Earlier this year my boss Tim Stevens reviewed the 2018 Toyota Tacoma Tiara Sport Over the course of his time with it, he did some honest to goodness truck stuff with it.
He hauled with it and he took it off the beaten path.
Now here I am with a 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport.
I, however, am not an ice racer who lives in the forest.
I am but a humble semi suburbanite surrounded by trucks with perennially empty beds that seem to serve more as lifestyle enhancers than actual utility vehicles So that how I set out to reveal this truck.
After all you will change your perspective doesn't hurt or does it?
Now if you are buying a truck as a lifestyle vehicle looks matters and the [UNKNOWN] Tacoma brings a lot to the table on that regard.
The fenders are nice and bulky, the front-end sits nice and high and the on-road friendly tires that come with the TRD sport trim are still suitably meaty.
I'm a really big fan of how the Tacoma looks especially in my tester's trim, which rocks a crew cab and a five foot bed.
That said, a six foot bed is available if you need to haul just a bit more.
Now even though I'm role-playing as a lifestyle truck owner here, numbers are still important.
To that end, this spec of Tacoma will haul 1,175 pounds in the bed, and it'll tow another 6,400 behind.
Those are pretty good numbers, even though they're towards the bottom of the midsize truck spectrum, it is still plenty capable.
Now, the exterior might be intriguing by truck standards but I can't really say the same for the interior which is basically just an endless void of durable but unmemorable black plastic.
Now these leather trimmed seats, part of a $2,890 premium package are plenty supportive.
And you do get a lot of cargo space for both humans and real cargo in the second row, but there is a problem with the Tacoma that nice seats can't solve.
That problem is the driving.
In position and I am not the only member of the Roadshow staff who has this opinion.
The steering wheel telescopes like a whole quarter of an inch, so like, I could never get my arms and legs comfortable simultaneously.
I'm either too close or too far away.
And even though the steering wheel tilts, it really doesn't tilt all that much either, so I just kinda end up feeling like a bus driver every time I get in The rest of the driving experience, it's not much better.
While I do enjoy the note that comes from the Tacoma's three and a half liter V6 as it pushes out all of its 278 horsepower and 265 pound feet of torque, that note is about all l like.
The six speed automatic transmission feels like a relic from the 1990s.
It's clanking its way between gears and taking entirely too long to call up lower gears when I need to accelerate.
While the TRD Sport is the most unroad-friendly TRD trim the Tacoma offers, it's Still, not all out welcoming.
When it comes to noise, vibration, and harshness Toyota did as a favor and they included all three.
The tires talk like agitated middle schoolers their drive line does this weird little shimmy thing every time I tried to come to a stop.
And Metro Detroit if best suburban roads do their best to translate every single, feeling directly into the cabin.
In terms of fuel economy the situation isn't a whole lot better.
While I had no problem meeting the EPA's estimated 18 mpg city and 22 highway for the Tacoma.
It is towards the bottom end of its segment.
I mean heck I was able to get the exact same numbers if not better out of a full size 2019 GMC Sierra with a 6.2 litre V8.
For as old as the underlying bits are in the Tacoma the tech is surprisingly next to none in the segment.
For starters, Toyota safety sense comes standard on every Tacoma.
And that suite includes things like auto-break, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane departure For an extra $800 you can also get blind spot monitoring and rear parking sensors both of which are very nice, but I do kind of wish the parking sensors also extended to the front.
On the infotainment front line tester packs a seven inch in tune touch screen infotainment system that is sadly devoid of Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
And does a navigationist part of a 298 dollars premium package as is a JBL branded audio system.
Now to top it off there's also a cheese style wireless charger down here in the front tray, and I am a huge fan of it.
Because it comes with a switch that lets me turn it off so I can store a bunch of other stuff there if I'm not charging my phone.
That's the kind of flexibility I like.
Now if you were buying the Tacoma TRD Sport as a lifestyle vehicle, I am going to go ahead and assume that lifestyle is BDSM.
I did not find it particularly good to drive on the street and while I truly appreciated the tech, the package as a whole just didn't really feel like something I would enjoy driving day in In and day out.
With an as tested price of $41,200 you could easily swap this thing out for the loaded RAV4 of your dreams.
If you don't have to put gravel in the bed or tow a boat, the RAV4's capability will suit you just fine, and it won't drive like it has a vendetta against your family.
But if you really wanna live the truck life to the fullest, the Tacoma's got rock-solid reliability.
And the capability to do anything you need.