Trucks & SUVs

Taco Tuesday: Does the Toyota Tacoma Still Dominate Compact Pickup Truck Sales?

The rough and tumble Toyota Tacoma, loving called the Taco by many fans, has long been the best-selling compact pickup truck. After an awkward year for sales in 2020, we are curious about how this truck’s sales will do in 2021. Does the Toyota Tacoma still dominate compact pickup truck sales numbers?

a 2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail Special Edition on display at an auto show
Toyota Tacoma Trail Special Edition | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

According to Good Car Bad Car, 238,805 Toyota Tacoma units were sold in 2020 in the U.S. While this was down a bit from the previous year of sales, it was enough to keep the Taco in the top spot for compact pickup truck sales. Let’s take a look at this year’s sales numbers so we can speculate whether this tough little truck will remain the leading small pickup.

For some, this question is a big one. For true Taco die-hards, however, the answer is easy. But the Toyota Tacoma is a popular compact pickup truck for a number of reasons.

For one, the Toyota Tacoma comes in a range of trims with prices ranging from affordable to the more expensive side of things. The 2021 Tacoma entry-level SR starts at $26,250 according to Toyota’s website. The price rises from there across five more Tacoma trim levels.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is the range-topper. This is the most off-road oriented of the Tacos. The TRD Pro model features Fox shocks, unique styling, and a TRD Pro skid plate––among other upper-level features. Starting at $44,175, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is the most expensive model.

Since the truck debuted in 1995, it’s gained a faithful following of fans who love reliability and off-road capability. The Toyota Tacoma is known for its off-pavement prowess. That said, it also maintains a reputation as one of the most reliable pickup trucks on the road––in all three of the Taco’s generations. Overall, the Tacoma is popular largely because it holds value, can handle off-road tasks with ease, and has historic status in terms of reliability.

Compact pickup truck sales in 2021

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is already doing well in terms of sales. Already this year, 90,897 units have been sold according to Good Car Bad Car data. It looks as if 2021 is shaping up to be a decent sales year for this compact pickup truck. But how does it stack up to the competition?

An orange 2021 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 driving
2021 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 | Chevy

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The compact pickup truck that comes in second to the Tacoma in terms of sales is the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado. However, it’s far behind. Selling under 50,000 units, it would take a lot for the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado to close the gap. Not far behind the Colorado is the 2021 Ford Ranger, followed by the Jeep Gladiator, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier, and GMC Canyon––in that order.

Will the Taco remain dominant?

At this point it’s difficult to imagine another compact pickup truck selling more units in 2021 than the Toyota Tacoma. TFL Truck reports that April 2021 sales are higher than the average monthly sales in the first quarter of the year.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma still appeals to the masses enough to stay at the top of its class in terms of sales. With new releases like the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz and updates to other small truck models like the Honda Ridgeline and the Nissan Frontier, the competition is heating up. However, it’s unlikely that any of these compact pickup trucks will dethrone the Taco anytime soon.

2021 Toyota Tacoma climbing rocks in remote and mountainous terrain.
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota USA

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