• (4.7) 219 reviews
  • MSRP: $24,575–$41,215
  • Body Style: Truck
  • Combined MPG: 18-21 See how it ranks
  • Engine: 278-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: 4x2
  • Towing Capacity: 3,500 lbs.
2017 Toyota Tacoma

Our Take on the Latest Model 2017 Toyota Tacoma

What We Don't Like

  • Lack of headroom
  • Cramped backseat
  • Hard-to-reach switches and climate controls
  • No height-adjustable driver's seat
  • Poor gas mileage (V-6)

Notable Features

  • New off-road-oriented TRD Pro version
  • Midsize pickup truck with choice of two cab styles
  • Four-cylinder or V-6 power
  • Rear- or four-wheel drive
  • GoPro mount on the windshield

2017 Toyota Tacoma Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

The Verdict

Toyota has crafted a solid update to the country’s best-selling midsize truck, but a cramped interior and questionable ergonomics keep it from being the best midsize truck.

Versus the competition

Though its TRD models have an edge off-road, the updated Tacoma is less spacious, comfortable and efficient than the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Nissan Frontier. It also falls behind the GM trucks in towing capability and safety features and technology content for the price.

Editor's note: This review of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma was written in April 2016. Since then, Toyota has added a top TRD Pro model for 2017, which you can see here. For more of what's new for 2017, click here, or to see a side-by-side comparison of the two model years, click here.

The midsize pickup segment, which had been shrinking year over year, is heating up thanks to the smashing success of GM’s redesigned Colorado and Canyon twins, which have been selling like crazy since their reintroduction just more than a year ago. But the Toyota Tacoma has been freshened for 2016 with new styling, a new interior, new engines and some new electronics (compare the 2015 and 2016 models here).

I tested two trim levels of the new Tacoma, a Limited and a TRD Off Road, both double-cab (crew-cab) versions with 5-foot cargo beds. The TRD is available in this configuration or with a 6-foot bed and Access Cab (extended cab) or double cab (the Limited is available only as tested).

Exterior and Styling

It’s certainly an attractive truck. It’s not all that different from the previous Tacoma, but it does look a little larger, a little chunkier. The windshield is very upright, with an A-pillar that curves dramatically. The front and rear ends tie in well with the latest full-size Tundra pickup and Toyota’s truck-based SUVs such as the 4Runner and Land Cruiser, so the family resemblance is definitely maintained.

My blue Limited had plenty of chrome and a deep air dam, large 18-inch wheels, chrome running boards and mirror caps, and body-colored bumpers and fender flares. My vivid orange TRD Off Road looked every bit the part, with black plastic bumpers and fender flares, no running boards or air dam to hinder ground clearance, 17-inch wheels with chunky off-road tires and blacked-out trim around the windows for a more Tonka-toy look. In either version, the Tacoma is a good-looking truck, but only true Toyotaphiles are likely to notice the differences versus the 2015.

How It Drives

A 159-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, but both of my test trucks were equipped with the optional 278-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. Unlike the Colorado/Canyon twins, a diesel engine is not available, but rumors persist that one is eventually coming to the Taco. You can have a manual transmission with the four-cylinder (a five-speed) or the V-6 (a six-speed). A six-speed automatic can be had with either engine. My Limited had the V-6 and automatic combination, while the TRD came with the manual, so I was able to sample both. Frankly, the automatic is the way to go because the manual transmission suffers from the typical problem with manuals in trucks — vague shift feel, long throws and a tall shift lever that felt like shifting an oar.

Better to let the truck shift for you, with its smooth six-speed auto that never had a problem kicking down for more power. The truck felt quicker with the automatic as well, always seemingly keeping the power on tap and drawing from the reasonably deep well of reserve oomph. Despite not being as powerful on paper as the GM trucks, it feels quicker, possibly due to its transmission gearing. 

