Taco Tuesday: Why Is the Toyota Tacoma So Popular?

The Toyota Tacoma is far and away the best-selling compact pickup truck in the segment. It embodies a certain undeniable appeal across a wide range of North American consumers. But why is the Toyota Tacoma so popular?

The popular 2020 Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
2020 Toyota Tacoma | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

There are definitely a number of reasons. Let’s go over a few of them to get to the bottom of this truck’s success. In fact, here are three major reasons that consumers turn to this Toyota pickup truck, the Tacoma when shopping in the midsize truck class.

The Taco has the best midsize pickup truck resale value

This midsize pickup truck is “known for quality,” Kelley Blue Book reports. Moreover, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma holds its value better than any other model in the compact pickup truck segment. According to Kelley Blue Book, every model from each Toyota Tacoma generation earned the award year over year.

“This truck has been in the top spot of the BRVA podium every year since we launched these awards in 2003 and we awarded it to the first-gen Tacoma.”

Kelley Blue Book | Best Resale Value Award

In 2021, this Toyota pickup truck is “the Midsize Truck Best Resale Value Award winner for the 19th consecutive year and is one of the 10 Best overall Best Resale Values for the 10th year in a row.” If you want a compact pickup truck that holds its value better than the rest, you’ll find the beloved Taco particularly compelling. Trucks in general tend to hold their value pretty well, but the Tacoma takes the prize. That’s one major reason the Toyota Tacoma is so popular.

Is the Toyota Tacoma the most reliable pickup truck in its class?

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most reliable midsize pickup trucks. In all three generations, the Taco has earned and maintained a fantastic reputation for reliability. It often finds itself on lists of the most reliable vehicles like this one published by U.S. News and World Report.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma in the dirt
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

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That said, there are other reliable compact trucks on the market as well. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline and the 2021 Jeep Gladiator both scored high reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. However, the Toyota Tacoma has one of the most solid histories in terms of reliability, quality, and durability not only from Consumer Reports but other critics like J.D. Power as well.

Like all trucks, this midsize Toyota pickup truck isn’t perfect. There are model years that rank lower than other in terms of reliability. Still, while it’s difficult to say exactly which compact pickup truck is the most reliable in the class, the Toyota Tacoma maintains a strong reputation for being a reliable truck.

A call to off-road adventure draws buyers to this Toyota pickup truck

For some buyers, this may be the most compelling reason to choose the Toyota Tacoma over other midsize pickups. Some want to buy a Taco as a base for their overland build. Others are drawn to the TRD Pro model or one of the other off-road enhanced trim levels like the TRD Off-Road version.

a 2018 Toyota Tacoma crawling down a sandy red hill
2018 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota USA

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The base model Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine. However, buyers can upgrade to the more powerful 3.6-liter V6 on any trim level––in addition to opting for the available four-wheel-drive system. The Toyota Tacoma SR trim comes standard with a skid plate over the front suspension, hill assist, and (of course) a tough body-on-frame construction. Now, you can also upgrade your Taco with a factory TRD lift kit.

Plus, the access cab SR model of sturdy little truck has an approach angle of 29 degrees, a 23.5-degree departure angle, and a 24-degree break over angle, according to Toyota. If you opt for the range-topping 2021 TRD Pro Tacoma with a double cab those numbers change to 35, 19.1, 23.9 degrees respectively. Overall, when these numbers combine with the Tacoma’s midsize truck dimensions it’s highly capable off-road. That’s one more reason the Toyota Tacoma is so popular.