Review: 2018 Toyota Tacoma
Tacoma makes life easier when heavy lifting is needed
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is a truck that looks good carrying a heavy load or heading out to a fancy dinner.
- What’s Worst: Toyota needs to put in a small step to help drivers and passengers climb into the cab and rear seats.
- What’s Interesting: The interior of the Tacoma is as nice as many luxury vehicles on the road.
It’s one of the many rituals families with college and university kids perform every August and April.
In August, you take them to school and if it’s their first year you spend more time with them than you should and leave with a few tears rolling down your cheek.
If it’s their third year, you leave them at the door and get home as fast as you can.
If you are bringing them home from school, that is another matter altogether. Your kids can accumulate a lot of stuff over three years at school.
Sometimes you need a truck to handle the heavy loads and luckily, with my son returning from Mohawk College, I was able to pick him up in a 2018 Toyota Tacoma.
With a bed, chairs, dressers, and more clothes than I have ever owned in my life, the Tacoma was able to carry it all.
Making it even easier, were cargo bed tie downs which could be moved along the cargo bed, so bungee cords could be placed anywhere you need them.
The Tacoma comes in three models, with each model offering different configurations, meaning there is a Tacoma truck for whatever your need.
The three models are: Access Cab 4X2, Access Cab 4X4 and the Double Cab 4X4. My tester for the week was the 4X4 Double Cab V6 with six-speed automatic transmission. Thank goodness for that double cab as it was able to hold a lot of knick-knacks such as small lights and clothes.
I made the trip to Hamilton on a Saturday and as always, figured the traffic wouldn’t be bad.
What is it with that stretch of the QEW from Oakville down to Hamilton? It is always busy and traffic seems to stop for no reason, and then picks up just as quickly.
The Tacoma easily handled the stop and go traffic on the way there and more importantly, handled it easily on the way home to Bowmanville with a full truck bed.
I did stay in the right hand lane as much as possible in case there was a problem but when we got home a quick check showed nothing had moved.
The traffic on Highway 401 through Durham was lighter than usual and the Tacoma easily kept up with drivers rushing to get to their cottages on a Saturday afternoon.
For a truck, the Tacoma is quick on its 17-inch wheels thanks to a six-cylinder, 3.5-litre Atkinson Cycle engine that delivers 278 hp and 265 lb/ft of torque.
The six-speed automatic transmission keeps the Tacoma moving smoothly and the power-assisted, ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes bring it to a stop quickly when you need it.
The Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab comes with a number of standard features starting with Toyota’s Safety Sense package which features: lane departure alert; automatic high beams, pre-collision system (which was working overtime on the QEW) and dynamic radar cruise, which I didn’t get used at all because of the traffic.
Other safety features include side-roll sensing airbags, anchor points for child seats and active front headrests with whiplash protection.
My Tacoma came with a TRD Sport upgrade at a cost of $3,985 which included 17-inch all-season tires, blind spot monitoring, leather and heated front seats, wireless smartphone charger, a hood scoop, colour keyed door handles and a theft deterrent system.
What Toyota really needs to put on this truck is a small step to help drivers and passengers get into their seats. It is a high climb, especially for someone of my age.
While the Tacoma offers a smooth ride, inside you would swear you weren’t in a truck.
The interior is nicer than many cars I have sat in. I also liked the power rear sliding back window, a nice little feature worth having.
The seven-inch infotainment screen is a breeze to use and all the controls are within easy reach. The steering wheel does have a lot of controls on it, but because it is larger than a steering wheel in a car, they are all easy to reach and you don’t feel overwhelmed.
I read a couple of other reviews that complained about the small size of the second row seats but I didn’t feel crowded at all when I was sitting back there to see how they felt.
The cab of my tester was five-feet long due to the rear seating. If you want a six-foot cargo bed you need to go down to the 4X2 Access Cab or the 4X4 Access Cab or move up to a higher model with the 4X4 Double Cab.
Trucks these days do the work you need them for while offering the convenience and luxury of many cars.
The Tacoma fits that bill to a tee. It will carry a heavy load then take you to a dinner in style.
2018 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab V6
BODY STYLE: Five-passenger intermediate pickup truck
DRIVE METHOD: Part-time four-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 3.5-litre (278 hp, 265 lb/ft of torque).
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 13.2/10.7/100 km city/highway
CARGO: Five-foot long cargo bed
TOWING CAPACITY: 6,500 lbs.
PRICE: $45,562 (includes the $3,985 TRD sport package)
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