2009 Toyota Tacoma Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.7 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 159 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Toyota Tacoma

  • With rising gas prices gluing full-size trucks to dealer lots, folks who still need a pickup's utility should find that the midsize and more fuel-efficient 2009 Toyota Tacoma is an ideal alternative.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Wide variety of body styles and trims, engines offer good balance of power and fuel efficiency, excellent off-road ability, impressive build quality, well-appointed interior.

  • Cons

    Low seating position, spongy brake pedal, V6 can get noisy.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, all Toyota Tacoma pickups get standard stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a limited-slip differential. The standard audio system has also been upgraded, while Access Cab models get a new rear-seat design and standard power windows and door locks.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Mixed bag

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Tacoma

I bought my Tacoma used in 2011 with about 25,000 miles on it. I drove it for 3 years and 55,000 miles. I never had any kind of trouble with the engine or drive train, as far as reliability. It never broke down. My complaint was the truck always revved a little high while at idle. Also, the shifting was always weird. At low speed it would stay in low gear too long and rev high before shifting. Under load, the engine would knock. 3 of the 4 automatic door locks eventually quit working. The compass/thermo stopped working. The A/C fan would intermittantly stop working.




Good truck, disappointed in 6

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Tacoma

I bought this truck second-hand to tow a 23' trailer, weighing 5500 pounds loaded. The truck is underpowered for what I'm asking it to do, but gets the job done. Just don't expect to win any drag races. The Sport package handles extremely well for a 4wd live rear axle truck, and is stable towing even with P rated tires. My only real beef is with the 6 speed maual gearbox. It is the slowest, clumsiest tranny I've ever encountered. Forget quickly flicking through the gears - each shift is a two-stage affair with a forced pause at neutral. And it's not just my truck - I drove several examples, and they are all the same. It's a pity, because it is fun to drive otherwise.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Disappointed

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Tacoma

I bought this truck in May 2011, hoping it would be a reliable and economical vehicle for me to keep for a long time, eventually becoming my #2 vehicle. Ever since I got it, I haven't been happy with the way the engine idles. It sometimes revs fast, and sometimes wavers up and down. I also dislike the way the transmission shifts. It can sometimes be harsh and/or wait too long to shift. As of now, 3 of my automatic door lock mechanisms have quit working. The A/C blower is noisy, and will occasionally stop working. (If you kick it, it will work again.) I hate the way the brakes make a "clunk" sound the first time you hit them after going in reverse. Other than that, I've enjoyed it.




Love it!!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Tacoma

This has been an awesome truck for what I use it for. I bought it new in 2008 and it currently has 31000 mile on it. Although the miles are relativity low I have not had any failures of any type. The truck has been flawless. The truck is very comfortable considering the bench seat but I did add an aftermarket center console/armrest. Having a place to rest your arm made a big improvement over holding it in your lap or resting on the seat. Engine power in more then adequate. Brakes are a little spongy and road noise on this base model is noticeable.




Tacoma has known suspension problems

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Tacoma

I have had two Tacoma double cabs - 2004 and 2008. I bought the second because I was happy with the first. Unfortunately, the quality of the 08 Tacoma is disappointing and Toyota's response to documented suspension problems has been unsatisfactory. There is a widely known noise problem with newer Tacomas' suspension that the company has not addressed. The truck is now an embarrassment to drive because it groans so loud. Toyota Customer Cares does not at all! Recently, the truck got stuck in wet grass and I popped a ABS sensor before I could get it us stuck...4x4?




Performance and reliability

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Tacoma

MPG: 18 gal=370 miles city maximum. (Never gone past 3 gallon reserve to test out full mileage.) 18gal=400 highway maximum. 18 gal=~$60@$3.40-85octane(w/15%ethanol-Costco) I add LUCAS gas treatment also. Cons: Interior has cheap look and feel. Small spacing for legs. Paint scratches and chips easily. Frame rusts easily. ( Even after power-wash every time exposed to salty roads) Pros: Performance: Will do the job on any terrain(Even with the crappy tires sold by manufacturer: Firestone Destination LE) Engine is reliable and OK Design (accessibility-wise) Bottom line: Not fancy interior but great exterior look and performance.



Full 2009 Toyota Tacoma Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, all Toyota Tacoma pickups get standard stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a limited-slip differential. The standard audio system has also been upgraded, while Access Cab models get a new rear-seat design and standard power windows and door locks.

Introduction

People need trucks. Of the millions that roam America's roads, though, there are a great many driven by folks who don't come close to utilizing their pickups' full potential -- particularly the full-size examples. Until recently, lower gas prices have made such an overkill automotive purchase acceptable -- but today, full-sizers are clogging dealer lots worse than a lifetime of bacon triple cheeseburgers clog your arteries. Luckily for those who truly need a pickup, there are midsize alternatives to the jumbo full-sizers. Among them, the 2009 Toyota Tacoma is your best bet.

Adding to the Tacoma's practicality is a wide variety of combinations based on different cab styles, bed lengths, engines and trim levels. From the bare-bones work truck to the high-zoot Double Cab SR-5 with a long bed, there should be a Tacoma that fits anyone's needs. Plus, with an impressive interior and high level of available equipment, including an increase in standard safety content for 2009, the Tacoma can be as friendly to a plumber and his crew as it is to a family of four.

