Is the Toyota Tacoma a Good Pickup Truck for Landscapers?
One of the most important tools in a landscaper’s cache is a pickup truck. All those lawnmowers, weed eaters, rakes, shovels, coolers, and crew members aren’t good if you can’t transport them. Many landscapers work with what they’ve got, but there’s going to be a time when that transmission goes out for the last time. Afterward, they’ll be looking for a new workhorse, wondering if something like the ever-popular Toyota Tacoma is worth its salt.
The Toyota Tacoma is a trendy midsize pickup truck
The Toyota Tacoma looks like an impressive midsize truck for the job. It has tried-and-true off-road credentials, a hose-down interior, and that famed Toyota reliability. For example, the automaker shifted well over a quarter million in 2022, despite ongoing supply chain issues.
Regardless, folks don’t see Tacomas hauling 18-foot trailers packed full of mulch or Z-turn mowers. More than likely, they’re tackling trails, canyons, and shopping mall parking lots. Is there a reason it’s relegated to the adventurous or the leisurely crowd? Is it really a work truck?
Tacoma towing and cargo capacity
Toyota has pumped out Tacos for three decades, but the current model has the largest towing capacity. When properly equipped—TRD Sport Access cab with the six-foot box and an automatic transmission—the 2023 Tacoma can tow 6,800 pounds. Four-wheel drive versions have a maximum towing capacity of just 6,500 pounds. Maximum bed payload capacity is 1,685 pounds, but that’s on the rear-wheel drive-only models with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder. Four-wheel drive-capable Tacomas hold a couple of hundred pounds less. Also, the maximum tongue weight drops from 640 in the 3.5-liter V6 model to only 350 pounds in the four-banger.
Nevertheless, the 6,800-pound towing capacity is suitable for hauling smaller, eight-foot utility trailers with a single 48-inch deck mower. Adding all the grass-cutting accouterments, weekend warriors will be able to carry all their equipment to cut, trim, and blow. But what about those mulch jobs?
A cubic yard of mulch—that three-foot-long, three-foot-wide, three-foot-tall of dyed brown—will typically weigh round about 500 pounds. A smaller eight-foot trailer can suck up six yards easily. But that’s also dry weight. Wet mulch weighs far more, and a small trailer setup with a lower tongue weight isn’t going to cut it. It’ll be tough to move all the weight with just 265 pounds-feet of torque, too. Moreover, homes in the suburbs often call for more than a six-yard touch-up, and that’s when midsize truck towing capacity reaches its limits.
The Taco’s work-truck interior
One of the high points of the Toyota Tacoma for landscapers is its utilitarian interior. It’s been a complaint of Taco fans for years, but cloth seats and hard-wearing plastics fare well, slinging fescue from Sun up to Sun down. Cleaning the upholstery is as easy as cranking the backpack blower for 30 seconds and having a seat clean enough to eat off of.
Yet, given its placement in the midsize truck segment, the Tacoma has a narrower cabin than a full-size truck. This won’t be an issue for thinner landscapers, but it could be an uncomfortable route-runner for hefty boys and girls.
Should you really beat up that beautiful exterior?
One of the reasons why the Toyota Tacoma is a perennially expensive truck is because it holds its value so well. The TRD Sport mentioned above comes in at around $40,000, but Tacomas often reach the $50,000 mark.
If owners are even remotely worried about resale value, tearing up the exterior may be a grim prospect. Unfortunately, rocks thrown from mowers, tight-space jackknifes, and wayward crew members could impact the value immensely. As well, the bigger yards that need bigger equipment that can help pay for that expensive Taco may be unavailable for lone mower part-timers.
Is the Toyota Tacoma really a good pickup truck for landscapers?
Realistically, landscapers need a truck they’re not afraid to get dirty or damage slightly. Despite that, if part-time landscapers only work on the weekends, the Tacoma they drive to the office during the week should be fine.
On the other hand, full-time landscapers probably won’t get much utility out of a Toyota Tacoma. For grass-cutting crews pulling an 18-footer three Z-turns long, a full-size truck is necessary. It’d be better for landscaping veterans to save the Taco for chauffeuring significant others to Applebee’s on Saturday night.