By on December 14, 2018

Image: Toyota

One year ago, the Nissan Altima, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Fusion were all significantly more popular than the Toyota Tacoma. The Altima, for example, sold 32-percent more often than the Tacoma, which was generating record volume in 2017.

Fast forward one year, however, and the Tacoma is operating at an entirely different level. It now outsells the Altima, Grand Cherokee, Sentra, Highlander, and Fusion, and by large margins in some cases. To say the Tacoma is America’s best-selling midsize pickup truck would be to wildly understate its success. To say the Tacoma is America’s fourth-best-selling pickup truck would be to minimize its playing field.

Through the end of November 2018, the Tacoma now ranks among America’s 15 best-selling vehicles outright. This is not a cult following. Calling it a Taco doesn’t reserve your place in an exclusive club. You now see enough of them in the run of a day to easily spot the differences between a TRD Sport, a TRD Off-Road, and a TRD Pro.

The Toyota Tacoma is now mainstream.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro grey - Image: ToyotaThe Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator aren’t likely to undo that fact, either, as the Tacoma’s reputation is cemented, the loyalty it’s fostered is entrenched, and the future customer base it’s built has expanded by leaps and bounds over the last decade of midsize malaise. As other automakers handed the segment to Toyota on a platter, Toyota didn’t simply accept what was on the menu – the company ordered up a wide variety of side dishes to go with a main course of dominant market share.

You can see it not only by comparing the Tacoma’s success to other midsize pickups, but even in the way the Tacoma has moved up Toyota’s own sales charts. Only half a decade ago, Toyota’s U.S. dealers still sold twice as many Corollas as Tacomas. Today, Toyota sells just 1.2 Corollas per Tacoma in America, and if the current rates of Corolla decline and Tacoma growth continue in 2019, the Tacoma will outsell the Corolla, currently America’s third-best-selling car and ninth-best-selling vehicle overall. In fact, even if the passenger car market stabilizes and the Corolla’s decline stalls, continuation of the current Tacoma growth rate would propel it beyond the Corolla next year. Moreover, at Toyota Camry’s current rate of decline and the Tacoma’s current rate of growth, the Camry’s hold on Toyota’s No.2 spot – behind the RAV4 – could be in danger in 2019.

Of course, the Tacoma’s fit within the pickup truck sector remains of great importance. While the Tacoma leads a small category that only accounts for 18 percent of overall pickup truck sales, its lead in that category is so great that linking it only with midsize trucks provides an incomplete perspective. The Tacoma’s 49-percent share of the midsize truck market (as of the end of September, when GM last reported sales results) translates to just under 1 in 10 truck sales overall.2017 Toyota Tacoma lineup - Image: Toyota

Another yardstick for understanding the Tacoma’s move into the mainstream of the U.S. auto industry – made possible by major production increases in San Antonio and Tijuana over the last couple of years – remains its own history. At no point in its 24-year, three-generation history has the Tacoma been an unpopular vehicle.

The first-gen Tacoma averaged 135,000 annual U.S. sales. The second-generation truck averaged roughly 148,000 annual sales. But the Tacoma’s rapid post-recession rise, not slowed at all by the return of General Motors’ midsize twins nor the age of the second-gen Tacoma, produced a new level of Tacoma popularity. Year-over-year, Tacoma sales grew in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 before hitting a record high of 179,562 units in 2015. That record was crushed in 2016 with 191,631 sales before Toyota topped it again with 198,124 sales in 2017.

That one-year-old record was put to bed little more than 10 months into 2018. Among America’s 15 top-selling vehicles, no nameplate is producing greater year-over-year growth than the Tacoma. A strong December would push the Tacoma over the 250K mark, a figure not reported by a non-full-size truck since the Ford Ranger in 2001. Yes, that Ranger, the one that’s returning for 2019.

The mainstreamification of the Tacoma is undeniably one of 2018’s important automotive stories. Yet while Toyota is once again proving that it can produce top-tier volume in a vehicle category – as it’s done with premium vehicles at Lexus, crossovers such as the RAV4, minivans such as the Sienna, and cars such as the Camry and Corolla – the Tacoma’s growth chart is not aped by the Tundra. Sales of Toyota’s full-size truck are likely to slide in under 120,000 units for a tenth consecutive year.

