Toyota Tacoma
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With General Motors re-entering the small-truck battle soon, Toyota’s Tacoma needs to be on its game; new SR appearance package replaces X-Runner sport truck.


Holdover 2.7-liter four-cylinder and truck-specific 4.0-liter V6.

Although General Motors confirmed its Colorado/Canyon twins would reappear at some point, Toyota still has a couple years with its Tacoma on top before they hit market. Despite its relative age, Toyota unleashed a trickle of updates back in 2012, including a very subtle reshaped grille and headlights, and new exterior mirrors. Under the long hood rests either a base 159-horsepower four-cylinder that could use an upgrade, or if towing/hauling is more of a concern, the Tacoma turns up the wick to the tune of 236 horsepower via the optional 4.0-liter V6. Outfitted with six standard airbags and traction and stability control to help keep the driver on track when the road surface becomes disagreeable, the Tacoma comes in the usual regular, extended Access-Cab and four-door Double-Cab models and your choice of rear-or four-wheel-drive for all. The box (available in two lengths) floor and walls in all cases are made of composite plastic that obviously won’t dent or rust. Up-level models also get hose-out heavy-duty all-weather flooring. The radio was upgraded for the 2013 model year with a larger 3.3-inch screen that doubles as the backup-camera monitor, and every Tacoma comes with Toyota’s Entune mobile application and Bluetooth system. Adding a little class to the mix is a Limited Package, which includes plenty of chrome inside and out, plus heated front sport seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel and more. There are some disappointing disappearances, though. Gone are the TX and TX Pro packages, which included black bead-lock wheels, blacked-out tube sidesteps and a custom exhaust. So is the ground-hugging X-Runner that specialized in picking off sports cars at local mall-parking-lot autocross events. In their place is a new SR Package with body-color upgrades like overfenders, door-handles, bumpers, grille and mirrors, and smoked headlights.

Base price (incl. destination): $18,800
Type: Two-/four-door mid-sized pickup
Base engine (hp): 2.7-liter DOHC I4 (159)
Optional engine (hp): 4.0-liter DOHC V6 (236)
Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel drive
Transmission: Five-speed manual; four-speed automatic (opt. on I4); six-speed manual (std. on V6); five-speed automatic (opt. on V6)
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26 (2.7, MT, 4×2)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,250