Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma’s Latest Award Proves It’s the Best Truck For You

Find the perfect pickup truck is a nearly impossible task. Some models deliver more capable performance, while others focus on luxury or efficiency. Then there’s the 2021 Toyota Tacoma, which appears to be a jack of all trades.

The Tacoma is known for its incredible resale value, but it’s so much more than a smart long-term investment. In fact, this midsize truck is earning recognition from respected industry experts. 

What does the Tacoma’s latest accolade tell us about the truck, and is it the best value in its segment? Let’s see what the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is all about and what other experts have to say about it.

Toyota’s truck takes home another prestigious award

Unless you have the means to take long-term test drives of many models, it’s often best to trust experts’ analysis. These automotive industry professionals analyze every aspect of a vehicle so you don’t have to. Obviously, some models fare better than others.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a midsize truck that’s caused a stir among critics. Some pundits love this pint-sized pickup, while others aren’t very impressed. However, it’s tough to ignore a model that’s won significant awards.

Kelley Blue Book named the 2021 Toyota Tacoma the Best Buy of 2021 in the midsize pickup truck category. Notably, the Chevy Colorado earned KBB’s Best Buy honor for the 2020 model year.

The publication puts a heavy emphasis on resale value, so it’s no surprise that it loves Toyota’s midsize truck. In fact, KBB has named the Tacoma its Best Overall Resale Value award winner for six consecutive years.

However, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma also earned recognition because of its all-around excellence. KBB noted that the truck makes a great daily driver capable of tackling off-road adventures and challenging tasks.

Other experts disagree

Other outlets aren’t quite as sold on the Tacoma as KBB. Consumer Reports and the U.S. News & World Report list it as the third-best truck in its class. 

Both publications argue that the Honda Ridgeline is at the head of the class. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports put the Jeep Gladiator in second place, while the U.S. News preferred the Ford Ranger. Both publications gave the Tacoma middle-of-the-road reliability scores, but that shouldn’t necessarily be a dealbreaker for buyers.

Consumer Reports noted the Tacoma’s impressive list of standard safety features among the truck’s best assets. Notably, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is one of the few trucks that features a suite of standard driver-assistance technologies. These include automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and more. However, Consumer Reports chastised Toyota for continuing to produce the Tacoma on such an outdated platform.

Meanwhile, the U.S. News praised the midsize truck for its off-road performance and user-friendly infotainment system. However, the publication disliked the 2021 Tacoma’s “stiff ride” and its lackluster standard 159-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine.

Is the 2021 Toyota Tacoma the industry’s best midsize truck?

RELATED: Is the 2018 Toyota Tacoma the Worst Model Year?

The automotive industry consensus is that the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a good-to-mediocre truck, depending on your particular priorities. However, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline might be the better buy – provided you don’t mind its funky styling.

That said, the 2021 Tacoma may make more financial sense for many buyers. It has a much cheaper starting MSRP ($26,150) than that of the Ridgeline ($33,900), and its stellar resale value may come in clutch for you down the road.