[Images: Toyota]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at Paardensex and Driving.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter and .

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78 Comments on “The Toyota Tacoma Is Now Much More Than the Top-Selling Midsize Truck – It’s Now One of America’s Best-Selling Vehicles, Full Stop...”


  • avatar
    pmirp1

    The beauty of Toyota, they got all the bases covered.

    You want a small truck, the best there is, Taco.
    You want a tough SUV, 4-Runner.
    You want a soft big SUV, Highlander.
    You want the best small SUV – RAV4.
    You want big hefty body on frame trucks, Sequoia and Land Cruiser.
    You want a big tough truck, Tundra.

    What you are that silly car person. ok
    The best premium big sedan for ever, Avalon.
    The best midsize car with no stinking turbo, Camry.
    The best soon to be compact, Corolla and its hatch.

    What you are environmentally conscious, we got those, eat your heart out Volt and stupid GM.
    Prius, Prius V, Prius C, all kinds of hybrids for RAV4, Corolla, Camry.

    Toyota, simply the best automobile manufacturing company in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      Cestode

      I want something sporty and fun to drive with useable back seats. Something like a GTI, WRX, Focus/Fiesta ST, etc.. What does Toyota offer me?

      • 0 avatar
        afedaken

        The opportunity to reconsider your choices in exchange for lower insurance premiums?

        • 0 avatar
          Cestode

          Nah, driving enjoyment means more to me than a less than $10 price differential on a monthly insurance payment.

          I do agree that these types of cars do not sell well at the moment, and I fully understand why Toyota is the sales juggernaut that it is.

          But they make ancient, boring cars :)

      • 0 avatar
        afedaken

        The opportunity to reconsider your choices in exchange for lower insurance premiums?

      • 0 avatar
        jh26036

        What’s the point of selling a car that makes them no money? Remember the GTI last year had to be discounted $7-8k just to move them off the lot, same with FoST and FiST.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          The point of selling a car that makes them no money is that the money is spent with them, not another competitor.

          Old axiom in the car selling business, “Better to have them buy from you than spent their money elsewhere, even if it makes you no money.”

          That’s why car dealers hate to see you walk away and take your money to another dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      On top of this, if you just want something that will essentially last forever. I have a 1997 T100 that I’ve owned for 20 years and have never owned a vehicle that long or intended to. But it’s been such a wonderful truck that I don’t have the heart to let it go.

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        Loved my used 1998 T100 – but the rust here in the salt belt was too much. By the time I got the truck from a co-worker, the rear quarters were eaten out pretty badly. Two years of service and I sold the truck to a friend who kept it for a few more years to use as a winter beater… and then, by the time he sold it, there was rust in the floorboards.

        Solid engine and transmission though. Never had a lick of trouble with that or the transfer case.

        • 0 avatar
          crtfour

          I understand rust is what does a lot of them in. Luckily mine was sold new in Louisiana and was there until 2012 and is now in Tennesse, so it’s completely rust free.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          The T100 was probably fine if you never towed anything heavier than 2K pounds. They were terribly underpowered offering the exact same engines you could get in the compact truck Toyota also offered at the time. I suspect that’s why they couldn’t hardly give them away and dropped the T100 name in place of Tundra when they finally offered a V8.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “On top of this, if you just want something that will essentially last forever.”

        Sorry they don’t last forever, far from it. I owned a ’93 Toy compact for 11 years/197K. Shipped over from Japan. Spent plenty of hours under that truck fixing $hit that didn’t last forever. Some it more than once. Don’t get me wrong, tuff/great little truck & the best compact PU on the road at the time but not engineered as well IMO as the ’04 Sierra HD that came after it. Original brakes in the Toyota didn’t go a 140K miles like they did in that GMC! They were being worked on @ 40K.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      CR and C&D would disagree with you on that. The Sequoa and Tundra finish low in there rankings with the latter and CR doesn’t even recommend the ancient Tacoma. It remains to be seen if the controversial new Camry or the not yet available 2020 Corolla is best in class as far as mid size and compacts go.

