2012 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 Pickup (4.0L V6 4x4 5-speed Automatic 5.0 ft. Bed) w/opt TRD Off-Road Package
Driven On 7/24/2012
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
There are only a handful of midsize pickups these days, and the Tacoma is a very safe bet in the category with a solid engine, functional interior and excellent off-road ability.
PerformanceBecause the Tacoma TRD V6 is a pickup focused on blazing new trails, its everyday usability suffers compared to a crossover or SUV, not to mention a more street-oriented Tacoma.
The V6 delivers powerful enough acceleration that you won't wish you'd bought a full-size pickup with a V8.
Somewhat long panic stopping distances can be blamed on the off-road hardware, though they are within the range of similarly equipped trucks. The squishy brake pedal feel isn't our favorite.
Steering is highly isolated and intended to manage grueling off-road conditions; precision on pavement isn't part of the program.
Stable enough during normal driving, but off-road tires, soft suspension and slow-ratio steering aren't suited to high-speed handling.
An off-road truck will always feel out of sync with the rest of the commuter crowd; long-travel throttle and brake pedals, isolated steering and spongy suspension.
Properly equipped, the Tacoma V6 will tow up to 6,400 pounds -- a decent amount for a truck this size.
There are few pickup trucks that will give the Tacoma V6 TRD much competition while off-road thanks to good ground clearance, modified traction control, locking diffs, etc.
ComfortIf you're looking for a comfortable vehicle, you're shopping in the wrong category. The Tacoma (especially the 4WD TRD version) is an off-road ready truck, not an everyday commuter for everyone.
Front seats are generally flat and lacking in side bolstering, and you feel as if they're riding on the floor. Rear seats are benchlike and rather upright.
An apt description is "rides like a truck" with vibrations and reverberations throughout the cabin common to trucks with off-road tires and suspension.
Both tire and wind noise are expectedly high.
InteriorA recent update has dressed up the interior but it remains a utilitarian design. New features bring it into expected levels of connectivity and infotainment.
Big knobs, buttons, and switches are well labeled and logically placed. Nothing fancy but nothing wrong either.
This truck's typically high hip-point is somewhat addressed with the Tacoma's low seats. Four full-size doors make for better passenger access, especially to the rear seats.
There are few places to temporarily stow small items, but the glovebox, central armrest and door pockets are sizable.
There are advantages to a midsize pickup, and visibility is one of them. Parking is made easier with the optional reverse camera.
Rear seats 60/40-split folding for interior cargo; the dent-resistant bed (available in two lengths) will take the lion's share of those duties; bed extender & roof rack optional.
ValueThere's undeniable value here if this truck is going to be used at all as an off-road vehicle. Asking price is fair, options are reasonable, and fuel economy is decent.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The Tacoma is practically battle-tested, so the build quality is about as good as it gets for an off-road vehicle.
Recent updates to standard and optional equipment have made the Tacoma far more modern than you remember.
Considering the $27K Double Cab V6 is at the top end of the full Tacoma line ($17K-$28K), and overlapping with Tundra prices, you'd have to really want this one. Consider an FJ?
The V6 is rated by the EPA to earn 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway; expect to earn about 18 mpg in mixed driving. That's reasonable for a 2-ton off-road truck.
With just a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5 years/60,000 miles on drivetrain, this tough truck should have better coverage.
Roadside assistance is covered for 2 years/25,000 miles, but the reputation for Tacoma reliability is legendary nonetheless.
Fun To DriveThe Tacoma Double Cab TRD V6 isn't awful on pavement, but if you want to have fun, then you'll have to go someplace and get dirty.
The V6 is strong and has a presence, the transmission is smooth and intelligent, but everything else is very trucklike, so be ready for it.
It has the toughness you need for hard-core driving in the dirt, but don't expect it to feel as bland as a rental car on the pavement.