual transmission is way more fun to drive. The engine also employs the Atkinson cycle for a better fuel economy.
A few competitors who perform better than the Tacoma include Honda Ridgeline, which gives 19 / 26 MPG in city/highway. Ridgeline is also the only truck that has a standard V6 across all trims. The Chevy Colorado does not perform well on its V6 engine, but its base four-cylinder engine puts up 20 / 26 MPG in city/highway.
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Interior
“The Tacoma's high floor produces a legs-out driving posture that is more carlike than you might expect. Taller drivers tend to notice this because the telescoping steering wheel doesn't have enough adjustment range, forcing them to scoot closer with knees bent more than they would otherwise” – Edmunds
Seating and Comfort
One of the greatest shortcomings of Tacoma has to be the steering and seating position for the driver. Like the backbenchers of a high school who meet the minimum requirement for any project, Toyota added telescopic travel to its steering, but with only an inch of adjustability. The front seats also lack height adjustment or power operations. This greatly hinders the flexibility and comfort for the driver.
The fixed style front seats of Tacoma are only good for short to medium height drivers. But the taller drivers would constantly brush the headliner. But what the seats lack in customizability, they makeup in shape and feel. Most trims offer adjustable lumbar support.
If you opt for the access cab models, avoid inviting more than two adults to sit on the rear seats, because the leg room, just like the telescopic travel, meets the minimum requirements. The 4 doors double cab is a must as it increases the legroom by 25%.
If roomy rear seats are in your list of requirements, Honda’s Ridgeline provides a comfortable room for full grown adults. If you don’t want to go out of the Toyota family, The Toyota Tundra is a viable option if you opt for the rear seats. This equips Tundra with 6 roomy seats.
Toyota did not bring too many changes in Tacoma’s interior. The cabin is simple and reminiscent of the early Tacoma’s. Traditional to some, unimpressively simple for others. Apart from the just passable seat and steering adjustments, the armrests are a letdown too; they were not as soft as one might like. There is a convenient cell phone spot, which can be upgraded to provide wireless charging. Tacoma also boasts one of the best mid-level audio systems to ever be installed in a pickup.
Analog instrumentation with speedometer, tachometer, coolant temperature, and fuel gauges; 4.2-in. color Multi-Information Display (MID) with outside temperature, odometer, tripmeters, and average fuel economy
Fabric-trimmed seats; 4-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support; 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
Urethane tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls
Remote keyless entry system with lock, unlock and panic functions
Manual day/night rearview mirror (4-cyl. only)
Whether you opt for the base trim, or for the top one, a touchscreen infotainment system will be present to enhance your drive. The entry-level system consists of a 6.1-inch touchscreen, which can be upgraded to a 7-inch capacitive screen.
Entune App Suite including navigation
6-Speaker Entune Audio System
USB media port
Advanced voice recognition
Hands-free phone capability
Phone book access and music streaming7 via Bluetooth
Wireless technology, Siri® Eyes Free HD Radio
Predictive Traffic and Doppler Weather overlay
SiriusXM Satellite Radio11 with 3-month All Access trial.12 See toyota.com/entune for details
Cargo storage is the make or break point for any pickup, and Tacoma takes this seriously. With two cargo-box lengths and two cab styles, buyers have an option of building their Tacoma to tailor to their needs.
If you flip up the rear seat bottoms, there are many open and covered compartments to store anything you prefer not to be easily seen. The seat backs can be pulled down to get a completely flat load floor.
It is also a hassle to stow the rear seats. The long number of steps require removing the headrests, flipping the seat cushion forward, and finally flipping the backrests down. Restoring them is equally tedious. Tacoma offers two-bed sizes, a 60-inch short bed, and a 73-inch long bed. The step-in height is a bit uncomfortable as compared to competitors like Colorado, who offer a step for easy climbing.
Bed Volume Comparison
Smallest available (Ft.3)
Largest available (Ft.3)
Out of the two cab options, the smaller Access Cab only uses the 60-inch bed, while the double cab has the option of either length.The cargo bed in higher trims offers a lot of flexibility. Features like a LED box lighting, damped tailgate, a 120 volt AC power outlet, and adjustable tie-down cleats add to the cargo bed’s functionality.
