I’ve not surveyed anyone, but I’m willing to bet Justin Bieber’s attitude problems that those who have purchased a Tacoma have felt pretty much the same about their pickup as I do my Snap-on. As the days and years go by, the truck’s utility and reliability (in every sense of the words) become more evident; the more it is used and put to the test, the more indispensible it becomes.
The Tacoma makes no promises on which it cannot deliver. I’ve driven this highly popular and successful compact pickup a few times over the last decade and regardless of trim or powertrain, I always come away satisfied. The 2013 Toyota Tacoma continues to deliver without fear of disappointing. Its only shortcoming is that it is getting a little long in the tooth.
What is a Toyota Tacoma?
The 2013 Tacoma is Toyota’s compact pickup. Actually, I could have added “legendary” as it long ago proved its mettle as being reliable, robust and able to take many beatings and keep on ticking.
This pickup is available in two body styles (access cab and double cab) and has been largely unchanged since 2005. As one of the very few compact pickups on the market, Toyota has little to do but offer it and it sells quite well.
2013 Toyota Tacoma Price and Specs
The 2013 Tacoma can be delivered as either a basic work truck or a full-on family truck with a long list of amenities.
Powered by either a 159 hp 2.7L 4-cylinder or the as-tested 236 hp 4.0L V6, the Tacoma can tow between 3,500 lbs (1,587 kgs) and 6,500 lbs (2,948 kgs) depending on powertrain. Transmission choices reside between a 5- (4-cyl) or 6-speed manual, and a 4- (4-cyl) or 5-speed automatic.
True to form, depending on customer demands, the base “work” truck is a 4x2 whereas the remainder of the lineup features 4x4. Once more, depending on the package, a TRD group version with oversize tires, skid plates, and more can be had for those who like to play in the rough stuff.
Base price for the 2013 Toyota Tacoma is $22,335. My Limited tester topped the price scale at $38,390. The best overall version of this pickup is, in my opinion, the Double Cab V6 6M TRD Sport Package (Bilstein suspension) and it goes for $34,015.
Driving the 2013 Toyota Tacoma
Despite my 2013 Toyota Tacoma being a top-of-the line Limited, it was far from cushy. The first element to note is that, although the V6 has plenty of grunt, the throttle must be heavily coaxed in order to be exploited.
The autobox is a willing participant in all manners of driving but it remains, like the Tacoma’s ride, a rugged pickup truck’s transmission. Upshifts are laborious and not especially smooth under mild acceleration. In order to get a kickdown, standing on the go pedal works best.
About the ride: The 2013 Toyota Tacoma’s suspension was designed and conceived for work. On one occasion, I helped a family member move, and with the bed loaded with approximately 400 lbs of stuff the springs and dampers compressed somewhat, smoothing out road irregularities.
Steering lacks bite, precision and on-center feel, the typical recipe for a pickup -- at least it was. Recent full-size trucks are blessed with well-judged assistance and a fair amount of precision. My guess is that on the next generation Tacoma, this issue will be addressed. As far as the brakes are concerned, they are up to the task.
Inside and Out of the Toyota Tacoma
I’ve been a fan of the Tacoma’s outer shell from the moment I laid eyes on the current generation all those years ago. I still feel the same way, especially when the Toyota is endowed with the TRD package. The Limited trim adds unique chrome wheels, chrome-capped sideview mirrors, as well as a few other touches that ruin its otherwise handsome physique.
Like the sheetmetal, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma’s cabin has aged but has not fared as well. The dashboard could be pulled from a late-‘90s Toyota, and no one would be the wiser. The seats, although cozy on short stints, lack all-around support for longer drives.
The rear bench of the double cab is fine for most applications, meaning kids or adults -- so long as it’s not for a long time. Most four-door pickups offer some form of storage below the rear bench and the Tacoma is no different. Sadly, most of the compartments are too shallow to swallow anything large.
Comparing the Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma has but one direct competitor at the moment and it is the Nissan Frontier. A quick glance at the sales figures would have you believe that it really is alone in its segment.
The issue with the Tacoma is its pricing which can easily rival that of a base-trim Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado, to name a few. At this level, the Tacoma cannot compete.