2019 Toyota Tacoma Review
2019 Toyota Tacoma Review
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Toyota Tacoma model years
Toyota Tacoma types
- Access Cab
- Double Cab
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Travis Langness has worked in the automotive industry since 2011. He has written thousands of car-related articles and tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career.
- Rugged off-pavement capability
- Easily understood interior controls
- Composite truck bed has movable tie-down cleats and a power outlet
- Top-level V6 can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission
- Off-road emphasis produces tall step-up height
- Driving position not ideally suited for taller drivers
- Economy-oriented shift programming makes it feel sluggish
- Updated TRD Pro trim with more off-road-ready equipment
- Available TRD Pro high-mounted "snorkel" air intake
- All trims now have two additional USB charge ports
- Part of the third Tacoma generation introduced for 2016
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma is the quintessential pickup truck. It offers strong towing capacity, excellent off-road ability, and all the utility you could ask for in a midsize truck. Sure, it also has modern amenities and safety features that keep it competitive in an ultra-modern class of pickups. But mostly, the Tacoma is a truck that's dedicated to getting you anywhere you want to go.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2019 Toyota Tacoma SR 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (2.7L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$182/mo for Tacoma SR
Avg. Compact Truck
Under the hood, the Tacoma offers a relatively efficient four-cylinder engine or a more robust V6. It can be had with two- or four-wheel drive, and it's available as a crew-cab or extended-cab truck. So, it has all the basics covered. Then, when you move inside, there's a solid base of standard equipment such as a rearview camera, forward collision warning and a stereo with USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Along with extra creature-comfort features such as heated seats and an upgraded stereo, the Tacoma also offers some of the most impressive off-road packages in the class — with items such as monotube or internal bypass shocks, skid plates, a hood-mounted snorkel intake, and advanced traction control systems.
As you might expect with such a utilitarian vehicle, especially one with so much off-road capability, the Tacoma suffers a bit in the comfort department. Competitors have it beat when it comes to ride comfort, seat comfort, interior space and infotainment interfaces. Despite those drawbacks, however, the Tacoma should be at the top of any truck shopper's short list.
Notably, we picked the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD as one of Edmunds' Best Off-Road Trucks for this year.
What's it like to live with?
We wanted to know what the newest Tacoma was like to live with, so the Edmunds' editorial team purchased a 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road to see for ourselves. We lived with it for nearly two years, putting 40,155 miles on the odometer. The Tacoma has received some updates since it's redesign in 2016, so the 2019 model is slightly different. There are some additional standard safety features such as lane departure alert and forward collision warning, a few extra USB ports, and a few more options to choose from, but it's the same generation truck, so most of our observations still apply. To learn more about the Toyota Tacoma, check out all the details in our long-term test, where we cover everything from seat comfort to real-world fuel economy.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.4 / 10
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab (3.5L V6 | 6-speed automatic | 4WD | 5-foot bed).
|Overall||7.4 / 10|
The Tacoma's powertrain is its weak point on the road due to an overly shifty transmission. But the truck makes the right moves for an outdoorsy 4x4 that does not care whether the road is paved or not. Brake modulation could be better on-road. In the unpaved realm, the Tacoma stands out.
The Tacoma's 3.5-liter V6 puts up decent power and torque specs, but it's not at all responsive when driven casually. You'll need to rev it up to get it to respond. At our test track, our Tacoma did the 0-60 mph sprint in 8.1 seconds, which is notably slower than the Colorado, Ridgeline and Ranger.
There's a lot of nosedive, and the brakes are difficult to modulate because of a too-jumpy initial bite and too-aggressive release characteristics. Hard stops are straight and true, but our 60-0 mph panic-stop test persisted for 140 feet. That's not as good as it could be, but it's about average for a 4WD pickup with off-road package tires.
The steering is predictable but also slow and deliberate. The effort buildup is smooth and progressive as you guide the Tacoma through corners, and it's steady and connected when cruising straight. The chunky leather-wrapped steering wheel feels good in your hands. When off-roading, it's precise and reassuring.
Handling comment: Body roll is gradual and restrained. The Tacoma imparts a good sense of overall competence and coordination on the sorts of winding roads you inevitably need to traverse on the way to the campground, ski lodge or trailhead. The grip from the off-road package tires is similar to others in the class. Only the Ridgeline handles more like a car .
The Tacoma's six-speed automatic shifts smoothly, but its calibration favors higher gears and hunts annoyingly due to wide gear spacing and the engine's relative lack of torque. The ECT Power mode alters shift points to help but not enough.
All versions do well, but the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro have the suspension, tires and abundant clearance to go places other pickups cannot. A locking differential and the Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control systems are real advantages, and the throttle and brake response feel excellent when crawling in low range.
This Tacoma rides smoother and has better noise isolation than the previous model, and it excels compared to the competition, too. The seats are comfortable, but the seating position is unusual in order to maximize ground clearance. It's more of an entry issue, though, than a comfort one.
The seats feel comfortable and supportive even though their adjustments are quite simple. The bigger issue is the seating position, which is more legs-out than expected in a truck.
The ride is decently smooth. The Bilstein shocks and the tall sidewalls of the 16-inch TRD Off-Road tires are adept at filtering out small road flaws — better, in fact, than the Limited's 18-inch tires. Still, the ride is truckier compared to some others.