Handling is nothing special — it feels well-controlled in either version, with pronounced body roll in both the Limited and TRD Off Road, which has a softer suspension. The upside to this softness is good ride quality, as little in the way of pavement irregularity disturbs the occupants. Just as in the Colorado Z71 off-road trim, the Tacoma’s off-road suspension is actually my preferred one. It soaks up bumps and potholes with much better control than the standard suspension. 

Braking performance is a shortcoming with the redesigned Tacoma, however. It was a pronounced weak point with the previous truck, called out by everyone in sibling website PickupTrucks.com’s 2015 Midsize Challenge, and it remains troublesome. They’re just not very powerful, with a vague initial bite and lack of stopping performance. One expects more deceleration for the amount of effort being applied to the brakes, but such is not the case, even under hard braking. 

Fuel economy is also a weak point. Depending on the configuration, the Tacoma’s gas mileage ranges from 17 mpg city in a four-wheel-drive V-6 with a manual transmission to 19 mpg in most of the other configurations. Highway mileage can be as high as 24 mpg in the two-wheel-drive V-6 automatic or as low as 20 mpg in the 4WD V-6 manual. My Limited was configured with the V-6, 4WD and automatic transmission rated at 18/23/20 mpg city/highway/combined, while the TRD Off Road came with 4WD and a manual transmission rated at 17/20/18 mpg. Neither model achieved these ratings in my two weeks of testing them, with the Limited faring slightly better at 18 mpg combined than the dismal 15 mpg I achieved with the manual TRD model. The ratings are better than Nissan’s Frontier V-6 4WD with an automatic, which is rated at a dismal 15/21/17 mpg, but struggles to catch the superior highway mileage of the Chevrolet Colorado V-6 4WD, rated at 17/24/20 mpg. Chevy then goes one further and offers up a diesel four-cylinder model rated at 20/29/23 mpg, but which in initial testing has turned in even higher numbers. 

Interior

Getting into the Tacoma is a bit of a contortion act, for despite the truck’s large overall size, the cabin itself is not spacious. The biggest deficit comes in the headroom department — being 6 feet tall, I have to duck while stepping up and into the Tacoma’s reasonably sized seats. And once there, the lack of headroom and inability of the driver’s seat to be lowered sufficiently means that my head touches the headliner on the TRD Off Road. Different, thicker leather seats in the Limited mean that my head is actually inside the moonroof opening on that model, canted at about 20 degrees from upright, or else I simply can’t sit in the truck without hunching over. Get rid of the moonroof, and this problem is ameliorated somewhat, as I found out from a brief spin in a buddy’s new ’16 TRD Off Road that lacked that feature. This is not a problem encountered in the Colorado, which has plenty of headroom and no need to duck when sliding up into the driver’s seat. 

I would say it seems like the Tacoma was designed for smaller, shorter people, but several of our editors (including other tall ones) reported trouble seeing over the hood, especially in a model with a hood scoop, and blasted the lack of a seat height adjustment for the opposite reason.

The driving position is also rather unusual due to the high floor. Your legs are straight out in front of you, and the steering wheel doesn’t adjust high enough for taller drivers. 

The much smaller Nissan Frontier comes with an experience closer to that of the Tacoma’s, however, designed as it was many years ago on an older compact truck platform. 

Electronics & Ergonomics

The switch arrangement in the Tacoma leaves much to be desired. The low position of the dash and controls combines with the high seating position to leave you hunting for climate controls and other buttons while on the fly. Visibility of the automatic climate control in the Limited model is awful and requires taking your eyes off the road for an extended period to figure out how to adjust things to your liking.

While it may be difficult to find the switches you desire, information displayed in the gauge cluster and on the large, bright touch-screen is simple and well-presented. The touch-screen itself is a bit confounding, often requiring more than one press to select a desired function, but it’s still an improvement over systems seen in previous Toyotas. The Entune multimedia system is functional and easy to use, and features the full suite of available apps to play with, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not yet offered, unlike the Chevy Colorado.

