The Toyota Tacoma is well into its lifecycle, but Toyota has continued to make updates to its most popular midsize pickup. The newest 2021 Toyota Tacoma is arriving with only a handful of updates, but luckily for truck shoppers, the Tacoma still does all the same things right. Even at its worst, new owners of the 2021 model won’t find much to complain about.
The new 2021 Toyota Tacoma: what to love
Even with minimal updates, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma “remains a highly recommendable pickup truck,” according to AutoTrader. And, its “achieved its leader status for good reason.” With six main trim levels and more than 30 possible configurations, the midsize Tacoma appeals to a wide range of truck buyers.
Unlike many other options in the segment, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma comes with multiple engine and transmission choices, including a base four-cylinder engine, an off-roading V6 engine, and even an optional, rarely seen manual transmission.
The Tacoma is packed with a variety of safety and driver-assist technologies as well as a competent infotainment system and touchscreen. While base models are often reserved for the worksite, the Tacoma’s TRD models are particularly impressive when playing in the dirt or tackling trails.
Aside from the Tacoma’s obvious features, there’s plenty to offer new owners. The 2021 Toyota Tacoma comes with a strong reputation for reliability and durability. The Tacoma’s pricing is also reasonable, even considering available options.
The base-level Tacoma SR, for example, comes with a starting price of around $26,000, while the top-trim, fully-loaded TRD Pro will cost outdoor enthusiasts around $44,000. Combine that with tremendous resale value and the Toyota Tacoma might just be the midsize truck with the best value.
Minor infractions: what it could improve on
According to Car and Driver, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is both a practical truck and an “off-road toy.” But “its legend is largely influenced by the latter,” boasting true capability off-road, but lacking “the refinement of top rivals.” While the Tacoma is reliable, durable, and packed with tech, the experts say it could still use some improvements.
Compared to similar trucks in the segment, the Toyota Tacoma offers a less refined ride. Many experts also feel that the Tacoma’s lower entry price is reflected in its interior quality, which is more “plasticky” and less plush than rivals.
Why the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is the king of the midsize truck segment
The Toyota Tacoma is one of the segment’s longest-running vehicles and by far, the most popular. In fact, it may not even be fair to call the midsize truck segment a true competition. According to data found by Pickup Truck Talk, sales for the Toyota Tundra at least double the number of sales for any other midsize pickup truck.
By the second quarter of 2020, Toyota sold nearly 105,000 Tacoma models, with the next-best-selling truck in the segment (Ford Ranger) selling around 46,000. Compared to its rivals like the Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline, even with its faults, the Tacoma comes with a reasonable starting price, tremendous reliability and resale value as well as off-road competence.
The newest Toyota Tacoma improves on areas where previous models were lacking. Even MotorTrend experts say it “owns” the midsize truck segment, with a “venerated reputation for reliability” and “rugged image.” Naming it one of the best midsize trucks you can buy in 2020, “it’s easy to see why the pickup is so popular.” While the newest 2021 Toyota Tacoma is far from perfect, it may be the most perfect Tacoma (and best midsize truck) yet.