Noise & vibration7.0
The Tacoma's cabin is decently quiet from wind and road noise. The engine and exhaust moan unpleasantly when under load. Even so, it's not a bad place to pass the miles.
We like the chunky size and obvious operation of the Tacoma's climate controls, and the outlets are easy to aim and close. The system heats and cools the cabin effectively, too.
The attractive interior is also nicely laid out, with easily understood and effective controls. There's plenty of space up front, though headroom isn't top-hat worthy. The most significant shortcomings are the relatively tall step-up to get into the cabin and the odd driving position.
Ease of use8.0
All the switchgear is exceptionally easy to reach and understand. That includes the automatic climate control and touchscreen audio system, which are operated via knobs.
Getting in/getting out6.0
A high floor results from the Tacoma's high-ground-clearance, off-road design philosophy. The Tacoma has a notably higher step-in than trucks such as the Colorado, and the odd legs-out seating position reduces step-out leverage. Compared to the Colorado ZR2, the TRD Pro has a lower, more accessible seat.
It's an odd driving position due to the proximity of the seat bottom to the floor — your legs largely stick straight out. Your position is less natural than in other trucks. The steering wheel's telescoping range is minimal.
There's plenty of personal space in the Tacoma. Front-seat headroom isn't expansive, but you've got to be at least 6 feet tall to notice. The crew cab's back seat is cozier than the Colorado's, but it has more toe space.
The view is clear out in all directions, and the high seating position makes it easy to spot the front corners. The rear windows are large, and the mirrors are a good size.
The interior features panels look less like hard plastic than the competition's, even though they don't really impress. The build quality is solid, and our test truck didn't squeak or rattle, even when off-roading.
The Tacoma's bed is a model of usefulness. Its relatively low and short sides make for an easier reach than the Colorado, and its numerous bed accessories are available across many trims. Cabin storage is decent in variety, though none of the nooks are particularly large.
There are a good-size console bin and glovebox, plus a couple of small cubbies. The door pockets are average, which isn't saying much among midsize pickups. Overall, cabin storage meets expectations, but it's nothing to write home about.
The crew cab's folding rear seat is more cargo-friendly than the Colorado's despite its smaller backseat volume. It's also fussier to fold, but the payoff is a far lower load height and a totally flat load surface with a tough plastic facing. Plus you'll find storage cubbies beneath the seat bottom and seatback.
Child safety seat accommodation6.5
LATCH points are provided, and they are easy enough to find and use. But the top tethers are hard to access because you've got to tip the rear seatback forward. The Tacoma's crew cab isn't roomy, so bulkier seats will not fit without front passengers scooting forward to make allowances.
A rear-wheel-drive V6 Tacoma can tow as much as 6,800 pounds. Our TRD Off-Road can tow 6,400 pounds. Both are solid numbers for a midsize truck. The tow package includes hitch, wiring, extra cooling, a bigger alternator and trailer sway control.
The Tacoma's rated payload isn't stellar, but it's the top dog when it comes to the bed itself. The standard composite bed is its own bedliner, and it includes prominent notches to enable two-tier loading. The tailgate is damped, and the bedsides are low enough that it's easy to reach in and grab cargo. Inside, there are six tie-down eyes, four movable tie-down cleats and two molded-in storage compartments. An optional 120-volt, 400-watt power outlet is available.
The Tacoma is a mixed bag when it comes to tech features. It's great when it comes to active safety gear because it's all standard. But audio-related tech is another ballgame — one that Toyota is losing. The Tacoma's approach to smartphones and smartphone integration is simply way out of touch.
Audio & navigation6.5
The touchscreen audio system uses a pleasing combination of fixed buttons, virtual touchscreen buttons, and fixed volume and tune knobs. The optional JBL audio system sounds great for a truck-based system. Built-in navigation is a necessary (and inexpensive) option because it's the main way to get a map on the screen.
The Tacoma lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, favoring Toyota's proprietary, and needlessly complicated, Entune system instead. Best to soldier on without that. Bluetooth phone and audio pairing is easy enough.
Every Tacoma comes standard with a safety suite that includes automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, a drowsy driver warning system, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. On competing models, aids such as these are optional, relegated to higher trim levels or simply not available.
Toyota's voice command system requires a bit of a learning curve to allow the system to adjust to your style of speech through a setup process. It works OK after that, but it still isn't too responsive to compound commands and natural speech. iPhone users have it easy because, even though there's no CarPlay, it does support Siri — just press and hold the voice button longer.
Which Tacoma does Edmunds recommend?
The topped-out TRD Pro and Limited trim levels are the most appealing of the Tacoma offerings, but they're also the most expensive. So, if you're looking for great value alongside great capability, we recommend the TRD Off-Road trim level. It comes with the upgraded V6 powertrain and can be had in both extended-cab or crew-cab configurations. It is also available with an impressive suite of comfort features such as heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and an upgraded JBL stereo.
2019 Toyota Tacoma models
The Tacoma is offered in six trim levels: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited and TRD Pro. The entry-level SR is the work truck of the bunch, with the value-oriented SR5 offering more equipment and more choices. Next up are the very popular and well-equipped TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road variants. The two are identical on the inside, but hardware differences make the TRD Off-Road more capable when the going gets rocky. Finally, there is the street-oriented Limited, which has a long list of creature comforts, and the TRD Pro, which is the most off-road-capable Tacoma in the lineup.