      And oh dear but where is your fully electric vehicle Toyota? And an affordable sports coupe that actually accelerates? Where is a performance optional engine upgrade for your Rav4, Corolla or Yaris? And for the love of god when are you going to finally put some effort into making a new properly redesigned Tacoma and Tundra pickup that actually competes?

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Toyota does have a solid – albeit largely unexciting – car and truck lineup. I am not the biggest Tacoma fan due to the driving position, but I can see why the Taco is popular. I may have to take one for a test drive again.

      I do wish Toyota offered a decent sports car platform. Maybe the new Supra will help. The 300hp V6 Camry is a blast to drive though.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      My eyes are still functioning, and I want a vehicle that will not assault them. What does Toyota offer for me?

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      Says the Toyota fanboy. Good lord.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      V8 RWD coupe with 450+ horsepower for less than 40k?

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        raph, Toyota can build a V8 engine with 400+ horsepower that will outlast anything Ford can build. Remember, LS 400 engines? Those were the envy of the world. LC500? 450+ hp engine. Tundra V8 that last over 1 million miles?

        So it is not a matter of can do. It is a matter of for Toyota there is much bigger fish to fry. While Ford and GM run away from cars, Toyota is carrying the flag for cars and building so many Camrys, Corrollas, Avalons, Prius.

        For those few interested in sporty cars, there are American muscle cars, there are always mechanically challenged GTIs, and of-course Euro-trash Audi/BMW/Mercedes types. You can even get a Tavarish like Vantage. None of those categories are volume sellers. NONE. ZILCH. NADA. Forget about it.

        Point being the market is just not there, and Toyota manufacturing instead has to add more plants for Tacomas. As for people talking about Tacoma or Tundras not being up to level of other trucks, all you have to do is check their resale value (highest in the truck world) to know the truth and that Toyota is king.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Tacoma, not small.
      Tacoma, not the best.
      Tacoma, a truck, yep.

    • 0 avatar

      I drive rental Corolla right now and cannot imagine how someone would like car like that. It just does not drive well. Even my wife asked me “what the hell is that?”. It is not only boring but also cheaply made, inside at least – typical rental queen. That’s true, in Europe Corolla was considered as a quintessential rental car, reliable – yes, desirable – no way when there are Golf and other European and even Korean cars.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The only reason it stays on my radar is the availability of a manual trans with 4×4 and the V6. (Granted I wish it was a different V6 OR at least greater fuel economy gains had been realized by ditching the old “truck” V6.)

    I honestly don’t think the Tacoma is that much better than the competition that it warrants paying full MSRP just to get a Toyota (over any of the other choices.)

    My BIL just bought one to replace a Montero Sport that threw a rod. He told me (privately) “I just don’t see what the fuss is over the Tacoma – and I own one.”

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      It sounds odd, but one of the things Toyota does well is that they don’t abandon a segment – you know they’ll be making a truck like this twenty years from now.

      GM enters and leaves segments and even then renames their products so much that it introduces a bit of doubt – and you see this in the customer base: Toyota has a lock on the “I’m scared of my own shadow” consumer.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Interestingly I half expected him to get a Nissan. He lives in Tennessee and they’re as common as dirt over there. His wife (my wife’s sister) has largely driven Hyundai and Kia since she got a license. Although H/K would have had to offer a truck that could actual tow since he has a small boat for fishing.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        I think rentonben makes a great point , the toco was always a decent to good seller that has gotten better in sales number bc it was there for sale when the market moved, it has become a popular vehicle in my towns high school parking lot and no one needs a small pickup in suburban NJ.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    I get the appeal of the taco but the interior on them is too cramped for me. If you’re in the market for a midsize truck, unless you’re going off roading it makes more sense to get a Honda Ridgeline. Ridgeline can haul and tow more and it’s got a lockable waterproof in bed trunk. If you want to be cheap and get a truck that can match the tacoma off road a nissan frontier can be had for 4k less than the taco.