Cargo & Towing

The Tacoma features a choice of bed styles, 60.5 inches or 73.7 inches long, dependent on which body style you’ve chosen. My test vehicles’ short beds provided plenty of cargo room for hauling well over a dozen bags of lawn refuse to the city recycling center. The optional hard tonneau cover is easy to remove with just a single bolt and a couple of latches. I did not do any towing with the Tacoma, but the strong V-6 engine feels like it would have little problem tackling most jobs thrown at it.

The Tacoma can be equipped to tow up to 6,800 pounds with the V-6, with a maximum payload rating of 1,620 pounds (ironically, in the much less powerful four-cylinder model). This is less than the Colorado can haul, rated at 7,000 pounds for the V-6 model, and up to 7,700 pounds for the available diesel engine in the crew-cab 2WD model. The Frontier is smaller than either of these two trucks, with a choice of 4.75- or 6-foot beds and a maximum towing capacity of 6,500 pounds.  

Safety

The new Tacoma has not yet been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aside from a rollover rating of four stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has run a few tests and has given the ’16 model a rating of good (out of a possible good, acceptable, marginal or poor) in both the moderate front overlap crash test and the side-impact test. See the crash test results here. Like most light trucks, the Tacoma comes with a limited set of electronic active-safety features: Rear parking sonar, blind spot warning and cross-traffic alert are all available, but active crash avoidance technologies such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning are not available. See what safety features the Tacoma does offer here

To see how well child-safety seats fit in the Tacoma, view our Car Seat Check.

Value in Its Class

One of the Tacoma’s strengths is the wide variety of trims and features available, making it accessible to many across several price levels. It starts with the cheap base SR four-cylinder, 2WD Access Cab truck at $24,200 (all prices include destination), and covers several trim levels: SR, SR V-6, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off Road and Limited. The 4WD TRD Off Road focuses on suspension bits with an off-road-tuned setup complete with Bilstein shock absorbers, a lockable rear differential, Toyota’s advanced electronic active traction control and 16-inch wheels on chunky off-road tires, and starts at $33,000. The Limited is more on-road oriented, forgoing all the specially tuned off-road goodies and opting for 18-inch wheels, a standard automatic transmission, leather seats, a premium JBL audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power moonroof; it starts at $38,720 for a 4WD model. My two trucks were the TRD Off Road 4x4 double cab, which stickered at $36,630, and the Limited 4x4 double cab, which rang in at $41,024.

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon undercut the Toyota in price considerably, with the base Colorado starting at $20,995 and the Canyon coming in a bit more at $21,880. In comparing the TRD Off Road, the Colorado Z71 is most similar, with the Tacoma featuring standard navigation and an optional 12-speaker audio system, while the Colorado offers it up in a package and has only a seven-speaker audio upgrade. When it comes to luxury versions, the Colorado simply doesn’t have a competitor to the Tacoma Limited — you’ll have to go across the street to the GMC dealer and look at a Canyon SLT. There you also can get forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic all-wheel drive and true leather trim throughout. Coming for 2017 is a Canyon Denali, which should amp up the luxury content considerably with 20-inch wheels, premium leather and real aluminum trim. The Nissan Frontier is the cheapest competitor by far, however, starting at $19,190 for the base truck. It too offers an off-road model, the Pro-4X, and a more luxurious SL trim, but its advanced age and cramped quarters keep it on the list simply as a good budget alternative to the more expensive, newer trucks. Compare all four trucks here.

Consumer Reviews

(4.7)

Average based on 219 reviews

Write a Review

Very reliable!!

by Jonglad from Waynesburg Pa on December 10, 2017

Have had my new truck for approximately six weeks. I really like the new tacomas.Very reliable truck.

Read All Consumer Reviews

27 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2017 Toyota Tacoma trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Toyota Tacoma Articles

2017 Toyota Tacoma Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Toyota Tacoma Limited V6

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Toyota Tacoma Limited V6

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 2 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $1,400 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

24mo/unlimited

Free Scheduled Maintenance

24mo/25,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years