While the SR is the least-expensive Tacoma, it isn't entirely bare-bones. It can be had with an extended cab (Access Cab) with a 6.1-foot bed or a crew cab (Double Cab) with a 5-foot bed, and you can choose between two-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive with a low-range transfer case. Its 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine (159 horsepower, 180 lb-ft of torque) is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Other standard equipment for the SR includes 16-inch steel wheels, a sliding rear window with privacy glass, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, a tough composite bed that needs no bedliner, a movable cleat tie-down system, and a backup camera fitted in the tailgate release handle. Inside, there are four-way-adjustable cloth seats (with driver-side lumbar adjustment), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 4.2-inch driver display screen, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and a basic Entune stereo, which supports Bluetooth and Siri Eyes Free voice control and has a USB interface.
For most buyers, the SR5 is the better deal. On top of the SR equipment, you can also get a long-wheelbase version that pairs the crew cab with the 6.1-foot bed. On the outside, you get some chrome exterior trim, foglights and 16-inch alloy wheels. Also included on the SR5 are remote keyless entry and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with control buttons for an enhanced Entune audio system, which supports satellite radio and comes with smartphone-enabled navigation via the Scout GPS app.
Next up is the TRD Sport. It is offered in the same cab and bed configurations as the SR5, but it replaces the four-cylinder engine with a 3.5-liter V6 (278 hp, 265 lb-ft). All rear-wheel-drive versions use the six-speed automatic, but four-wheel-drive buyers can choose between the automatic and a performance-oriented six-speed manual.
The TRD Sport comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, body-colored fender flares and rear bumper, turn signals in the mirror housings, a hood scoop, a 120-volt/400-watt power outlet in the bed, a power-sliding rear window (crew-cab only), push-button start (for automatic-transmission trucks), a wireless smartphone charging pad, and a 7-inch center touchscreen with navigation.
The TRD Off-Road offers nearly the same configuration and engine options as the TRD Sport, and its truck bed and interior and audio trimmings are identical. Visual differences include a chrome rear bumper, textured black fender flares and the absence of the Sport's hood scoop. Off-road performance changes include the deletion of the front airdam, extra skid plates, a lockable rear differential, Bilstein monotube shocks, and an advanced off-road traction control system with multiple terrain settings and crawl control.
Both the TRD Sport and the TRD Off-Road crew-cab models can be upgraded with a few option packages. Feature highlights include a sunroof, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, leather upholstery, and a JBL speaker upgrade and a subwoofer. It's worth noting that the stereo upgrade is not available on models with the manual transmission.
The Limited is the most refined version of the Tacoma. It is only offered as a V6-powered crew cab with the short bed in either two- or four-wheel drive. It has a body-colored rear bumper and flares, and it rolls on 18-inch wheels with lower-profile tires. It lacks the TRD Off-Road's specialized off-road upgrades and is instead upgraded with just about all of the Off-Road's and Sport's optional features as standard equipment.
The TRD Pro is sold only as a crew cab with a short bed, and it comes only in four-wheel drive. The V6 engine is standard, but you can choose between the manual and the automatic transmission. It's equipped like a loaded-up TRD Off-Road, but it sets itself apart with special styling details, including a black grille, and performance upgrades such as Fox internal bypass shocks, all-terrain tires, a thicker front skid plate, and a ride height that's an inch taller.
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
1 out of 5 stars
Dennis B, 10/30/2019
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4dr Double Cab 5.0 ft. SB (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Just purchased a 2019 Tacoma TRD Off Road and been having issues with the transmission searching for a gear. Only 1500 miles on it. Took it back to dealer last Sunday and the technician went along with me. He noted the same hesitation in the transmission. Service advisor wanted me to bring it back on Tuesday when they had the right tech there. Navigation is horrible as well. Not … happy with my purchase right now. Better hope Toyota fixes this otherwise they'll need to buy this back. Update 4/30/2021 - brought in to Toyota of Hollywood for fuel pump recall. Also ask them if they can drive it because I'm still having issues with the transmission hesitating at low speeds. When I picked up the vehicle after the fuel fuel pump was installed service manager said they took it for a test drive and there's nothing wrong with it. This is not right!! I told him I will be back after make an appointment and I will drive with the technician so he can feel what I'm feeling. Still not happy with this truck and Toyota!
3 out of 5 stars
Underwhelmed, barely decent.
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4dr Double Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
2019 TRD Off Road. Virtually no miles on the truck, 250 miles as of today. Immediately noticed vibration upon braking from 40-0 mph, this was pulling out of the dealership. Did some digging and found there could be potential issues with axles and/or drums being out of round. There is a technical service bulletin to address this for 2018 models (non-TRD), but nothing for mine. I am … still going to the dealer this week to address. Brakes have little feel and are grabby, but at least are powerful and adequate. Noticed the hood flutters at highway speed in a couple of spots. Seems like another "standard" issue where the glue from the hood skin can become cracked and allow the hood to not be 100% attached to the skeleton, which causes vibration. The transmission seeks, hunts, and prefers gas mileage over power AND driveability. IE running 80 on a freeway and a slight hill requires a hefty foot-punch to keep it up to speed. Makes the truck feel gutless and underpowered. Tranny is constantly changing gears and can not make it's mind up. The infotainment system is grossly outdated. Entune and the premium JBL sound system are horrible. My 2002 Honda Accord had better sounding highs and more range. That isn't a joke. I read 1 review that said at full volume you can still talk to a passenger, that is 100% true. It sucks. Navigation sucks. Software will read you a text while you're sitting still in park, but not when you're driving. How much sense does that make? The good.....very little as far as I'm concerned. The design of the interior and exterior is attractive. My truck is a TRD Off Road with Limited trim, so leather seats, sun roof, etc. The leather is ok. Is not up to par with my dads 2009 Tundra. The sun roof and other features are essentially useless to me in the real world. Even though the transmission stinks, the truck stills drives well. I have not had any issues with loud noises, wind, tires, or else. It steers and handles well. Gas mileage has been about 16-17mpg. Really wish I could like this truck more. For $41k, Toyota should do better.
