2015 Toyota Tacoma Review
Pros & Cons
- Choice of four-cylinder or V6 power
- good four-cylinder fuel economy
- serious off-road prowess
- standard touchscreen
- convenient size
- strong resale value.
- Flat, low-mounted seats aren't ideal for comfort
- engines get raucous when pushed
- overly soft brake pedal feel.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Thanks to its strong engines, variety of configurations and versatile interior, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma remains a class leader. However, it's an older design, so we'd certainly recommend checking out GM's brand-new trucks if you're shopping for a midsize pickup.
If you're in the market for a new pickup truck, most of your options today are pretty large. Still, there are a handful of midsize pickup trucks like the 2015 Toyota Tacoma that have stood the test of time and provide a considerable measure of utility for buyers who don't need the towing and hauling abilities of the goliaths.
Although the 2015 Tacoma is largely the same truck that debuted back in 2005, there's a lot to recommend it after all these years, and it has earned an Edmunds.com "B" rating. To start, both of its available engines are viable choices. The standard four-cylinder engine provides decent performance and impressive fuel economy, while the available V6 turns the Tacoma into one of the quicker trucks in this class and offers ample grunt for towing. Beyond that, the Tacoma is relatively easy to maneuver and park for its size, and if you opt for its available off-road packages, it's one of the most capable vehicles on the road. Indeed, the available TRD Pro model is likely the most dirt-friendly pickup on the planet. Inside, all Toyota Tacomas come standard with Bluetooth and a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and tech features like mobile app integration and a rearview camera are available.
In spite of these strengths, the current Tacoma is beginning to show its age. The cabin feels cheap in places with lots of hard plastic surfaces, and although there's plenty of room, the seats have flat cushioning and are mounted low to the floor, which doesn't help road-trip comfort. And while the available engines provide decent fuel economy and power, they're pretty noisy when pushed for acceleration. Go to slow down and you'll find the braking performance satisfactory, but the pedal is squishy and difficult to apply smoothly, which doesn't inspire confidence. We're also a little sorry to see the Tacoma's regular cab body style go this year. Toyota was the last automaker to offer a midsize pickup with a regular cab, and while the extended and crew cab configurations are far more practical, the regular cab provided an affordable entry point to truck ownership.
On the whole, though, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma is a pretty solid bet for a midsize pickup truck. The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon make their debuts this year. They have slightly higher towing capacities, civilized ride quality and much more modern interiors. The 2015 Nissan Frontier is your other option in this class. It's just as old as the Tacoma and offers much of the same versatility and similar off-road capability. However, its four-cylinder engine is weaker and less fuel-efficient, and its crew cab's backseat is not as roomy. Although GM's brand-new trucks certainly hold the edge, within the small class of midsize trucks, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma still has plenty of appeal.
2015 Toyota Tacoma models
The 2015 Toyota Tacoma is a midsize pickup truck offered in two cab configurations: Access Cab (an extended cab with small rear-hinged doors) and Double Cab (crew cab). Access Cabs feature a standard 6-foot, 1-inch bed, while Double Cab models offer either a 5-foot short bed or the standard 6-foot1-inch bed.
Standard features on the rear-drive (two-wheel-drive) Tacoma Access Cab include 15-inch steel wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, power locks and windows, air-conditioning, a composite bedliner, a bed utility rail system, cloth upholstery, fold-up rear seats with underseat storage, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch Entune touchscreen display and an audio system with a CD player, iPod/USB connectivity and an auxiliary audio jack. A sliding rear window is optional.
The 2WD Double Cab adds black fenders, power mirrors, adjustable driver lumbar, a 60/40-split rear bench seat with adjustable headrests and rear bulkhead storage.
Specifying four-wheel drive on any base Tacoma brings an increased ride height, 16-inch steel wheels, black fenders (already standard on Double Cab), an engine skid plate and front mud guards. The PreRunner, offered in both Access and Double Cab configurations, is a rear-wheel-drive Tacoma that otherwise shares the standard features found on the 4WD Tacoma.
The Access Cab is eligible for the Convenience package (called the Convenience Extra Value package on the Double Cab), which adds keyless entry, power mirrors (Access Cab only), cruise control, a tinted sliding rear window and steering-wheel audio controls. The SR5 package includes those items plus chrome grille and rear bumper trim, color-keyed front bumper and fenders, foglights (V6 only), adjustable driver lumbar support (already standard on Double Cab), unique seat fabric, variable intermittent wipers, metallic-look instrument panel trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and (automatic-only) shift knob, dual sun visors with mirrors and extenders and a rearview camera.
Separately available, the SR package (available only with the PreRunner package or 4WD Tacomas) adds extended color-keyed exterior trim, exclusive black 16-inch alloy wheels, mirror-mounted turn signals, smoked headlights and (on V6 models) foglights.
