For drivers looking for pure practicality, a work truck is probably the best bet for them. There are a lot of work trucks to choose from, and almost every automaker has one on the market. But the Toyota Tacoma, despite being one of the best selling pickup trucks in the U.S., is actually a worse work truck than even the Honda Ridgeline. Here’s why.
All style, no substance
MotorTrend praised the looks of the Tacoma, saying that it was very stylish both inside and out. However, that was practically the only good thing that MotorTrend had to say about the Tacoma. For reference, in MotorTrend’s testing of the truck, MotorTrend drove a Tacoma TRD Off-Road with a 278-hp V6 engine. The Ridgeline that MotorTrend drove was the Black Edition trim which had a 280-hp V6 engine.
In terms of its interior comfort, MotorTrend blasted the Tacoma, especially compared to the Ridgeline. Not only were the seats uncomfortable themselves, but there wasn’t a lot of room for a person to sit in them. One of the shortest test-drivers that MotorTrend had available, who was 5 feet 9 inches tall, was uncomfortable in the Tacoma’s driver’s seat. The rear-seats were even more cramped, according to MotorTrend.
The Ridgeline, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. The Ridgeline’s seats were large and comfortable, and its interior was decked out with creature comforts. The rear-seats were also practical too, as they could be folded down and provide even more storage space.
Underpowered and underperforming
Furthermore, despite having relatively similar engines, the two trucks are very different in terms of ride quality and performance. The transmission and suspension system of the Tacoma was simply disappointing, according to MotorTrend. The trim that MotorTrend used was an off-roading trim, but the ride comfort it gave was still horrible. In comparison, the ride comfort of the Ridgeline was described by MotorTrend as “car-like.”
Furthermore, the brakes of the Tacoma were very stiff, according to MotorTrend. This fact, combined with its cramped interior and the stiff suspension system, gave the test drivers of the Tacoma a very uncomfortable ride.
On top of that, the truck beds are quite different between these two trucks. Despite the fact that both truck beds were the same length, the Ridgeline had a wider truck bed than the Tacoma did. The Ridgeline also has a tailgate that can swing out like a door, and this makes it very easy for drivers to load stuff onto the Ridgeline. The Tacoma, on the other hand, has a very basic tailgate.
The test drive
MotorTrend’s big test was to have each truck haul bales of hay from one location to another, and this test really showed how terrible of a work truck the Tacoma is, especially compared to the Ridgeline. Loading the trucks with the hay bales was the first step, and the larger truck bed and the more convenient tailgate of the Ridgeline allowed MotorTrend to easily load it up with hay.
The Tacoma on the other hand, due to its more narrow truck bed, had more issues with this task. MotorTrend had to force the hay onto the truck bed of the Tacoma due to its size limitations. And of course, when it came to actually moving those bales of hay to their destination, the ride quality of the Tacoma was still notably worse than the ride quality of the Ridgeline.
Unsurprisingly, in MotorTrend’s conclusion, the Tacoma was the worst work truck that MotorTrend had tested. The Ridgeline wasn’t even the best work truck tested, but it was still miles ahead of the Tacoma.