4 out of 5 stars
Poor shift points
2019 Toyota Tacoma SR5 4dr Access Cab 6.1 ft. SB (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Many great features and the gas mileage is excellent for a pickup. Getting in is a big step but I like driving from a high position. Safety features are good but it does not come standard with blind spot sensors. It does tell you if you begin to cross the center line without turning on your turn signal. What I hate is the transmission shift points. It shifts up far to quickly which makes … it necessary to down shift to maintain a reasonable speed on city streets. Far to many annoying shifts. Engineers should have driven this truck before approving the transmission shift program.
3 out of 5 stars
The V6 with auto transmission is infuriating
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4dr Double Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
It's well documented that the V6 doesn't make power in low RPM. It is equally well documented that the transmission hunts between 6,5, and sometimes 4 on the highway. The most infuriating thing about driving this truck is that the transmission just seems to never be in the right gear. Attempting to pass is an adventure unless you flip the transmission into manual mode and select the … passing gear yourself. Folks with the manual transmission seem to be much happier with the truck. It is amazing how well these things hold their value though, even though they are a really mediocre and dated vehicle. The TRD Off-Road is pretty dang good on dirt but it's awful everywhere else.
2019 Toyota Tacoma video
[MUSIC PLAYING] DAN EDMUNDS: For the last several years, the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado have dominated the mid-size pickup market. But we haven't seen a Ford Ranger since 2011. But now it's back. JASON KAVANAGH: And we've got all three pickups here today at the same time, the same place to find out-- where does new Ranger fit in? ELANA SCHERR: But before we find out, we need you to subscribe to the channel. And visit Edmunds for all your truck buying needs. JASON KAVANAGH: These trucks are all crew cab 4x4 configurations. We've got a Ford Ranger XLT with the FX4 package, a Chevrolet Colorado Z71, and a Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road. Now, these are affordable off-road packages and not the top-dog offerings. ELANA SCHERR: You know, I gotta get in here and say, I like big trucks and I cannot lie. But I might be willing to be won over to mid-size. I mean, I get it. It's a lot more convenient for daily driving, and hey-- if they can play in the dirt, that's even better. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, and I've got a Le Mans race car I have to tow, but I live in a city, so I can't deal with a full-size pickup. It's just too big. For me, a mid-size pickup is the only solution. DAN EDMUNDS: As for me, I go overlanding, and off-road performance is really important. I'm willing to put up with a truck that isn't perfect Monday through Friday if it does what I want on the weekend. JASON KAVANAGH: You might be wondering, where's the Honda Ridgeline? After all, it's our top-ranked mid-size pickup. The reason why is because it lacks some of the off-road capability of these other trucks. For example, it doesn't have a locking differential, low range, or even some of the ground clearance of these others. For those reasons, we parked it for this test. DAN EDMUNDS: This version of the Tacoma has been around since 2016. It's available with a four-cylinder, or what this truck has-- a 3.5-liter V6. It's pretty much a 4Runner pickup truck. JASON KAVANAGH: The Ranger is all-new to North America. It's been sold in its current form in Australia and other places for a few years now. The difference is, we get a unique engine and transmission-- an EcoBoost four-cylinder with a 10-speed automatic. ELANA SCHERR: The current Colorado dates back to 2015. It's got kind of a big truck energy, like a shrunken Silverado. You can get it with a four-cylinder, or a diesel, or the gasoline V6, which is what we're testing. All right, I don't mean to make a pun on the Toyota name, but the inside of the Tacoma is kind of like a toy-- in a good way, like one of those old Playskool cars, where it's big, chunky plastic controls, big knobs, and gauges and vents. It's all really easy to get to, easy to use. The off-road controls are all up here, which is fantastic because you don't need them when you're driving around in the city. And they're easy to get to and very clear when you're out in the dirt. There's a lot of storage in convenient places for both the driver and the passenger-- very egalitarian in here. I do wish that maybe instead of 10 cup holders, they'd had two USB ports-- there's only one. And there's also no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It's like, hi-- it's 2019. If you don't like that stuff, or you don't care about that stuff, you'll really like the interior because it's very friendly, very on-brand for Tacoma. I feel like Toyota sort of forgot about the comfort of the passengers in the rear seat when they designed this. You sit up really high. The seats are really flat. And there's not a whole lot of leg room and definitely not a lot of headroom. That might be a little bit because we've got the optional sunroof. But as it sits, I certainly wouldn't want to be off-roading in the back of this. There's also just not a lot to do back here. You don't even have an armrest. As mentioned, you definitely don't have a USB port. Mm, you've got cup holders though-- six of them. Where the backseat of the Tacoma really shines though, is in the usability and flexibility of its in-cab storage. I'm going to show you. There are a couple of different ways to use the storage back here. First of all, no matter what you're doing there's a 60-40 split in the seat, so you can fold down one and let someone sit in the other. First is the quick and dirty way-- just fold up the seat bottoms. Gets you a little more space this way and access to these bins. They're connected, so you can put, like, a fishing pole or something in there. To fully use the storage back here is a little bit more complicated, but I think you'll agree it's worth