    In the end these are “hobby trucks” really, just like they were when compact pickups were all the rage in the 80s.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      From a functionality standpoint you’re totally correct.
      But people who buy trucks seem to want ones that look like trucks and the Ridgeline looks like what it is…a unibody SUV with a bed.
      Thus Honda sells 2500 a month and Toyota 20,000 a month.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Put me in the “hobby truck” segment. I recently finished up a 3 year lease of a 2015 4×4 manual 4 cyl. Tacoma with the sport package. It was a fine truck. I really didn’t *need* it, although it came in really handy towing the u-Haul back from Florida and for the garage-building project I did last year. I thought about getting another one, but I couldn’t find a decent replacement (couldn’t find a 4 cyl- 5-speed) and the lease prices had increased substantially. In the end, they wanted more money for less truck and I decided that I would just wait to figure out what I wanted to do next.

    Unlike a lot of other people, I found the driving position to be excellent despite being long-legged and 6’2″. It had 20K miles at the end of the lease, so I really can’t speak about reliability (everything always worked). With the 5-speed, it was fun to drive. The 4 cyl auto I test drove felt as it it had been, shall we say, neutered. No doubt, these are great trucks for what they are. But the design is getting old and when you look at what you get compared to full-sized offerings from the big three, you have to really want what Toyota is offering as you just don’t get as much truck for your lease payment.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    In SoCal, the Tacoma is wildly popular with 20 something people. I thought the young generation hates vehicles … the exception appears to be the Tacoma.

    • 0 avatar
      SD 328I

      Young people don’t hate vehicles, it’s just that they can’t afford them. Once they get jobs, they start buying cars and houses like everyone else.

      If you live in California, you can’t live without a car.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    I guess what’s good for Ford, with the Ranger, is that this shows there is a growing amount of buyers in this midsize segment. What’s bad is, they’re not selling the Tacoma. Toyota has a reputation and that’s what sells these trucks. They might not be the best in the segment in any category or have “Class Exclusive 310 lb-ft of torque”, but they’re dang reliable, tough, and hold their value extremely well. I’d probably get one just off resale alone, forget a stupid depreciating Ford or Chevy.

    Good for Toyota.

  • avatar
    NN

    Well deserved, and if only GM, Ford, etc. had executives with vision beyond a couple years, they would know what Toyota knows–that being a LEADER in a category (by originating it and/or never abandoning it in a cynical manner to force customers into larger more profitable trucks) will give you brand equity worth literal billions.

    GM & Ford both abandoned this category, when they both had great followings. Toyota improved the Tacoma and took nearly all the market share as Nissan withered. GM & Ford return 10 years later by (very) slowly introducing Thai-developed trucks with slight modifications for the US market. You can tell their biggest concern is protecting full-size profits and driving customers towards full size. The half-hearted attempt is not lost on consumers, they’re not all naive, and they don’t all want massive trucks.

    Repeat this example across nearly every vehicle, and every category, and you see why Toyota has eaten their lunch for so long, and will continue to do so until both GM & Ford are gone. I’m glad Toyota has been a good corporate citizen and invested heavily in US operations and employing US workers.

    • 0 avatar
      Spike_in_Brisbane

      The Ford Ranger is not Thai developed. It was designed by Ford Australia in Geelong. It was originally built only in Thailand for financial reasons.
      P.S. Currently the biggest selling vehicle in Australia is the Toyota Hilux.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Lease rates are between $200 and $300 with nothing down. It is simply an affordable choice.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe. But at turn-in at the lease’s end, the nit-noy charges can be brutal and more than off-set the low lease rate of the contract.

      When my grandson turned in his leased Taco a few years back, they nickled-and-dimed him with charges for nicks, dents, scuffs, excess-mileage, and a few other things I forgot.

      That was his first and last lease.

      OTOH, less active, low-mileage, senior citizens often find leasing their long-distance vehicle the keys to the best of all worlds. Keep an old grocery-getter around for the short hops, and lease a decent vehicle for the long hauls.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I worried about this at the end of my lease. I solved the problem by selling it to Carmax. With not having to pay the lease return fee and the small premium I got over my lease buyout price, I netted a $450 savings.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          You did good. More and more people are doing what you did. You were ahead of your time.

          The lease companies don’t care, just as long as they don’t get stuck with that used iron.

          Carmax, etc, love the idea because it gives them late-model off-lease vehicles with factory warranty they can easily peddle without paying out a lot of money.

