The 2013 Toyota Tacoma receives a new Limited package but otherwise carries over unchanged.
If you're looking for a truck that's not quite full-size but not a compact pool cleaner's special either, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma could work out well. As former owners of fuel-thirsty full-size trucks look to downsize without sacrificing utility, the Tacoma not only calms the dread of filling the tank, but also offers smaller dimensions that ease everyday tasks like threading tight parking lots or crowded traffic lanes.
The Tacoma offers multiple body styles, engines, drivetrains, suspensions and trim levels that broaden its appeal from no-frills work truck to comfortable family hauler. What it lacks in full-size work truck capabilities -- ask yourself how often you're going to tow 9,000 pounds -- the Tacoma makes up for with rugged build quality, excellent reliability and modern electronic conveniences like iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and Web-based app integration through Toyota's Entune system.
Buyers can outfit the Tacoma from the most basic single bench seat regular cab to the new well-appointed Limited edition off-road V6 workhorse. For 2013, the Limited edition offers luxuries like premium upholstery and heated front seats, perfect for those who need a midsize truck in colder weather. Those who want a more hard-core off-road machine -- or at least the look of one -- can opt for a Tacoma with the T/X package, while the X-Runner fills the bill for those who simply want a sharp-looking city truck.
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma is a top pick in a rapidly dwindling midsize segment. The cleverly designed 2013 Honda Ridgeline is a good truck for daily light-duty use, but its carlike frame lacks the sturdiness that most truck buyers want. Ford and GM have temporarily left the segment, leaving only the Nissan Frontier as the Tacoma's only serious competition. The Frontier is equally muscular, but its interior isn't as nice or refined.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma is a midsize pickup truck available with four-cylinder and V6 engines and with rear- and four-wheel-drive drivetrains. The Tacoma is offered with three cab types: Regular Cab, Access Cab (an extended cab with small rear-hinged doors) and four-door Double Cab. Regular and Access Cabs feature a 6-foot bed, while Double Cab models offer a standard 5-foot bed and an optional 6-foot bed.
Standard features on Tacoma Regular Cab base models include 15-inch steel wheels, a limited-slip differential, air-conditioning, a composite bedliner, a bed utility rail system, a cloth bench seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a four-speaker sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, CD player, USB/iPod port and an auxiliary audio jack. Regular Cab 4x4 models add 16-inch wheels, black fenders, an engine skid plate and front and rear mud guards. A sliding rear window is optional on all Regular Cabs.
The base model Access Cab gains upgraded cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, fold-up rear seats with under-seat storage, power locks and windows, a center console and a six-speaker sound system. The entry-level Tacoma Double Cab adds power mirrors, driver seat lumbar adjustment, a 60/40-split rear bench seat and rear seat vents.
Most options are grouped into packages, which can vary by region and drivetrain choices. The Convenience package adds a tinted sliding rear window, keyless entry, cruise control and steering-wheel audio controls to Access Cabs and Double Cabs (Access Cabs also get power mirrors). Several variations of the SR5 package (available on all but Regular Cabs and X-Runner Access Cab) combine items from the Convenience package with features like a chrome grille and rear bumper, foglights, variable-speed wipers, upgraded cloth upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a rearview camera.
The new Limited package includes most of the Convenience and SR5 features and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, upgraded upholstery, heated front seats and a four-way-adjustable driver seat.
Rear-wheel-drive PreRunner versions adopt a rugged off-road look without the increased traction, additional weight or reduced fuel economy of the four-wheel-drive models. The rear-wheel-drive X-Runner adopts a more street-oriented stance with a body kit, hood scoop, 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered sport-tuned suspension and standard V6, plus foglights and an upgraded sound system.
The TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport packages are only available for 4x4 V6 Access and Double Cabs. The Off-Road package includes 16-inch alloy wheels, fender flares, a heavy-duty suspension, a locking rear differential, hill start assist and hill descent control on automatic transmission models, skid plates, sport seats and most items from the SR5 and Convenience packages. The street-oriented Sport package includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a hood scoop, a sport suspension, hill start assist and hill descent control on automatic transmission models, sport seats and most items from the SR5 and Convenience packages.
The T/X and T/X Pro packages infuse V6 Access and short-bed Double Cabs with an even more aggressive off-road look, adding unique black alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, black tube steps and a stainless-steel exhaust tip. The T/X Pro adds to those items a cat-back exhaust and special side graphics.
Double Cabs with V6 engines can also be ordered with an upgraded seven-speaker audio and navigation system that includes HD radio, satellite radio, voice recognition, a rearview camera and Toyota's Entune smartphone integration.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma is available with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder or 4.0-liter V6 engine, and a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Most models come standard with the four-cylinder producing 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on Regular and Access Cab models, while the PreRunner Access and Double Cabs get a four-speed automatic (also available as an option on the two other body styles).
A two-wheel-drive Tacoma with the four-cylinder and five-speed manual returns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. Adding the automatic transmission drops those to 19/24/21. Four-wheel-drive models yield 18 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined regardless of transmission.
A 4.0-liter V6 comes standard with the 4x4 Double Cab and X-Runner, and is optional on the Access Cab and PreRunner Double Cab. The V6 makes 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque and pairs with a standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic.