it. [LATCHING, RATCHETING] Look at this nice, big, flat shelf. You can put a lot of stuff here-- tie it down, plenty of anchors. Or maybe put a dog bed back here and take your buddy for a ride. JASON KAVANAGH: The first thing that jumps out about the Colorado's cabin is the sense of space. It's a pretty roomy cabin. The controls are also really well-placed. You've got big, chunky knobs, well-labeled buttons, and the infotainment system is really good, too. It's got Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and four USB ports-- two in front, two in rear. And also, it looks like there's a lot of in-cabin storage, but it's kind of misleading. For example, this center console bin is huge and it holds a ton of stuff. But the downside is, it's kind of just a big hole. There's no storage organization whatsoever. And you look at the door pockets-- it looks like you've got three places to store stuff there. But really, they're small and they're hard plastic, so if you put anything in them, they're just going to rattle around and make noise. So from a functionality standpoint, the Colorado's cabin is kind of a mixed bag. Like the front seat, the Colorado's backseat is pretty wide. And you could fit three people across back here, and the person in the middle is not going to hate you afterward. When they're not there, the center armrest folds down and there are two pretty big cup holders here. Backseat passengers will also appreciate that there's a 12-volt Power Point. And did I mention those two USBs? One thing we noticed is, you've got to be a little bit careful getting in and out of the back seat because it's easy to catch your toes. But on the plus side, you've got a couple of different options when it comes to in-cab storage. The backseat is split 60-40. The seat bottom folds up like this to reveal some in-cab storage. Alternatively, you can flip the backrest down, and that's super easy. Boom. The only downside is this stack height is pretty high. But overall, this is simple and easy. DAN EDMUNDS: Here in the Ranger, there's no mistaking you're in a Ford truck. And it's really spacious, too. And I like the fact that it's got Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and four USB ports. And the controls are mostly really near at hand and easy to figure out. But there are some exceptions-- these HVAC controls are lookalike, and tiny, and hard to see in low light. The four-wheel drive control could use a little hash mark to tell me which one it's in because I have to shade it to see if there's a lot of sunlight here. And this touchscreen needs a shortcut button or two as you have to do everything on the touchscreen. As for the storage, there's a couple of cup holders but not much else. This armrest is only really good on the driver's side. The passenger-- they don't get anything. Overall, the new Ranger feels like a Ford truck, just not a very new one. And that's because it really isn't. Here in the backseat of the Ranger, things are a little bit tight for me. My headroom's OK, but my knees are jammed up against the seat here. And the rear seat back angle is a little bit vertical-- not too bad, though. Rear seat is cushioned well. But what I really like are there are two USBs back here and a 110 outlet and a little shelf for a phone. And there's also a center armrest that you can fold down to reveal a couple of cup holders. But let's take a look at the in-cab storage. You've heard of 60-40 split rear seats. How about 100-0? In this truck, you can't have three people in this cab and carry cargo. It's all or nothing. And here it's really kind of lumpy. I don't think your pet's going to want to lay on this. This isn't too good. Let's see what happens when we fold the seat back. Fold these here and that's as far as it goes. This is not a package platform. It's just access for the jack. I expected more, frankly. They may have optimized this for the US market, but they didn't spend much time back here. For many people, these trucks are a means to an end-- a way to haul their toys out of town for the weekend. If only we had a dirt bike. [WHOOSHING, ENGINE REVVING] Whoa! Check it out. Let's get it in the trucks. The dirt bike fit in all three trucks with no problem. The differences between them were the tie-downs, features, and bed construction, rather than the size. ELANA SCHERR: The Tacoma is the best equipped in the bed department and it all comes standard on this trim level. No need for an expensive spray-in liner here. Toyota uses a composite bed. It's molded to include 110 outlet, two storage compartments, and two-tier loading. You can throw a couple of 2x6s in the notches, and then throw a sheet of plywood across to make a second shelf. There are plenty of places to strap stuff down with six tie-downs and four movable cleats. Other conveniences include a damped locking tailgate, a bed light, and a step-down bumper. For me, the best thing about the Tacoma is the lower bedsides. Look, I can reach the D-rings. JASON KAVANAGH: The Ranger's bed is pretty basic. It has six fixed tie-down points, an optional spray-in bed liner. But what it doesn't have is two-tiered loading or even a damped tailgate. What the Ranger does have that the others don't-- a tailgate that locks and unlocks with the key fob. DAN EDMUNDS: There's not a lot to the Chevy's bed. It's a basic steel box, has pretty tall sides. It doesn't come with a bed liner unless you opt for a spray-in one like this truck has. It's only got four tie-downs even though you can add more using these optional holes here. It's got a damped tailgate, and it locks, but with a key. But the thing I really like is this corner bed step and the handhold that goes with it. [MUSIC PLAYING] ELANA SCHERR: Dan, when we were driving earlier, you pointed out something to me about Ranger. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, yeah-- Ranger. You can chop letters off and it keeps spelling a word. Ranger-- range-- rang-- ran-- Ra-- r. JASON KAVANAGH: Anger. DAN EDMUNDS: Anger-- take the front one off and spell something too. ELANA SCHERR: So, guys-- it's not that common that you get carsick in the driver's seat-- DAN EDMUNDS: [LAUGHING] Right. ELANA SCHERR: --but somehow, Ford has managed to make that possible in this truck. