Road Test: 2019 Toyota Tacoma

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma has been on a sales streak for 12 straight years, keeping what works and getting updates where needed to stay fresh. CALTY designers in Newport Beach, California and Ann Arbor, Michigan, helped give the updated Tacoma an unmistakably athletic and stylish identity that retains everyday functionality and ruggedness.

We were given the opportunity to evaluate the Limited Double Cab Tacoma in Cavalary Blue paint, which slots in below the TRD Pro price-wise, and offers the classier clean truck look.

We have to preface our review of the Tacoma by sharing how much we love that Toyota Safety Sense is standard. No other truck in the class comes standard with the level of safety technology that Tacoma does, standard on every trim. The tech includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

On the driving front, Tacoma is a classic truck. It rides, drives, and sounds like a Tacoma always has, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We like that because it keeps the driver engaged and it doesn’t give up any of the true abilities that Tacoma owners have come to except from their trucks.

The Tacoma rides quietly thanks to enhanced door seals, a multi-layer acoustic windshield, sound-absorbing headliner, and a floor silencer pad. Calls on bluetooth had no issue hearing us.

Under the hood of our tester was the the updated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 featuring Toyota’s innovative VVT-iW technology. The engine also utilizes Toyota’s D-4S injection system, which incorporates both direct injection and port fuel injection. This efficient engine cranks out 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of peak torque.

Each of the engines can be teamed to a six-speed automatic, or the V6 can also be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. When equipped with the V6 Tow Package, Tacoma can pull up to 6,800 lbs.

Tacoma is rated for 18 mpg city, 22 highway, and we averaged 21 mpg in mixed driving.

Out front, the Tacoma’s chiseled face is anchored by a bold, hexagonal grille and a tall, muscular hood. Its slim, projection beam headlights are outfitted with LED daytime running lights.

In the back, the tailgate has an easy-lowering feature, which allows it to retract slowly to prevent it from slamming down. We’re huge fans of the Toyota-made tri-fold hard tonneau cover that secures anything in the bed out of sight.

Inside, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma adds two additional USB charging ports in the center console.

Tacoma may be tough, but its interior treats the driver and passengers gently. Soft-wrapped trim and metallic accents look and feel high-quality. Comfort and durability come together in Tacoma’s seating thanks to a driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support and four-way adjustable front passenger seat. Our Limited model came with rich leather heated seats.

The Double Cab features 60/40 split rear seats with adjustable headrests and under-seat storage, brilliant for additional funtionality inside the truck.

On the tech front, Qi wireless charging, smart key with push-button start, a power tilt/slide moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, enhanced touchscreen audio, Blind-Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert were all on our tester.

Infotainment comes standard with the Entune Premium JBL Audio system, which includes a 7-inch touch-screen with split-screen display, AM/FM cache radio, HD Radio, CD player, six JBL speakers and subwoofer amplifier, auxiliary port, USB port, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, Siri Eyes Free, HD Radio Predictive Traffic and Doppler Weather overlay, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

The Double Cab is offered in two versions: the 127.4-inch wheelbase with a 60.5-inch bed or 140.6-inch wheelbase with the 73.7-inch bed.

Both bed styles are designed to take punishment with an inner bed made from a sheet-molded composite (SMC) deck and tough, durable walls that are 10-percent lighter than steel. The bed deck features two-tier loading and an integrated deck-rail utility system with four standard adjustable tie-down cleats.

The deck rail system can carry just about whatever you need to. It’s compatible with Toyota Accessories, including a cargo divider that locks into the rails to help keep cargo from sliding around the bed, and mini tie-downs with hooks that also help to secure cargo. The 120V/400W power outlet further extends the bed’s utility.

All Tacoma 4×4 models are equipped with 4WDemand part-time 4WD with an electronically controlled transfer case and either an Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD) or an electronically controlled locking rear differential. Auto LSD is an electronic, brake-actuated system that functions like a mechanical limited slip differential when activated at low speeds.

We drove the Tacoma in some snowy weather and like our last experience, continue to be impressed by how it handles adverse conditions.

Whether you’re towing jet skis or trailers, Tacoma is prepared. The Tow Package (standard on all V6 models) includes a Class IV Towing Receiver Hitch, ATF Cooler, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4- and 7-pin connector with converter, and Trailer-Sway Control (TSC).

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling7
Braking9
Powertrain and Fuel Economy8
Noise7
Headlights8
Interior Fit and Finish7
Seating8
Visibility9
Gauges and Controls8
Infotainment7
Crash-Avoidance9
Total Score79


Make: Toyota
Model: Tacoma
Trim Level: Limited
Engine: 3.5L V6
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Options: Tri-fold tonneau cover

Base Price: $40,865
As-Tested Price: $42,610

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