The Toyota Tacoma Ranks Dead Last for Reliability Among Midsize Trucks

The Toyota Tacoma is the most popular midsize truck in America. That fact is indisputable, but other items aren’t quite as straightforward. Although this truck has more configurations and sells more often than others, we wonder about the Toyota Tacoma’s reliability scores. Let’s dig in and see why this Toyota midsize truck ranks dead last in this category.

What are the Toyota Tacoma reliability scores?

Toyota Tacoma Crossing a Desert with a Dirt Bike in the Back
Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

The Toyota Tacoma receives a reliability score of 3.5 out of 5.0 from RepairPal. This places the Tacoma seventh out of seven models for the midsize truck class. This ranking is based on three factors which are:

  • Cost – The Toyota Tacoma’s average annual repair and maintenance costs are $478 compared to $548 for midsize trucks.
  • Frequency – Tacoma owners bring 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 serious concern. This factor causes the Tacoma to hit the bottom of the rankings for reliability.

What are the three most common Tacoma problems?

The three most common Toyota Tacoma problems likely translate to its low-reliability scores. RepairPal tells us these three issues are:

  • Toyota recall for lower ball joint issues – reported by 278 owners
  • Automatic transmission may not shift correctly at high mileages – reported by 254 owners
  • Amber running/parking lights melted, cracked, and burned the lens directly in front of them – reported by 202 owners

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

Which midsize trucks outrank the Tacoma for reliability?

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Posed
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Posed | Toyota

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

  • 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?

2023 Toyota Tacoma Posed in an Off-Road Setting
2023 Toyota Tacoma Posed in an Off-Road Setting | Toyota

So far, we’ve talked about this Toyota midsize pickup truck from the previous decade. How does the current version of the Tacoma fare in its class? U.S. News & World Report also ranks the 2023 Toyota Tacoma dead last overall. Here are the rankings from first to last:

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

It’s pretty hard to argue against two organizations that have collected data and reported vehicle reliability and quality rankings for many years.

Is the 2023 Tacoma a good midsize truck?

This Toyota midsize pickup truck is one of the most capable off-road pickups in its class, but its on-road manners leave a lot to be desired. You’ll find plenty of active safety and infotainment features, decent handling, and rugged styling in the Tacoma. That said, the base engine is weak, and the V6 isn’t much better. The Tacoma is due for a generational change, which we expect to see in the 2024 model.


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