In the past, we basically dismissed the base four-cylinder engine, since the V6 was clearly better suited to the Tacoma's mass. With rising gas prices, however, the four-cylinder, with its output of 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, certainly seems more attractive. If your Tacoma is going to be used as a work truck and not involved with any heavy towing, the four-cylinder's fuel savings is an important aspect to consider. It offers more power than all but one competitor's four-cylinder, while offering better fuel economy. In total, the Tacoma is also a better-rounded candidate than those competitors, which include the Chevy Colorado, Dodge Dakota and Nissan Frontier.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Toyota Tacoma is a midsize pickup available in a regular cab, an extended cab (Access Cab) that features small rearward-opening doors, and a crew cab (Double Cab) with four full-size doors. Both Regular and Access Cabs come with a 6-foot cargo bed. The Double Cab has a shortened bed to make it less cumbersome to maneuver, though you can still get the 6-foot bed if you want.

Tacoma Regular Cabs are meant primarily for workhorse duty and are sparsely equipped. Standard features include 15-inch steel wheels, a limited-slip differential, a composite bedliner, a bed utility-rail system, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a front bench seat and a four-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The Tacoma Access Cab gains air-conditioning, power locks and windows, a rear bench with underseat storage and six speakers. The Tacoma Double Cab adds keyless entry, upgraded cloth upholstery and driver lumbar adjustment.

Most options are grouped into packages available throughout the cab lineup. The SR-5 Package bundles exterior enhancements with interior upgrades (fancier seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control). The TRD Off-Road Package includes 16-inch alloy wheels, fender flares, exterior chrome trim, a heavy-duty suspension, a locking rear differential, skid plates and sport seats. The TRD Sport Package includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a hood scoop, a sport suspension and sport seats. Separate options available include alloy wheels, cruise control, a towing package, rear park assist and an upgraded stereo with six-CD changer, satellite radio and Bluetooth (Double Cab only).

All body styles are available in both two- and four-wheel drive. A PreRunner version available in all body styles gets the rugged look and suspension of a 4WD truck without the added weight, fuel appetite and traction of actual 4WD. The rear-drive-only X-Runner version is more performance-oriented, with a body kit, 18-inch alloy wheels, a low ride height, a hood scoop, foglamps and an upgraded stereo.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Toyota Tacoma Regular and Access Cabs come standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel-drive models come with the choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed auto. Four-wheel-drive models only get the manual. Fuel economy for a rear-drive four-cylinder Tacoma with the auto is 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. Getting a manual improves that number slightly, while getting 4WD hurts it more.

The 4.0-liter V6 standard on the Double Cab and optional on the Access Cab produces 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. The Double Cab is 4x4 only. With the exception of the PreRunner Double Cabs, a five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a five-speed automatic optional. A Tacoma Double Cab V6 we tested sprinted to 60 mph in just 7.8 seconds, making it one of the quickest midsize trucks available. Fuel economy for the 4x4 Double Cab with the auto is 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. Opting for the manual or the 4x2 Access Cab helps mileage. When properly equipped, the Tacoma can tow 6,500 pounds.

Safety

All Tacoma pickups for 2009 come with stability and traction control, antilock brakes (disc front, drum rear) with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active headrests. Hill-start assist control (HAC) and downhill assist control (DAC) are provided for 4WD models equipped with an automatic transmission.

In government crash testing, the Tacoma received a top five-star rating for its protection of occupants in frontal and side-impact crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tacoma its top rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset crash test. The Tacoma is also the only compact/midsize truck to receive the highest rating of "Good" in the IIHS side-impact test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Tacoma is restrained in design, yet still offers high levels of quality and practicality. Fully loaded models include metallic trim and are quite classy -- especially compared to industrial rivals like the Dodge Dakota. The gauges and controls are straightforward and easy to use. The Double Cab's rear seat is comfortable for adults and storage space is plentiful. (There's a new rear-seat storage system standard on the Access Cab.) However, some drivers might take issue with the positioning of the driver seat, feeling that it's mounted too low to the floor. For hauling cargo, a non-rusting and dent-resistant composite cargo bed comes standard on all models, while an optional bed-mounted 115-volt/400-watt electrical outlet is ideal for campers and outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Driving Impressions

In this time of rising gas prices, the four-cylinder engine we once dismissed as simply "adequate" doesn't look that bad anymore. Its acceleration won't blow you away, and don't count on towing anything, but for a work truck, it makes sense. However, the V6 is a strong all-around performer, with plenty of pull down low and a willingness (albeit a somewhat noisy one) to spin into the upper rev ranges. Plus, towing heavy loads poses no problem for this powertrain. In terms of handling, the 2009 Toyota Tacoma feels like a true truck from behind the wheel. It excels in off-road situations and is reasonably comfortable on the street. But depending on how it's equipped and whether it's carrying a load or not, the Tacoma's ride can seem skittish and bouncy at times.

Talk About The 2009 Tacoma

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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