DALLAS, July 30, 2012 — A good choice to consider in the world of midsize pickups, the 2012 Toyota Tacoma offers a powerful engine, but also touts practical fuel efficiency and there are plenty of options to choose from in regard to body trims.
New on 2012 Toyota Tacoma this year, it’s an updated look interior and exterior with additional tech goodies added on as well.
While, you will still get the grit offered in a bigger pickup, the Tacoma is a downsized version of the “knock around truck” that has it all.
In comparison, the 2012 Toyota Tacoma falls in line with the Honda Ridgeline and the Nissan Frontier so it really comes down to brand loyalty for the most part.
Trims and options are diverse in the Tacoma and buyers can choose between the Regular Cab, the Access Cab with an extended cab and small-sized rear-hinged doors or the Double Cab, which is the crew cab with four full-size front-hinged doors.
In the case of the Regular and Access Cab options you can choose between a six-foot bed and the standard on the Double Cab, a five-foot bed. A six-foot bed is available as an option on the Double Cab too.
At the base level you get the Tacoma Regular Cab, but goodies are not included on this one other than 15-inch steel wheels, limited-slip differential, air-conditioning, a cloth bench seat, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a four-speaker sound system with CD player.
On the four-wheel-drive option in this trim you also get automatic transmission and front bucket seats.
On the Access Cab base trim, the cloth upholstery is a little better and there are front bucket seats, a rear bench with under-seat storage and power locks and windows. The base Double Cab will up the ante to 16-inch steel wheels, a front skid plate, power mirrors and a driver-seat lumbar adjustment. You also get a better sound system with a few tech goodies added on like Bluetooth and audio connect.
There are a number of options to be had on the 2012 Toyota Tacoma; these are generally in packages and aren’t available individually. For example, the Convenience package gives you a sliding rear window, keyless entry, cruise control and steering-wheel audio controls.
The SR5 package comes as an option on all the trims except the Regular Cabs and the X-Runner Access Cab and has both exterior and interior goodies like a chrome grille and rear bumper.
The TRD Off-Road package will give you 16-inch alloy wheels, fender flares, a heavy-duty suspension, a locking rear differential, hill start assist and hill descent control, skid plates, sport seats and extras from the SR5, and Convenience packages.
For the street, TRD Sport package offers 17-inch alloy wheels and sport seats too.
The V6 Access and Double Cabs with the short bed are available with a T|X and T|X Pro package. The T|X is worth a look with black alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, black tube steps and a stainless-steel exhaust tip with the T|X Pro also including a cat-back exhaust and side graphics.
Two engines are available on the 2012 Tacoma as well as rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Standard under the hood is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Standard on this one too is the five-speed manual transmission for the Regular and Access Cab models. The PreRunner Double Cab has a four-speed automatic that can also be had on the other two body styles as well.
There is also the option of a 4.0-liter V6 engine with 236 horsepower and 266 pound feet of torque on a four-wheel-drive Double Cab or X-Runner, but you can also opt for this configuration on the Access Cab and PreRunner Double Cab. On this one it is a six-speed manual with the V6, and a five-speed automatic is also available.
Taking a look at safety, the 2012 Toyota Tacoma offers antilock brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side-impact and full-length side curtain airbags, and front active head restraints. On some packages and trims, there is also the Hill-start assist and downhill assist that are equipped with automatic transmission.
While the Toyota Tacoma isn’t going to win any awards for being too decorative on the inside, that’s okay since it’s still a nice ride and offers everything you will need in a mid-size truck.
Keep in mind too that the design is an upgrade this year, so inside get a reboot, expecting instead of the utilitarian silver controls, look now for a sleeker black look. Even better, the knobs and controls are still easy to navigate.
Seats are comfortable, and in the Double Cab even the backseat will have adult passengers smiling since there is plenty of room.
The Toyota Tacoma really does feel like a down and dirty truck. Think being out on the ranch but with all the class that comes from driving this type of vehicle in the city too.
Should You Need to Know: Take note of the rear-wheel-drive PreRunner trim on the 2012 Toyota Tacoma with a more rugged look and feel and you can take it either on-or-off road easily, but with the ease that comes with a lighter load.
Miles Per Gallon: I drove the Double Cab 4 X 4 V6 version and it came it at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway.
Cost: The cost for the Double Cab 4 X 4 was at $34,240.
Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.
She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at www.unregularradio.com.
Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.
Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from www.historypress.net. You can also follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.
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