          So when my brothers had their dealerships, lease companies and rental companies would contract them to surrogate the return and resell process and much of the time the dealerships would get very little money for the time and lot-space they spent on these “program” vehicles.

          But there was money to be made IF, and only IF, the buyer traded something.

          Outright sales were the pits. All that work with little money to show for it. And yet, smart buyers do just that. They buy outright, especially if they pay by cashier check, or personal check.

          • 0 avatar
            CKNSLS Sierra SLT

            highdesertcat-You do realize that if you finance through a dealer they get a spiff or an over ride on the loan depending on the Interest rate? Also-if you come with your own financing a wire transfer is pretty much instantaneous and they get their money right away?

            Your perpetuating myths that just don’t apply any more.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            CKNSLS Sierra SLT, why would anyone want to finance if they don’t have to?

            If you finance it will always cost you more than if you pay the full amount, by whichever means you choose.

            I’ve done it since 1988, as have millions of others (who can) and it works a hell of a lot better than financing.

            And…. the buyer isn’t bound to buy full coverage insurance when they bought and paid for the car in full. All my vehicles had minimum coverage on them, unless I went on a long trip to high-accident regions. USAA is great for that. Just call them to raise or lower the coverage.

            So, I don’t know what you mean by “Your perpetuating myths that just don’t apply any more.” because the dealer will always prefer that a buyer finance because of the kickback they receive.

            The same schit is going on today! The buyer who finances is always the butt-boy for the dealer.

            Dude, 4 members of my family were in the car bid’ness from 1980 – 2012. I don’t think I missed much. Yes, even they would prefer buyers finance, because it meant more margin for them.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “I solved the problem by selling it to Carmax. With not having to pay the lease return fee and the small premium I got over my lease buyout price, I netted a $450 savings.”
          —- And no vehicle to show for all the money you spent on that during the lease.

          Really, only $500 savings? Why didn’t you just keep the car since you went ahead and paid the buyout price anyway?

          Or trade it in for a different vehicle? To me, that was such a waste of effort and you STILL don’t have a vehicle replacing the leased model, do you?

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            “To me, that was such a waste of effort and you STILL don’t have a vehicle replacing the leased model, do you?”

            If your real name isn’t Hector it should be.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Vulpine- One of things that We find curious about the comments here is the tendency for some to berate others because they didn’t do what “you should have done”. It is especially curious when such comments are made without reading or considering the entire story, as you seem to have failed to do. My Tacoma lease suited me because I was comfortable with the terms and, aince it was a luxury rather than a necessity, I have no burning need to replace it with anything. And, one more point about the folly of know-it-all pronouncements is that there are often mitigating factors that aren’t stated. In my case it had to do with a confluence of circumstance and changes to state laws. I live in Manhattan and have a wekend house in Pennsylvania. My car is kept in NYC where I pay the going (high) insurance rate. My truck and my motorcycle are garaged in Pennsylvania where the insurance rate is half of what it is in NYC. As a NY resident, I’m not allowed to register vehicles in PA, so they have NY plates, but were covered at PA rates. New York recently changed the rules disallowing this practice. My bike policy tripled in cost and my truck policy was set to double. It was an easy decision to simply walk away for now and reassess my priorities. This was the right decision for me. You can hold whatever opinion you want, but not being in my position, your assessment is, at best, incomplete.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @jatz:

            That’s my computer’s name. Home Entertainment C(ompu)ter.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @bunkie: ” One of things that We find curious about the comments here is the tendency for some to berate others because they didn’t do what “you should have done”.”

            — Then maybe what you “should have done” is explain the why.

            I am vastly opposed to leasing as a complete waste of money. Yes, I know some people have the need to lease a home or some such, but leasing a vehicle is nothing but expensive, long-term rental. When you turn it in, you have nothing to show for all the money you spent and you’re still liable for any repairs or damage done while you were in possession of the vehicle (assuming such repairs are needed.)