V6-powered PreRunners and 4WD Tacomas are additionally eligible for the TRD Off-Road package, which includes the SR5 package plus a heavy-duty suspension with Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential, Hill-Start Assist and Downhill Assist (4WD automatic models only), 16-inch alloy wheels, TRD graphics, a 115-volt power point in the bed and sport seats. Alternatively, the TRD Sport package features a sport-tuned suspension (also with Bilsteins), 17-inch alloy wheels, a hood scoop, extended color-keyed exterior trim, the bed-mounted power outlet and essentially the same interior features as the TRD Off-Road package.
The TRD Pro offers the same off-road flair as the TRD Off-Road package, with much of the same equipment, plus a more aggressive look, unique paint, cat-back exhaust, an increased front ride height and side graphics.
Finally, the Limited package (V6 Double Cabs only) includes the SR5 package's items plus 18-inch chrome wheels, extended chrome exterior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an outside temperature gauge and Home Link, heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, a seven-speaker JBL audio system and a higher-resolution touchscreen with HD radio, satellite radio, a navigation system and the Entune mobile-app suite.
Tacoma V6 Double Cabs can also be equipped with the JBL audio system as a stand-alone option, while the upgraded touchscreen is available separately on both Access and Double Cabs, with or without navigation and Entune mobile apps.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Toyota Tacoma is available with rear- or four-wheel drive and a choice of two engines: a 2.7-liter four-cylinder or a 4.0-liter V6.
The Tacoma comes standard with a four-cylinder engine rated at 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on Access Cab models, while the rear-drive-only PreRunner Access and Double Cabs get a standard four-speed automatic that's optional on the others.
A rear-wheel-drive Tacoma with the four-cylinder and five-speed manual returns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined (21 city/25 highway), dropping to 21 mpg combined (19/24) with the automatic. Pair the four-cylinder engine with four-wheel drive and the EPA estimates 19 mpg combined with either transmission.
The V6 is rated at 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. The V6 comes with either a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual.
With the V6 and the automatic transmission, the EPA estimates 19 mpg combined (17/21) with rear-wheel drive and 18 mpg combined (16/21) with four-wheel drive. The V6 paired with the six-speed manual returns 18 mpg combined (16/21) with rear-wheel drive and 17 mpg combined (15/19) with 4WD.
In Edmunds performance testing, a 4WD Tacoma Double Cab V6 with the automatic covered zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, which is suitably quick for a midsize truck. Properly equipped, a Tacoma V6 can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Toyota Tacoma includes antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum) with brake assist, stability control, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints. A rearview camera is optional.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Double Cab 4WD V6 Tacoma stopped from 60 mph in 132 feet, an average distance for the segment.
In government crash testing, the Toyota Tacoma received an overall rating of four stars out of five. Crew cabs received three out of five stars for frontal crash impact protection, while extended-cab Tacomas received four stars. All Tacomas received five stars for side crash protection.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tacoma its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal offset and side crash tests, but its second-to-worst rating of "Marginal" in the roof strength test. Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
The four-cylinder Tacoma can seem overly noisy, and its performance certainly isn't going to blow anyone's doors off, but thanks to a healthy 180 lb-ft of torque, it actually packs a decent punch. This engine is a smart choice for small-business types, as it gets respectable fuel economy without being entirely gutless. The V6 engine is considerably brawnier, of course, and it's a no-brainer if you plan to do any serious towing.
On paved surfaces, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma rides firmly, particularly with one of the TRD suspension setups. It's not objectionable, and the new TRD Pro suspension is much more comfortable than the TX it replaces. The Tacoma's soft brake pedal feel fails to inspire confidence, even though the brakes' actual performance is just fine. Off-road, however, the Tacoma 4WD is a star, providing serious capability in an unassuming package. The comprehensive TRD Off-Road package is tempting (especially if you like loud exhaust pipes), but it's largely meant for serious off-roaders. Meanwhile, the four-cylinder 4WD Access Cab is one of the best go-anywhere bargains you'll find.
Although it's not especially modern or attractive, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma's cabin features a straightforward dashboard layout that puts practicality first, including simple three-dial climate knobs that are easily turned by gloved hands. Most panels are made of hard plastic, but build quality is perennially strong. Feature content is generally impressive, headlined by the standard touchscreen display with iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
The front bucket seats offer firm support, but the cushioning is pretty flat, and many drivers will find that their low mounting points relative to the floor hamper comfort. While the Access Cab's rear jump seats are fit only for small children or cargo, the Double Cab's backseat is surprisingly adult-friendly, especially compared with the cramped Frontier crew cab. In both cab styles, the rear seats flip up or fold down to provide an enclosed storage space.
The Tacoma's utility is enhanced by the standard composite bedliner, which guards against the dents and dings that typically accumulate in a truck bed. The optional bed-mounted 115-volt power outlet can be a real asset when you're on the job, and it'll also win you friends and admirers when you're camping or tailgating.