Is the Toyota Tacoma the Top Mid-Sized Pickup in Canada?

February 08 2021

The Toyota Tacoma has been around for years and for many, has become the yardstick by which other pickups are measured, such has been its popularity. Reliable and holding its price well, there’s lots to recommend the Tacoma. 

However, in recent years it’s not always had everything its own way with the emergence of rival models from competitors. Chevrolet have produced the Colorado and GMC Canyon, so is the Toyota Tacoma still on top?

The Tacoma doesn’t aim to be flashy, or to offer luxurious comfort inside. Instead, it’s a vehicle that’s as genuinely comfortable off-road as on the road, and is practical rather than indulgent. 

Despite having facelifts, the Tacoma is still a classic and a vehicle that is instantly recognizable by the public. So even with a new front-end the Toyota still looks like the Tacoma it’s always been, and that seems to sit well with car-buyers. 

The driving position in the Tacoma is unusual compared to other pick-ups and for anyone new to the Toyota, it can take some getting used to. The floor is much higher than on other vehicles and there’s only minimal adjustments available to the seating. Although you’ll have to climb high to get into the Tacoma, once in the cabin you’ll find you’re sitting very low. The overall position is more like a racing car with low-slung seats and legs stretched out and there’s no question this takes some getting used to. 

The height of the floor has a practical purpose however, being related to the high level of ground clearance. After a short while most drivers grow accustomed to the splayed seating position and when you’re off-road you’ll appreciate the extra inches of clearance. 

That’s where the Tacoma really stands out from its rivals - off-road. Unlike SUVs, pick-ups are far more likely to see some off-road action and the Toyota excels when presented with rough terrain. The all-wheel drive keeps you moving while the modified suspension makes light work of any obstacles. 

Conversely, on the paved road it’s not such a smooth drive, with the pick-up performing efficiently without being outstanding. For those that buy pickups though, this may be less of an issue as other cars that perform marginally better on the road simply don’t have the same off-road capability. 

What’s great about the Tacoma is that there’s a wide choice of variants when you’re buying. This includes both the transmission and the engine, although the V6 is the preferred option here as the fuel consumption is similar. 

But even with all these outstanding features, does the Tacoma measure up to the Chevrolet Colorado?

For reliability, the Toyota Tacoma comes out on top, an important factor for anyone who needs a pick-up. The Toyota doesn’t just beat the Chevy, it scores right at the top of the category, scoring more than almost any other vehicle. 

The cargo bed in the Tacoma and the Colorado is almost identical, with the latter being just a couple of extra inches long. However, it’s also deeper so if you need the extra room, the Colorado could be the better option. 

Inside the cabin, both the Tacoma and the Colorado use top-quality, high-end materials combined with durable plastics. There’s not much to pick between them but overall the Tacoma has a more ergonomic layout. In addition, there’s more features included in the Tacoma as standard such as a GoPro camera mount and dual-zone climate control. 

Whatever you plan on using a pickup for, safety has to be key and once again, the Tacoma takes top spot. Although both score well in testing, the Tacoma outperforms the Chevy particularly on the standard trim. From 2018 onwards, every Toyota on the highway will be fitted with the Toyota Safety Sense package. This includes raft of features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and pedestrian detection.

When you consider all of the above features and the fact that it outperforms its closest rivals in all key areas, it’s perhaps not surprising that the Toyota Tacoma continues to be the best-loved pick-up in Canada.