            I don’t live all that far away from you. I live on the NEC only about 9 miles from the Pennsylvania border (Yes, I know that’s a pretty broad area considering the number of states involved but that narrows a lot when you actually look at the map. Only about four places qualify. I’m aware of Pennsylvania for obvious reasons, though I’ll admit I know almost nothing about New York. Not that it makes any difference to my argument. You have explained why you got rid of it but that does not absolve you from the original lease. However, I’m sure you have your reasons for leasing; I simply don’t agree with them.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            All one can do about a bulletproof dweeb is to move on.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            One more curious thing is the contortions some go through to have the last word. And, yes, I am fully cognizant of the inherent irony in that pronouncement.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Think about what you just said, bunkie.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Vulpine, I really, really want to make a snarky comment about how irony is lost on some people but, in an attempt at not making something that is painfully obvious even more so, I will refrain.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    I want to punch something (or someone) every time I hear or see “Taco”. It’s so stupid.
    The funny thing about this truck is it sells well and it’s so dang ugly. That has to be one of the ugliest mugs in the auto world. A friend has a ’17 and it’s just not a nice vehicle. My Ram and the Colorado another friend has are far better inside and far more attractive on the outside. But hey, too each his own. It’s just stunning so many people have such bad taste.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’m certain Toyota is LOL all the way to the bank. A guy I have known since my military days owns 15 Tacomas for his parcel and delivery service in Santa Fe Springs, CA.

      He’s tried all the others but settled on buying Tacomas years ago because of all the aspects that make Tacoma so endearing to the owners.

      And once each Tacoma reaches 300K on the clock, he trades them in for a new one. He’s been doing this for many years with Tacomas but with other brands he’s had to trade them off much, much sooner. When you run a business you don’t want to spend all your capital keeping your fleet running.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Now, a real visionary among auto manufacturers would see this as yet another opportunity. The growing midsize segment in trucks lends pretty strongly me thinks to the demand for small trucks. Think 90’s Nissan hardbody, Mighty Max, Mazda B-series. Jack up a hatchback, put short beds in them with a way to extend for cargo, beef up the unibody a bit and you are selling Corolla for an additional 50% markup without too much added content or cost. People will buy them because….trucks (shrugs, facepalm)

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Tim, while I don’t disagree with your premise I would like to point out that I now see a Tacoma (s) in the National rental lot every week. For sure not on the level you see a Dodge GC, but one or two each city each week. Same goes for the 4Runner. Not once have I seen a Rav4 or Highlander FWIW.

    So, yes Toyota has been producing more of them, but they are managing inventories via the usual Big 3 strategies in the rental markets. I am certain the rental fleets welcome the requirement of having to buy the Tacoma or 4Runner along with the Camry stuffing that occurs as the post rental resale of the Tacoma and 4Runner are quite strong and I am also certain quite easy. I am not criticizing the strategy, but before we get all gooey over Toyota and how great they are they are no different really than the other folks.

    Finally, FWIW I rented a 4Runner in October for the first time. I will take a hard pass on doing that again. I like the Dodge GC better; more power, better FE, way more comfortable seats and better driving dynamics. Granted this is off the National lot so I am really not concerned with reliability and resale. I just like comfortable and compliant for the 2 to 3 days I ‘own’ it. Toyota equals over rated for me, obviously I am in the minority and I get that, just one guys opinion.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I love my 2013 Tacoma (after six years, I’m at 65,000 miles), but I drove one of the 2016 trucks when they came out, and I didn’t like it. The 3.5 in them in now doesn’t have the low end torque that the 4.0 does. In the first couple of years, a lot of folks on the ToyotaNation and TacomaWorld forums were complaining about vibration from the engine or transmission being transmitted through the steering wheel and the pedals, hands tingling and going numb, etc.

    Like here:

    https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/617-tacoma-3rd-generation-2016/1284625-2016-taco-i-waited-4-years.html

    There were posts where folks were letting Toyota engineers from zone offices or HQ drive their trucks, people trading in their trucks or wanting buybacks, stuff like that. That kind of traffic has died down, so maybe they found a fix?

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Personally, I think the Tacoma is going to see a big fall; starting in January.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      What makes you say that?

      People who drove Ranger, Dakota or Colorado/Canyon rarely switched to Tacoma. Instead they often bought 6-cyl versions of the fullsize offering of their brand as a replacement.