A two-wheel-drive Tacoma with the V6 and automatic transmission returns an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 19 combined. Four-wheel-drive models yield 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 combined. The manual numbers are slightly worse.
In Edmunds performance testing, a V6 Tacoma Double Cab covered zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds -- suitably quick for a midsize truck. Properly equipped, the Tacoma can tow 6,500 pounds.
Standard safety equipment on the 2013 Toyota Tacoma includes antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum) with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints. Hill-start assist and downhill assist are available on four-wheel-drive models equipped with the automatic transmission.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Tacoma Double Cab came to a stop from 60 mph in a short 126 feet.
In government crash testing, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab received an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with three stars for frontal crashes and five stars for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tacoma its top rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side crash tests, but a second-to-worst rating of "Marginal" in the roof strength test.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma interior isn't fancy and there's a fair amount of hard plastic throughout, but the big cabin is still one of the nicest in this workhouse utility segment. Front bucket seats offer good comfort and support, though some may find them mounted too low to the floor. While the Access Cab's rear jump seats are only fit for small children (and then only in a pinch), the Double Cab's backseat is surprisingly adult-friendly, especially compared to the squished confines of the Nissan Frontier.
In both cases, rear seats flip up or fold down to create protected storage for items you'd rather not leave rolling around in the bed. Enhancing the Tacoma's utility readiness, the bedliner's composite material makes dents and dings a non-issue when hauling furniture, bikes or other materials with hard or pointed edges. The available bed-mounted household-style 115-volt AC outlet should also prove invaluable on camping trips and at tailgate parties.
Buyers who don't plan to tow heavy loads, or those who just want to save some money out the door, will find the 2.7-liter four-cylinder perfectly acceptable. It isn't especially more fuel-efficient than the brawnier V6, however, which is a better choice for work and play thanks to an abundance of low-range pull.
On pavement, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma's ride quality and handling are decent enough, although models fitted with firmer suspensions can feel jittery pulling an empty bed. Off-road, the four-wheel-drive Tacoma is an exceptional performer. Braking is the only area where the Tacoma comes up merely average. Its stopping power is acceptable, but the soft pedal feel doesn't inspire much confidence.
by happy163 on Jan 4, 2015 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Tacoma V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
I traded in my BMW for this truck and what a difference. I know I can't compare apples to oranges but basic things that were lacking in a 2013 model really irritated me. For instance I drove from California to the NW and on the way encountered cold weather, the side mirrors would fog up and there weren't any defrosters to clear this up. Also, the gas mileage was awful. This truck doesn't have a very strong engine. The standard sound system was ok but could be improved. The gearing on the manual transmission was very hard to shift. i guess it would be good as a hauling vehicle for short trips but other than that definitely not a daily commuter.
by brw115 on May 9, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A)
After owning a troubled GM truck for a decade, I had high hopes for this truck. Unfortunately it seems that Toyota has dropped the ball.
Though a smaller engine than the 6 cylinder S-10 I owned, this 4 cylinder gets worse gas mileage. The ride is very choppy and the Dunlop installed tires seem very cheap.
Why not Michelin Toyota? The exterior of the truck is stylish and the seats on the prerunner are very comfortable, but what is the deal with that cheap Entunes crap stereo?
The sound is awful and the so called voice activation rarely works.
I do like the space in the access cab and the warranty offered was excellent, but Toyota could do better.
by markymarc on Apr 4, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4dr Double Cab 5.0 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A)
I find it hard to believe how many people have blind loyalty to these trucks. There are countless issues with them if you just look them up on forums and blogs. I have most of the problems people complain about: Drive line vibrations, brake shutter, wheel shutter, loud dashboard creaks and rattles. The whole truck shakes like crazy when I try to accelerate hard from a dead stop. The engine is chirping like there's a belt problem. The valves clatter when the water temp is cold. I practically have to wait for the water temp to get to normal running level before it stops. I love the truck and I want to keep it forever, but I get the feeling it either won't hold up or I'll grow to resent it.
by bukstr on Dec 16, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Tacoma V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Bought a TRD Off-Road version and have already put 25K miles on it.
The truck is very comfortable to drive, relatively quiet inside, and it is just the right size for my needs.
The JBL sound system is comparable to the upgraded sound systems on most luxury cars.
The V6 provides more than adequate power, but I'd love to see the Tundras 4.6 V8 as an option.
The BFG tires that come with the off-road strike a great balance between on road and off road driving.
Also despite the Edmunds review the brakes are not at all spongy, if anything they are grabby.
by yodusty on Dec 8, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Tacoma V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I love my truck and wouldn't trade my truck for anything, but I have been spending lots of money for a little more horsepower and gas mileage. I am leaning more towards a turbo which are hard to come by because its too new. I'm not sure other Toyota models have more horsepower than the Tacoma. Other models include the Camry, 4-Runner, and FJ Cruiser.
by likenicethings on Nov 24, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A)
There are only a couple of choices for a mid-size pickup. The Tacoma is an average vehicle that could easily be much better.
All Tacoma's speedometers are off by 3 mph and all 4-cyl engines tick like toy engines.
The 4-cyl engines are less than adequate for a useful pickup truck.
The transmission has to downshift twice going up marginal grades at 65 mph. I want more mpg than the standard 1/2 Ton PU, but need enough power for adequate highway driving.
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