When an automaker dominates a sales niche like the best-selling Toyota Tacoma the mid-size pickup truck market, there isn’t pressure to make major changes. In its third generation, buyer customization remains a major appeal, and with 30 different models and dozens of optional add-ons, Tacoma is basically standing pat this year.
2019 Toyota Tacoma Review
Tacomas are known for off-road ruggedness, reliability, towing muscle up to 6,800 pounds on some models, and good resale value. Competitors include the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and the Ford mid-size Ford Ranger pickup being introduced this year.
Trims for the Toyota Tacoma are SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro and Limited – all capable of customer modifications. Changes for 2019 include an air intake vent for fording streams along with other features and options for the TRD Pro trim, upgraded audio and power sunroof in some trims, and standard privacy glass and new options in the base SR trim.
We test-drove the TRD Off-Road double cab with all-wheel drive and six-foot long bed. It included the Premium off-road package for $2,890, a safety-oriented technology package for $770 which complements Toyota’s Safety Sense, and a $650 lockable and folding Tonneau covering the composite bed equipped with tie-down cleats and power outlet.
We enjoyed the responsive handling on and off-road. Top off-road control features such as suspension tuning, Bilstein shock absorbers, hill descent assist, 9.4-inch ground clearance, and multi-terrain/select crawl control made off-roading fun.
At highway speeds, some wind/road noise occurs. The 3.5-liter engine generates moderate pick-up for steady merges and remains stable in tight turns.
Inside, knobs and buttons are easy to use; the 7-inch dashboard touchscreen has the latest technical links with voice recognition and Toyota’s highly touted Entune information access system. A multi-information display sits between the main gauges.
Fit and finish is excellent with top grade materials and numerous storage areas exist, with ample cupholders front and back, plus concealed bins under the rear seats, including tools for changing the spare tire.
Access can be challenging (step-in is high), front seats are manually adjusted and due to the sunroof may challenge six-footers plus.
2019 Hyundai Elantra at a Glance
LIKES: Looks, tech features, off-road prowess, handling, versatility, reliability
DISLIKES: Access, manual seat adjustment, noise
BOTTOM LINE: It remains the best-selling mid-size pick-up while competitors try to catch up
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested world-wide market.