      I do know a couple of ladies who now drive Ridgeline, and actually tow a one-horse trailer with each of theirs.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @hdc: First off, less than half of Ranger sales after Ford dropped them, went to the F-150;
        Second, roughly a similar amount went to the Tacoma as sales leapt the next year to absorb that many new customers.
        Third: Tacoma sales have remained the top model ever since the Ranger’s demise.

        Ergo, with the return of the Ranger, some proportion of those Tacoma buyers is very likely to return to Ford;
        With the return of a Jeep-branded pickup truck, some proportion of those Tacoma buyers will migrate over to the Jeep as a superior off-road vehicle (no matter how ugly it may be;)
        Third, most certainly some proportion of those F-150 buyers who moved up from the defunct Ranger will drop back down to the new one as “Big enough for our needs.”

        Conclusion: Tacoma will very likely lose from 25% to 35% of its sales and drop to second place again; closer to the C-twins but still better than them in sales.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I don’t know that the Ranger will recapture the #1 less than full size title any time soon. Sure many retail buyers will go for the EcoBoost 4cyl power train but I don’t think the fleet buyers will be as quick to jump on the band wagon.

          Fact is fleets were a major chunk of the Ranger’s sales and now are a major chunk of the Tacoma and more so the Frontier’s sales. I don’t think they are going to get Orkin or gov’t fleets back overnight w/o a naturally aspirated engine option, or maybe a hybrid which could make quick converts out of many fleets if it proves to be as durable and reliable as the Escape Hybrid which were a gov’t fleet manager’s favorite.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Vulpine, good rationale behind your forecasting so, like you said, we’ll just have to wait and see.

          Interesting side note: when my #3 son bought his brand new 2016 Tacoma, first thing he did was have a set of aftermarket REAR DISCS and Calipers installed. You’d think a $46K Tacoma TRD would have rear disc brakes.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Aye, hdc. Another reason why I chose the Colorado over the Tacoma, though not a primary one. Occupant fit was my primary reason; the C-twins are just about the only mid-sized trucks to now that both I and my wife can sit behind the wheel comfortably and the only one where with the driver’s seat full back, even HER feet can’t touch the pedals. The rest were all too tight for her.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vulpine, I can relate to Occupant Fit. My wife is 5ft 8inch in stocking feet, and 5’11” with her 3” heels when she gets dressed up. At 118lbs she is still pretty flexible.

            But I’m now 6ft tall after having shrunk an inch in 72 years. And having gained 65lbs since I retired 31Dec2015 makes Occupant Fit important for me as well.

            A lot of groaning and old-man noises getting in and out of my ‘89 Camry.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I can’t back this with facts, but it is my *opinion* that if you want to drive the same vehicle for 10-20 years, Tacoma will give you the lowest TCO.

    Have you SEEN what it costs to buy a 1999 Tacoma? I see versions with 300,000 miles on them selling for $5000 around here.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    It is simply the best vehicle you can buy right now….but a revelation it is not…

  • avatar
    jatz

    Impressive how Toyota despite always flopping with the Tundra relentlessly pursued this segment and won. Knocked down seven times, back up eight.

    Of course, the entire segment is smaller than either HR-V or RAV-4 sales alone, so as banzai charges in the Pacific once indicated, maybe simple relentlessness isn’t the be all and end all.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I think a better way to look at it was Toyota launched the 2nd gen Tundra in 2007 and it blew everyone’s doors off, initial sales looked quite promising. Then Katrina hit with gas prices spiking to $4/gal, then the recession hit. Toyota refocused on their car (hybrid) fleet and did quite well there. Not exactly sure why, but they’ve been content to stay with their modest 80k annual Tundra sales (without too many incentives) and shift production capacity to the new gen Tacoma. I know that they’re much less motivated to improve fuel economy as their overall CAFE footprint still has a strong mix of fuel efficient sedans and hybrids so their slow selling Tundra doesn’t need to be saddled with low hanging air dams, tall gearing, and various grill shutters and such. It’s also freakishly overbuilt and heavy for the class, just the physical size and weight of things like control arms, tie rod ends, brakes, rear differentials, are a step in the direction of the 3/4 ton class at the same time as Ford is hacking weight from everywhere that they can (including things like lower control arms). Again, MPG suffers.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        I think Tundra sales would double in 6 months if Toyota made you Director of Public Outreach or something similar.

