Toyota’s lineup includes a number of vehicles with years’ worth of pedigree. The Tacoma pickup truck is just one of those models. While it may compete with big names like Ford, Ram, Nissan, Honda, and Jeep, there’s something to be said for Toyota’s finding the right combination of value, capability, and reliability — and sticking to it.
If you’ve been considering the Tacoma, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll help you discover what’s great about this legendary truck (and maybe things that might be a dealbreaker for you). All the same, you’ve set yourself up for success already. An informed buyer typically makes a better decision for both the short- and long-term. Kudos to you! Let’s break down the 2021 Toyota Tacoma.
Toyota fits the 2021 Tacoma with either a four-cylinder or a V6 engine. The first, a 2.7-liter powerplant capable of 159 horsepower, makes 180 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a 3.5-liter V6 engine sports 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Choose a six-speed transmission in either automatic or manual There’s also a choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Tacomas purchased in 2WD can tow up to 6,800 pounds, while you’ll lose 300 pounds of towing capacity in 4WD variants. Keep reading to learn more about cab configurations, safety equipment, and fuel efficiency.
Choose from one of the following colors for your new 2021 Toyota Tacoma.
- Voodoo Blue
- Super White
- Wind Chill Pearl
- Silver Sky Metallic
- Magnetic Gray Metallic
- Midnight Black Metallic
- Barcelona Red Metallic
- Army Green
- Lunar Rock
Trimlines and Pricing
This base Tacoma starts at $26,150. Basic features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, and either a five- or six-foot bed.
Riding on 16-inch wheels, the SR5 trim includes remote keyless entry, an eight-inch touchscreen, and a leather steering wheel. The driver’s seat is powered on this trim level, which goes for a minimum of $27,940.
Equipped with sport-tuned suspension, dual-zone climate control, and 17-inch wheels, the TRD Sport model is a must if you want to get the most out of your truck. While you won’t get the benefits of leather seating on this trim, there’s plenty of sport to make up for it. This model starts at $33,060.
If you really want to take your truck where the pavement ends, this is the trim level for you. Complete with Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, and an electronically-controlled rear differential, this trim also includes LED headlights and a front skidplate. The Tacoma TRD Off-Road is priced at $34,315.
Remember “L” is for leather — and the Limited trim, which is the trim you’ll need to pay for in order to get leather seating. Other features of this top trim include chrome door handles, a Panoramic View Monitor, a premium JBL sound system, and a power sliding rear window. There’s also 18-inch polished alloy wheels. All for the starting price of $38,905.
Tipping the scales at nearly $45,000, the TRD Pro model blends a sporty character with off-road potential. Black leather inside gives you that luxury feeling, while the cat-back exhaust lets others know you’re on the road to something new and exciting. Fox shocks keep the Tacoma planted and a Multi-Terrain Monitor lets you know exactly what’s around you for the best way to pick your way across the terrain ahead.
While it’s true that not much has changed on the newest Tacoma, Toyota has kept most of its loyal customers happy with sticking to the same formula.
Though the 2021 Toyota Tacoma has not yet been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2021 model 4 out of 5 stars overall. That’s 4 out of 5 stars for both the front driver side and front passenger side ratings.
Don’t let that less-than-perfect score deter you from considering the 2021 Tacoma. In fact, with Toyota’s standard Safety Sense P suite of driver aids on board, it’s likely one of the safest pickups on the road today. You can find safety technology such as “lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control” on the 2021 Tacoma. Check with your local Toyota dealership to find out more about safety equipment on your potential new truck.
Kelley Blue Book and Fueleconomy.gov mirrored fuel efficiency ratings on the 2021 Tacoma. Choose the 2WD four-cylinder engine with an automatic transmission for 20 city and 23 highway EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon (MPG). Opting for the 4WD model will lose you a point on both ratings.
When it comes to the V6 engine — and the available manual transmission — numbers start to get more complicated. The 2WD automatic models achieve 19 city and 24 highway MPG. In the 4WD and automatic variant, those numbers change to 17 city and 21 highway MPG. The manual version drops down to 17 city and 21 highway MPG, while Double Cab models lose a point on the highway.
We mentioned some potential competitors in the beginning, but the truth is that the light-duty pickup truck segment includes just a few models. The Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline compete against the Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon. This means the Toyota Tacoma doesn’t have to be the very best at what it does. However, it will need to stand out from other brands to capture your attention.
Realistically, there are a number of things the 2021 Tacoma does well. For instance, Car and Driver describes the model as “great for off-roading, rugged and reliable, packed with driver-assistance tech.” The availability of a standard transmission on the V6 model pleased reviewers at Edmunds. According to KBB, “there’s a Tacoma to suit a wide range of needs and tastes, from an economical work truck to an off-road beast with optional manual transmission.” The 2021 Tacoma also boasts an excellent resale value.
Where you might find the Tacoma lacking is in the mediocre offering in terms of technology or interior creature comforts. There are more plush cabins out there, to put it plainly. You might find plenty of high-tech equipment from other brands will better satisfy your technological needs. Edmunds notes the high ride height might be hard for smaller passengers. KBB mentioned the somewhat dated styling, which is a gripe we’ve also heard about newest Frontier.
Sure, the 2021 Tacoma “lacks the refinement of top rivals” says Car and Driver. “But it remains a popular option for both off-road enthusiasts and the truck’s long-time fans.” Perhaps Toyota figures its customers can forego a few luxurious touches here and there. Instead, they trade them for the security of a workhorse that doesn’t break the bank.
The Last Word
The Tacoma has long been a favorite of those customers who work hard, play hard, and demand the highest from their vehicles. In fact, the Tacoma’s close sibling, the Hilux, has outperformed the expectations of many worldwide, as seen in an old Top Gear episode. However, we encourage you to test these features for yourself. Visit your local Toyota dealership and take the 2021 Tacoma for a test drive. See for yourself why this tiny truck has such a loyal following.