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Exterior
"Designed and built in the United States, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma looks rugged and carries the kind of swagger most pickup truck buyers appreciate. But it’s no wallflower." -Kelley Blue Book
Design and Styling
The Toyota Tacoma was introduced in 1995 and now in its third generation. It was extensively redesigned in the year 2015. Despite minor changes here and there, Tacoma has mostly kept its old-school look. The aggressive front grille and optional hood scoop depict power with a standard projector beam which shines brightly. Tacoma also has narrow headlights and puffed out fenders, which give it a meaner look. The chiseled lines and off-road stance give it a strong profile. The rear tailgate is embossed with a Tacoma logo which opens smoothly and can be easily removed when needed.
Gross Vehicle Weight (lbs.)
212.3 – 225.5
212.4 – 224.9
212.4 – 224.6
Ground Clearance (in)
Track Width – F/R (in)
64 / 64.2
Here, the Honda Ridgeline comes last in terms of exterior dimensions while all the rivals cast a similar shadow.
The bed at the back of Tacoma has some cool features in the higher trims. Features like a damped tailgate, a 120V AC power outlet, LED box lighting, adjustable tie-down cleats, and a fully integrated bed liner.
Dark gray grille with black surround
16-in. styled steel wheels
Projector-beam headlights with turn Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors
Color-keyed rear bumper
Integrated color-keyed tailgate spoiler
Engine/front suspension skid plate
Sliding rear window with privacy glass
Fiber-reinforced Sheet-Molded Composite (SMC) bed
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Safety
Toyota Tacoma scores quite good with the IIHS for its crash tests. It has high scores for its strong metal body that has ample crumple zones to protect the occupants in dire situations. There is ample room for the movement of passengers even after the airbags are deployed. The tests revealed that the foot and neck areas were nto crampled after collision, allowing the prevention of injury to the legs and upper back.
In addition to a strong frame, the Tacoma comes fully equipped with quite a few safety features, part of Toyota's Safety Sense-P suite. The Honda Ridgline may ace the crash test, but the extensive driver aids on the Tacoma make it way more adept to prevent any collision.
Electronic Stability Control with Roll Stability Control
Driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags
Driver and front passenger knee airbags
Front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA)
Driver and front passenger active headrests
3-point seatbelts for all seating positions
Child-protector rear door locks (Double Cab only)
Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS)
S Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Rear parking assist sonar
Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control
Hill Start Assist Control
Active Traction Control
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Competition
Toyota Tacoma Vs GMC Canyon
The GMC Canyon is available in two engine options, the 200 hp V6 is enough apt for daily chores but 308 hp V8 is well suited for power hungry peeps. The Colorado and Canyon are essentially the same as they share same chassis, powertrain, tech features, towing and hauling capacities. The Tacoma is still the better off-roader than both of them. However. Tacoma can’t match the hauling capabilities of GM vehicles. The canyon also features serene interior while the Tacoma does off-tarmac adventures much better.
Toyota Tacoma Vs Honda Ridgeline
One of the top nemesis to Toyota Tacoma is Honda’s Ridgeline, which brings the truck model back to Honda’s arsenal after 2 years. However, this competition is not as nail-biting as one would hope, with Honda Ridgeline outperforming Tacoma in almost every category. Ridgeline comes with a standard V6 engine, and easily thwarts Tacoma’s base I-4 engine. Ridgeline also provides better cabin, spacious seats, and a better fuel economy.
But if you want to buy a pickup truck, then chances are your priorities have towing capacity and off-roading capabilities on the top. And in that sense, the Tacoma outperforms Ridgeline easily. It is also more capable of handling heavier payloads.
Toyota Tacoma Vs Chevrolet Colorado
The Chevy Colorado’s base price is about $ 4,000 less than Tacoma’s. That may get you to expect lesser quality in Colorado, but on the contrary, Colorado’s cabin feels more impressive than Tacoma’s old school one. Colorado also has features like Apple CarPlay and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.
In terms of performance, Colorado maintains its lead. The base 200hp engine is nice, but you also have the option to upgrade to a 305hp generating V6. There is also a turbo diesel engine that expands the towing capacity to 7,700 pounds, something that Tacoma cannot match. We can choose the grounds for comparisons all day, but Colorado will continue to outperform Tacoma.
2019 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Final Verdict
If you want to take your Tacoma out in the dirt then absolutely go for TRD model. Toyota Tacoma is definitely a good pickup truck, which is apparent by its continuation even after so many years. It offers great off-road capability, towing capacity and utility you expect from a midsize truck. Tacoma feels at home when you take it off the road. Its reliable V6 engine and off-roading capabilities are paralleled by few. It has all the modern tech and features you can expect and Tacoma can take you anywhere you wish.