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. This front end floats around quite a bit. And there's a little bit of pitch too-- more than I would have expected. JASON KAVANAGH: It's not confidence-inspiring in terms of ride quality. It just doesn't feel like there's a lot of control. ELANA SCHERR: No, it's enough that I'm actually a little bit anxious going around corners. I mean, it's the kind of handling you'd expect from, say, a '70s sedan. DAN EDMUNDS: I feel differently about the handling. I think this thing goes straight nicely, and it goes around corners pretty well unless you hit a bump in the middle of the corner. But my biggest problem with the handling is there's no feel through the steering. In other words, as the tires are loading up, you don't feel it. So you don't have no confidence. But it's actually tracked pretty well. ELANA SCHERR: You don't have no confidence? DAN EDMUNDS: I have confidence. Well, maybe I don't. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, I'm with Dan. The front end-- it feels too soft and the steering is too numb and too light. ELANA SCHERR: The engine and trans combo are the best thing about this truck-- super fun, super fast. This engine doesn't have the most horsepower, numbers-wise, but it definitely has the best response, and it does have the most torque. DAN EDMUNDS: It has plenty of punch. And it gets off the line really well. And the transmission seems to-- hey, now you're just showing off. ELANA SCHERR: [LAUGHING] Well, why wouldn't you, because-- DAN EDMUNDS: Right. ELANA SCHERR: --I agree with you. It's got-- it's the most fun, in terms of acceleration. And it also sounds the best, which is sort of a surprise. JASON KAVANAGH: It's also really quiet, too. But you're right-- you've got that wall of torque, which is great for any kind of passing maneuver. The only thing I'd say is in D, it tends to favor the higher gears and the revs are too low, and then it's constantly having to downshift. But if you put it in S, it transforms that driving experience. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, I think that makes sense, though. D for fuel economy and S for having a little fun. ELANA SCHERR: The seats are adjustable, but they could use, like, a couple of notches in between where they are, especially in the angling of the back seat. I don't feel like it's super comfortable. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, this is the XLT with the basic mechanical seats. There's an upgrade package that will give you power seats with finer control. ELANA SCHERR: Oh, that would be nice. DAN EDMUNDS: And then the Lariat is the same, but with leather. ELANA SCHERR: Oh yeah, how is it back there? JASON KAVANAGH: Well, with this seat the way it is for you, Elana, I've got plenty of leg room. And even Dan, who's 6'9"-- [LAUGHTER] ELANA SCHERR: At least. JASON KAVANAGH: I've got-- I've got knee room right now, so it's not terrible right now. Dan, is that chair in a spot-- seat in a spot where you'd be happy on a long trip? DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah I could be. I'd probably put it back a little bit more, but I wouldn't have to. And by the way, I'm 5'14", OK? Just for the record. ELANA SCHERR: That's a lot of math. [MUSIC PLAYING] DAN EDMUNDS: The thing that stands out about this truck to me the most is-- nothing stands out that much. I mean, it's pretty well-rounded. I like the way it rides. I like the way it steers. It feels pretty civilized. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah I agree. The drive quality, especially, is the most tied-down, the most sorted of the bunch. It just feels cooperative and confidence-inspiring. ELANA SCHERR: You could go and just do whatever fun thing you wanted to go do in your truck and not spend any time worrying about any of the elements of driving to go do that thing. Or just, like, around town, you know, running errands, or, like, even date night. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, which is going to be most of the time. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah, 'cos you go on so many dates. DAN EDMUNDS: I meant around town running errands-- Home Depot, usually. JASON KAVANAGH: It's pretty quiet overall. I mean, you think about road noise, wind noise, engine noise. All of these are pretty well suppressed. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah, it's silent in here. Like, I'm glad you're not eating snacks because I would hear every crunch and I'd be all irritated with you. DAN EDMUNDS: The seats feel a little bit small and a little bit firm, but-- JASON KAVANAGH: Well, that works for me, especially. I'm a narrow guy, pretty slim. So the seats actually worked in my favor. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, about three years ago, I weighed about 40 more pounds than I do now. And then I thought that seats were tiny and terrible, but now that I've lost a little weight, I actually like them better. JASON KAVANAGH: Now you're in my camp. All right. ELANA SCHERR: Bragging skinny guys. DAN EDMUNDS: Another thing I liked about the Colorado that goes along with everything else-- just the overall competence-- is the brake pedal. It feels nice and firm. You get good response out of it-- easy modulation-- it just feels real natural. JASON KAVANAGH: Powertrain-wise, we've got a V6, normally aspirated, and an 8-speed automatic. Guys, what do you think? DAN EDMUNDS: I think it's just about right. I mean, eight seems to be enough gears. And this engine doesn't have the most torque in the world but has good power, and I don't find it lacking. JASON KAVANAGH: And definitely, I think, that Colorado has the best on-road manners of the bunch. I'm really curious to see how it stacks up off-road being that, you're right, it doesn't have a locking differential or different terrain condition response stability control settings-- that kind of thing. So we'll see. DAN EDMUNDS: The thing that stands out about the Colorado is nothing stands out very much. There's nothing here that I don't like. It's got great steering, handling, and it goes down the road smoothly. The damping seems about right over big bumps and small alike. You know, I could spend a lot of time behind the wheel in this. No real weak points to speak of. ELANA SCHERR: Said the driver. JASON KAVANAGH: Hey-o. [LAUGHTER] ELANA SCHERR: I'm just kidding. DAN EDMUNDS: I could use a new passenger, too. ELANA SCHERR: That was really mean. Jay is doing a good job. