2009 Toyota Tacoma Review

Pros & Cons

  • 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.
  • Low seating position, spongy brake pedal, V6 can get noisy.
List Price Estimate
$6,225 - $9,240

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2009 Toyota Tacoma models

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.

2009 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Toyota Tacoma.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2009 Tacoma Prerunner 4cyl, Manual 5spd
n2wood,01/09/2013
Purchased in Dec 2009. Good looking truck. I have pampered truck for 48 months. Have same problems with radio as other owners - turns itself off and on in extreme cold or hot temps. Toyota appears to have resolved that problem after 2009. Just turned over 35,000 miles on odometer and clutch has started to slip. It is not operator error. I had a 1990 Toyota 6cyl, manual 5spd truck for 16 years and never had to replace anything, but starter and timing belt. Based on my google search, the problem is the clutch made in Mexico. A replacement AISIN clutch, made in Japan, appears to be reliable. Normal mpg has been 20-23 with non-alcohol gas.
General problems
pgrazioso,01/01/2012
Our truck is three years old. There is a squeeking noise in the shocks. We had the radio replaced. Also the lights on the dashboard for the the controls. The accelerator pedal was recalled. Gas mileage is less than we expected. Now we have rust on the frame. All-in-all we expected better from Toyota.
Frame rust
pgrazioso,01/01/2012
We've only had this 2009 for three years. There is lots of rust on both sides of the frame. There is also rust under the hood where the cross-bar supports the radiator. We are wondering if this is common and what people have done to solve the problem.
Toyota Quality And Integrety Hits Bottom
James Haggerty,12/20/2015
V6 4dr Access Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I own a 2009 Toyota Tacoma Sport. This is their top model with the most expensive tag yet the aluminum coating is peeling off the base metal on the rims. I contacted customer service and was told to take it to a dealership for inspection. The conclusion, (or should I say collusion as they appeared to know what the answer was going to be from corporate headquarters) , was that the bubbling and peeling was due to exposure to the elements. Toyota says it's normal usage issues and not their problem because the 3/36,000 warranty is over. All I could do is apologize for not having the forethought to bring them in at night. The value of the truck is now thousands less because the rims are peeled and bubbled so bad and guess who looses? Bottom line is don't buy a Toyota with aluminum rims or better yet don't trust Toyota until they start acting like the company they once were.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 Toyota Tacoma

Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma Overview

The Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma is offered in the following submodels: Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Regular Cab, Tacoma Double Cab. Available styles include PreRunner 2dr Regular Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), V6 4dr Access Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), PreRunner V6 4dr Double Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), X-Runner V6 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), 4dr Access Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), PreRunner V6 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), PreRunner V6 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 2dr Regular Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), PreRunner V6 4dr Double Cab 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), PreRunner 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), V6 4dr Access Cab 4WD 6.1 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and 2dr Regular Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma Base is priced between $12,000 and$15,264 with odometer readings between 29257 and96433 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner V6 is priced between $13,974 and$17,695 with odometer readings between 97759 and168407 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma V6 is priced between $14,500 and$24,900 with odometer readings between 167170 and167170 miles.

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Which used 2009 Toyota Tacomas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Toyota Tacoma for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2009 Tacomas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,000 and mileage as low as 29257 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Toyota Tacoma.

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Find a used Toyota Tacoma for sale - 8 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $20,467.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $18,475.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Tacoma for sale - 6 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $10,106.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 1 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $7,597.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Toyota Tacoma?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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