        People need to know about the few overbuilt things left in the world.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          gtem is right. I owned a 2011 and 2016 Tundra and a 2016 Sequoia for the wife, each with that magnificent, all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, 5.7L V8 engine – truly the Rolex of current truck engines!

          And overbuilt items like the 10.5″ Ring Gear, Floating Caliper Disc Brakes and gusseted flex-frame beefed-up for towing really make the Tundra uniquely suited for the discerning few, the proud, the people with money.

          So when a person is able to afford a Tundra and the cost to insure it, they don’t worry about MPG or the cost of gasoline.

          It’s a matter of choice. People driving a Tundra get noticed. People driving the other brands blend in.

  • avatar
    brn

    Expensive.
    Severely dated (in just about every way).
    Underpowered.
    Poor gas mileage.

    How did this happen? I look forward to what the Ranger (not quite as expensive, modern, well powered, good mpg) should do to the taco sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      Expensive.
      Severely dated (in just about every way).
      Underpowered.
      Poor gas mileage.

      I’d agree with all of that. Reliable & incredible resale value but really nothing special at all about the truck. For me the “gutless on the low end” motor is a major turn-off and a non-starter. I’ve also heard you sit on the floor although I’ll admit I’ve never sat in the current model. I’m amazed that as mediocre as it is, it sells so well.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I WISH it were severely dated, that would mean it still would have the previous truck’s perfectly good 4.0L 1GR motor, would weigh 400lb less than it does, and would be substantially less ugly.

      TFL truck did an impromptu drag race with a 3rd gen Tacoma (3.5L, 6A), 2nd gen Tacoma (4.0L, 5A), and a 1st gen (3.4L, 5spd manual). The first gen truck absolutely walked the other two, and the 4.0L 2nd gen had a commanding lead over the 3rd gen. Very disappointed with how this current generation of Tacoma turned out.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        What saved that 1st Gen Tacoma was the 5SP. If it had been equipped with an automatic I’ll bet the results would have been quite different. I test drove a Gen 1 Tacoma with the 3.4/5SP because I wasn’t happy with the low end grunt in my ’93 w/3.0V6 – 5SP when towing. I came away thinking it was just as gutless down low as my current truck and didn’t pull with any authority until you were revving the $hit out of it. Gave it back to the salesman and told him no-thanks I’ll just keep what I got, which I did for 11 years. Buddy drove it until it was 20 years old and got rid of it only because all the salty MN winters had finally taken their toll on the frame. I guess it was a little scary the last time he put it up on a lift.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      I’ll add that it’s still running the horrible Entunes 2.

      I bought the wife a 4Runner Limited this year, as what it is, is rare in the SUV market compared to all of the cookie cutter CUVs. While at the dealer, I also test drove a Tacoma possibly for myself. I thought visibility over the huge hood was poor, MPG was poor, payload is low, and as far as the Entunes 2 … it’s a joke. We don’t even use it in the 4R. We recently took a long vacation and used our iPhones for navigation over the Entunes.

      Anyway, I’m glad to see more options in the midsize truck market because the Tacoma just falls short. I wouldn’t buy one as it currently is.

  • avatar

    I think this mid-size truck looks like a Luxury SUVs from the front and that the only reason of most selling vehicle in America.

  • avatar
    helilog

    What is amazing about the Tacoma is that it is so popular. Drum brakes in back, only recently receiving 6 speeds in the auto tranny when most everybody else has 8 or 10, a cab that shimmies over bumps and when you close the doors. Horrible gas mileage for such a light and small truck — my Wrangler got better fuel economy! Though well fitted there is plastic EVERYWHERE in the interior.

    The days of a tacoma being a step above its competition is long past. Great reputation though, I admit. That’s why I recently bought one. I got compliments for it all the time from strangers who quoted their desire to someday have one. I sold mine in a year (for a good price I admit) after getting fed up with the basic flaws of the vehicle. Sorry for stepping out of line on Tacoma Love but, hey, I don’t like Koolaid.

  • avatar

    Sigh, Toyota does everything right.


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