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, why you gotta bag on me? I'm just sitting here. [MUSIC PLAYING] [CLUNKING] ELANA SCHERR: Oof. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh. Ow. ELANA SCHERR: You OK? DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, what was that? ELANA SCHERR: That was an attempt to not be quite so straight up and down, but I didn't realize that your knees were where they are. JASON KAVANAGH: All right, out here on the pavement in the Tacoma-- this feels like the oldest truck here for a number of reasons. But the one that sticks out the most is the powertrain. The transmission always seems to be in way too high a gear, and there's not enough torque down low for the engine to be able to pull that gear. So that's the first thing that jumps out to me. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, it keeps changing its mind, you know. It dithers between one gear and the next at the slightest provocation. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, it's a modern powertrain, but it feels like an old powertrain. The engine's loud. There's a lot of road noise. And the steering, too-- it's really slow steering that has, actually, some feel. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, I do like that. JASON KAVANAGH: But it's also weighted indifferently. So the steering just kind of doesn't work for me either. ELANA SCHERR: I hate a steering wheel that doesn't care about you. JASON KAVANAGH: Right? DAN EDMUNDS: It just feels the most like a truck of any of the-- JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, this is the "truck-iest", definitely. DAN EDMUNDS: It's the truck-iest one. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, although I do prefer the ride quality here to what we had in the Ranger. ELANA SCHERR: No barfing. JASON KAVANAGH: A barf-free zone. Yeah, let's talk driving position too. The floor in the Tacoma is much closer to your butt than in the other trucks, so you have this legs-out driving position. The greenhouse in the Tacoma also is shorter than the rest as a consequence of the floor being raised up. And also, did you guys notice the steering wheel telescopes, like, maybe an inch, inch and a half? DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, I need another inch, inch and a half. ELANA SCHERR: So the floor's up and that's actually what gives us all of the-- all the clearance underneath that Dan's so happy about off-road though, right? DAN EDMUNDS: Right. It's a compromise Toyota was willing to make. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, the Tacoma definitely has more off-road inherent goodness baked in, so I'm curious to see how that pans out. ELANA SCHERR: I gotta say, and this sounds sort of mean, but I almost feel like we've gone back in time and are doing reviews of all three trucks from like four, even six years ago. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, this truck was redesigned in 2016. But its bones date back beyond that. The Colorado's a fewer years old. And the Ranger, you know, has been in a similar form in Australia back to 2011. So none of them are all-new. JASON KAVANAGH: To me, the Tacoma feels like the oldest truck of the bunch, and there's a number of reasons why. The steering is another one I'm not crazy about it. It does have feel, but the weighting is sort of indifferent and the steering ratio is slow. So if you're in a parking lot situation, you're just putting armful after armful of steering input into this thing. DAN EDMUNDS: The brake pedal-- JASON KAVANAGH: Oh. DAN EDMUNDS: --I noticed that it has good braking, but it's kind of really hard to modulate smoothly. It's kind of like grabby and inconsistent as you put on the brakes. JASON KAVANAGH: In summary, the Tacoma feels the truck-iest of the bunch, which can be good and bad. ELANA SCHERR: There's nothing sophisticated about the Tacoma, but it does feel like it was designed for something. I'm gonna find out what that thing is. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, and I feel like whatever it's doing, it's doing it on purpose. [MUSIC PLAYING] JASON KAVANAGH: We just moved from the pavement in our off-road-oriented trucks on to the first couple of miles of our trail. And Elana, what were your impressions? ELANA SCHERR: Well, all of the trucks made it, no problem. But they felt very different as you were in the cab. I think it's probably easiest if I describe that in a sort of interpretive dance. So first, the Ford Ranger-- DAN EDMUNDS: Pretty much. ELANA SCHERR: Like a dolphin. The Toyota-- sort of jittery, but very stable. The Colorado-- in between the two. A lot of up and down, but again, very stable. JASON KAVANAGH: Dan, what do you think? DAN EDMUNDS: Well, the Toyota is the only one with push-button start. That doesn't sound like an off-road feature, but there were no keys to the knees-- big difference. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah, definitely. The Tacoma, so far, feels like it's the most capable and the Ranger-- kind of squishy. The Colorado is kind of someplace in between. Well, the more aggressive and harder terrain is yet to come, so we're going to hit the trail. [MUSIC PLAYING] ELANA SCHERR: So, unlike Dan, who does this, sort of, big, rocky, dirt trail driving for fun, I usually only end up on this kind of road by accident. Weet. Oh. [GASPS] I have no idea what I'm doing, and yet, the truck seems to just, kind of, keep going. I made it all the way up the hill in 4-High, like, I never had to use 4-Low. But I'm going to put it into 4-Low for the way down, partially just so I know how to do it, and also because then I can use the gearing of the truck to slow me down, rather than sort of riding the brakes all the way down. The thing that's making the Tacoma so forgiving of my inexperience off road is that as long as I don't drive it directly into a ditch or a giant rock, it has enough articulation that the suspension will move around-- drop