Midsize pickup trucks may represent a fairly small part of the American truck market, but it's an area of the industry that's definitely on an upward curve. More and more manufacturers are waking up to the growing demand from retail buyers for lifestyle vehicles, plenty of who don't need something a big and powerful as a full-size. Although there are a number of newcomers in the segment and more to come, the 2017 Tacoma remains one by which all others will be judged. Packed with features and boasting a formidable reputation for reliability and durability, the Tacoma is where any search for a new midsize pickup should start.
Although the 2017 Toyota Tacoma is a midsize offering, it doesn't mean there's any lack of capability on show here. There are two modern engines available in the lineup, which are a 2.7-liter four-pot and a 3.5-liter V-6. The four-cylinder unit is the standard engine in the base SR model and the SR5 trim level, and gets you a very healthy 159 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque and comes mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission in the SR. The SR5 doesn't offer the manual transmission, but what it does offer is the option of upgrading to the V-6 if you prefer. The 3.5-liter V-6 develops 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque, and as well as being available in the SR5, it's also the standard unit in the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Platinum and TRD-Pro trims.
All models except the TRD-Pro are rear-wheel drive as standard with the 4WDemand part-time four-wheel drive system as an available option, while the TRD-Pro comes standard with 4WDemand.
It might be hard to believe here in America, but trucks the size of the 2017 Toyota Tacoma are the dominant sellers in markets outside North America, where the full-size still very much reigns supreme. This is why the styling of midsize offerings is often quite different from domestic full-size models as they are usually developed for overseas markets first and foremost. However, the Tacoma is now a lot closer in terms of styling to what we expect a truck to look rather than what they look like in most of the rest of the world. This is a good-looking truck that's now noticeably bolder than before, courtesy of a more imposing front fascia and a higher hood line than it had previously.
If you're used to cars but thinking of moving to a truck, you'll find the transition easy with the Tacoma as cabins are very reminiscent of Toyota's current car interiors. The Tacoma lineup is packed with the latest features and equipment with levels increasing as you move up through the trims.
If you need the versatility, flexibility and capability of a truck but don't need to go as far as a full-size, the 2017 Toyota Tacoma should be where you look first.