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The Toyota Tacoma is the most popular midsize truck in America. That fact is indisputable, but other aspects aren’t as straightforward. Although this pickup has more configurations and outsells other trucks in its segment, the Toyota Tacoma’s reliability scores are disappointing. Let’s investigate why Toyota’s midsize truck ranks dead last in this category.

What are the Toyota Tacoma reliability scores?

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma off-roading
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The Toyota Tacoma received a reliability score of 3.5 out of 5.0 from the consumer site RepairPal. That places the Tacoma seventh out of seven midsize trucks. This ranking is based on the following three factors:

  • Cost: The Toyota Tacoma’s average annual repair and maintenance costs are $478, compared with $548 for all midsize trucks.
  • Frequency: Tacoma owners take their vehicles to the repair shop for unscheduled repairs 0.25 times per year, compared to 0.2 for the class.
  • Severity: The probability of severe repairs for the Toyota Tacoma is 17%, compared to 13% for midsize trucks.

Although the cost of repairs and maintenance is much lower for this Toyota midsize truck than the class average, the severity of repairs is a concern. That factor causes the Tacoma to hit the bottom of the reliability rankings.

What are the 3 most common Tacoma problems?

The three most common Toyota Tacoma problems likely contribute to its low reliability scores. RepairPal reports these three issues:

  • Toyota recall for lower ball joint issues — reported by 278 owners
  • Automatic transmission might not shift properly at high mileage — reported by 254 owners
  • Amber running/parking lights melted, cracked, or burned the lens directly in front of them — reported by 202 owners

Although Toyota issued a recall for the first problem, it covers only 2001 to 2004 models. Many older models also experience the same problem, and repairs cost owners $229 to $448.

Which midsize trucks outrank the Tacoma in reliability?

All midsize trucks outrank the Toyota Tacoma in reliability. These RepairPal rankings are for 2010 to 2019 models. The rankings from best to worst are as follows:

  • Nissan Frontier
  • GMC Canyon
  • Ford Ranger
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Dodge Dakota
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Toyota Tacoma

The Tacoma might be dead last, but the only midsize truck with lower annual maintenance costs is the Nissan Frontier, at $470 annually.

Is the 2023 Toyota Tacoma competitive in its class?

A light color 2023 Toyota Tacoma parked in front of a mountainside with a body of water in a more desert style area.
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

So far, we’ve talked about this Toyota midsize pickup truck from the previous decade. How does the latest Tacoma model fare? U.S. News also ranks the 2023 Toyota Tacoma dead last overall. Here are the rankings from best to worst:

  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Chevy Colorado
  • Hyundai Santa Cruz
  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Ford Maverick
  • Nissan Frontier
  • GMC Canyon
  • Ford Ranger
  • Toyota Tacoma

It’s hard to argue against two experts that have collected extensive data and reported vehicle rankings for many years. However, U.S. News also reports that the 2023 Tacoma earned a “great” 83 out of 100 in quality and reliability from J.D. Power. So, why is the 2023 Tacoma still dead last? U.S. News reviewers cite the truck’s underpowered base engine, cramped back row, and rough ride as significant drawbacks.

Is the 2023 Tacoma a good midsize truck?

This Toyota midsize truck is one of the most capable off-road pickups in its class, but its road manners leave much to be desired. The 2023 Tacoma boasts plenty of advanced safety and infotainment features, decent handling, and rugged styling. However, the V6 isn’t much better than the weak base engine, and the interior would benefit from updates.

Fortunately, the fully redesigned 2024 Tacoma ushers in a new generation with enticing improvements. A turbocharged four-cylinder offers varying outputs, the most potent a hybrid harnessing 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. The new model also boasts a modernized interior.