into the hole, or whatever-- without bringing the tires up off the ground, and so I still have traction. And then I can just drive myself out of a problem. [RATTLING] Whoop. [LAUGHING] Or into a bush. Maybe I'll start doing like Dan and looking for these roads on purpose. [MUSIC PLAYING] DAN EDMUNDS: This is pretty cool. The map database knows which trail we're on, and I'm on a trail that is a black diamond trail. So far it's not black diamond. I'm still in high range. Four-wheel drive, of course. All right, I think this is where I put it into low range. Well, let's see how it goes. [GRINDING] Uh oh. I think I'm teetering on two wheels. All right, let's try putting it in low range now. It's not doing it. All right, AdvanceTrac off. Low range engaged. Back to drive. Did that help? No. It looks like I'm going to have to lock the rear differential. So push the rear diff lock button-- and it's locked-- and forward momentum restored. Straddle the V and go for the rock. That wasn't much of a frame twist area that would get that wheel that far off the ground. That's surprising. Yeah, looks like we're going to get more of the same up here. Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo hoo-hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo. Now, we've got the wheel up in the air. I want to see this. Excuse me while I open the door. [CHIMING] Oh, yeah. About six inches. You know what I didn't like is that somewhere in there, this thing automatically shifted from 4-Low to 4-High. So I came down that section in 4-High, and I never made that choice. That's terrible. I was going too fast. I wasn't able to use the transmission to slow me down. If it goes into 4-High, it's because I put it there, not because the truck did. Bogus. [MUSIC PLAYING] JASON KAVANAGH: I'll go for those bumps on top of him. Straddle this crack. Oh, oh, oh. A little momentum goes a long way sometimes. That noise you hear is the key bouncing around. We're just kind of walking over these rocks. Traction control's grabbing us a little bit, but it's still going up the hill. Get my tire on that big, giant boulder in front of us. Get a little bit of speed going. There we go. And it's just doing it. It's just going up the hill. All right. So we're just making our way down in low range still. It hasn't automatically shifted itself into anything else. So it's very faithfully responding to my commands. So even though the Colorado doesn't have a locking rear differential, it made it through the spot that the Ranger got stuck in. Its hood is pretty broad and it can be hard to see over it. [MUSIC PLAYING] JASON KAVANAGH: I took the Colorado off-road, and it did better off-road than I expected. However, there's something missing from this Colorado. This thing is the air dam that goes underneath the front bumper. If we left it on, we would have tore that thing off within 10 feet. If you want to take your Colorado off-road, you're taking off the air dam. ELANA SCHERR: I was actually a little bit nervous about taking my turn behind the wheel. I actually made Dan give me a little bit of direction. So we get up to the top, and he's like, all right, we're done. Turn around. I was like, we're still in 4-High. Aren't we supposed to be in 4-Low? He's like, you didn't need any of them because you never even lifted a wheel up. I'm really ready to go straight up a mountain, as long as it's in a Tacoma. DAN EDMUNDS: The trail wasn't even that difficult and I was lifting wheels off the ground. The traction control doesn't really offer any help in low range. So then I was forced to lock the differential. And I don't think you should have to do it on a trail that's pretty much moderate, not really that difficult. It really needs more. [MUSIC PLAYING] ELANA SCHERR: If this was just an off-road test, we'd have a unanimous winner. We all loved the Toyota Tacoma on the trail. It was really good. JASON KAVANAGH: But this isn't just a test of off-road ability. We're looking for the truck that is best on-road and also has moderate off-road ability. That decision was unanimous, as well. The Chevy Colorado is our overall winner. [MUSIC PLAYING] DAN EDMUNDS: So where does that leave the Ranger? After all, that's the question we wanted to answer when we started this whole test. Well, it was a split decision, 2 to 1-- Colorado first, Tacoma second, and the Ranger bringing up the rear. ELANA SCHERR: We're really happy to see the Ranger back on the market. I mean, the more competition, the better. But for now, out of these three, it's third. DAN EDMUNDS: I mean, what was up with that, Jay? It rides like a pogo stick. It won't stay in low range. The backseat is just awful-- JASON KAVANAGH: I heard this enough. I'm done. DAN EDMUNDS: [GRUNTING] JASON KAVANAGH: There's a lot more than just this video if you head to Edmunds. You'll find pricing, features, ratings, and reviews on all three of these trucks. And if you want to see more videos, subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]
Toyota Tacoma vs Ford Ranger vs Chevy Colorado: 2019 Truck Comparison Test
With Ford throwing its hat back into the ring, the midsize truck segment is even more interesting than it already was. The time is right for a midsize pickup truck comparison test. We've pitted the new Ford Ranger against the established segment leaders: the Chevrolet Colorado and the… Toyota Tacoma.
2019 Tacoma Highlights
|Combined MPG||21 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$182/month|
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||3,500 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the Tacoma models:
- Blind-Spot Monitor
- Issues a visual or audio warning if the driver initiates a lane change when another vehicle is there or approaching rapidly.
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Alerts the driver if traffic is approaching from the side when the car is backing out of a perpendicular or angled parking space.
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
- Warns of potential collisions with pedestrians or vehicles and automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not react in time.
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover14.7%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood