Something for everyone in the Tacoma lineup
Roseville, Calif.- For more than two decades, the Toyota Tacoma has been a very popular alternative for shoppers who feel full-size trucks are just too big and too expensive.
Debuting in 1995, sales almost immediately took off for the Tacoma. The past four years have been at an all-time high, exceeding sales of 239,000, including an all-time high of 252,520 in 2021.
Reportedly, half the midsize trucks sold in the U.S. are Tacoma models. It has remained the best-seller in its class for the last 14 years.
Part of the success story with the Tacoma is its diversity. The 2022 Toyota Tacoma lineup features eight trim models – SR, SR5, Trail Special Edition, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, Nightshade Special Edition, TRD Pro). The Trail and Nightshade special editions are new last year.
The versatile Tacoma also has several configurations, giving truck buyers a choice of the two-door Access Cab or the four-door Double Cab, along with a five- or six-foot cargo bed. Similarly, all but the TRD Pro allow for a choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive.
4×4 double cab version
We test drove the 4×4 double cab version of the Tacoma SR5 for a week. One of the features we loved was the lockable bed boxes in the truck bed.
The Tacoma also has a lockable tailgate. The bed is made of a composite material that doesn’t require a liner, and features a combination of fixed and movable tie-downs. Loading is easy because the tailgate opens low and its bedsides are moderate size.
There is some downside when purchasing this truck. The V6 acceleration remains modest, the towing capacity (6,800 pounds) has been criticized as lacking, and gas mileage is still an issue for people who expect more appealing numbers. And it only has a 1,685-pound maximum payload capacity.
The standard Tacoma engine is a modest 2.7-liter, inline-4 that generates 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Despite being a smaller engine, the fuel economy is not much different than the V6 – 20-23 mpg.
If more performance is the goal, there’s a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. Yet even the V6 is comes up lacking, clocked at roughly 7.7 seconds going from 0-60 mph.
However, the recent engine improvement in the V6 has led to better gas mileage (18-23 mpg), plus a smoother and quieter ride than previously.
One of the most intriguing Tacoma models is the TRD Off-Road. It has a rugged body and special 16-inch alloy wheels that will help absorb the bumps over rough pavement and dirt surfaces.
The truck comes with Bilstein shock absorbers and is also equipped with an electronic locking rear differential and a Crawl Control system that supplies cruise control for off-roading between 1-5 mph.
Handling is smooth for a truck and the Tacoma is fairly easy to maneuver in tight spots. One issue is the brakes, which feel grabby.
AT A GLANCE – 2022 TOYOTA TACOMA
- Performance: 2.7-liter, four-cylinder, 159 horsepower; 3.5-liter, V6, 278 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 20-23 mpg; 18-23 mpg
- Price: $27,400 to $48,700
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 2 years/unlimited
Safety & Interior
Standard on all Tacoma models are the following safety features – lane departure warning, automatic high-beam control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and a driver drowsiness warning system.
Interior highlights include an easy-to-master 7.0-inch touchscreen interface and a fully adjustable 10-way driver’s seat. The interior is more about durability than luxury, but that’s expected in a truck.
The front seats won’t be good for all drivers due to a low mounting position and lack of height adjustment. Headroom is limited in the backseat of the crew cab and is comfortable for children only. However, that’s not a problem in the larger extended cab.
For folks who want a midsize truck, there are many good reasons to pick the well-rounded 2022 Toyota Tacoma. With eight trim models, there’s something for everyone in the Tacoma lineup.