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The Ultimate Review of the 2022 Toyota Tacoma: The Finest Timeless Pickup Ever Crafted

Image Source: quiggyt4 / Shutterstock

For enthusiasts who crave off-road adventures, justifying the popularity of the 2022 Toyota Tacoma is a breeze, particularly in its rugged TRD iterations. The Tacoma stands tall as a favored mid-size truck, pitching itself against contenders like the Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, and Jeep Gladiator. While being the top-selling mid-size truck in the U.S., the Tacoma doesn’t claim superiority in any singular aspect. Instead, it shines as a versatile performer, with its true essence revealed in its off-road configurations, for those inclined towards off-roading. 2022 sees updates that emphasize what the Tacoma excels at: conquering off-road terrain. The TRD Pro now boasts a raised suspension for an even loftier stance, while the SR5’s Trail Edition package receives a modest suspension lift.

The Tacoma’s robust reputation is mirrored in its rugged truck-like aesthetics. Adhering to the conventional three-box pickup design, the 2022 Toyota Tacoma elevates itself with striking details. This truck flaunts muscular contours and intricate touches, especially in the TRD Pro variant.

Entry-level SR models exude readiness for work, whereas SR5 and above trim levels integrate color-coordinated accents and more sophisticated wheel designs. Moving up the ladder, TRD Pros push the boundaries further, both figuratively and literally, with an elevated suspension and bold styling enhancements highlighted by prominent badging.

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma can traverse virtually any terrain you desire, provided time isn’t of the essence. Although rear-wheel-drive variants are available across multiple trim levels, our experience with the base 4-cylinder engine has revealed its modest 159-hp output, indicating suitability primarily for urban environments. The prevalent 3.5-liter V-6 engine, found in almost every Tacoma from Toyota’s Texas assembly line, delivers 278 hp but falls short in drag strip prowess. This V-6 comes alive in higher rev ranges, demanding some exertion. While the common 6-speed automatic transmission hastens towards higher gears for efficiency, the rare 6-speed manual offers a more engaging experience, as long as daily commutes aren’t your concern.

Ride comfort in non-TRD variants leans towards the supple side, courtesy of the substantial tires that absorb minor road irregularities. Contrarily, TRD Pros exhibit a perplexingly firm on-road ride, yet effortlessly tackle substantial ruts off-road, thanks to their sophisticated shocks.

The Tacoma showcases commendable handling and responsive steering. It may not be a nimble corner-carver, but it maneuvers through winding roads better than some rivals. Highway stability is satisfactory, and the inclusion of standard adaptive cruise control is praiseworthy. Braking performance is decent, though pedal response could be more refined.

Off-road adventures are a forte for TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trims, functioning akin to mountain goats. Equipped with a standard locking rear differential, these trucks navigate tricky terrains effortlessly, supported by an array of traction control modes that make exploration almost effortless.

The Toyota Tacoma will undoubtedly forge a close bond with your local fuel station. Anticipate mid-20s fuel efficiency on highways and low-20s in urban environments. Models with rear-wheel drive and the 4-cylinder engine return 20 mpg city, 23 highway, 21 combined. Opting for four-wheel drive nudges these figures to 19/22/20 mpg as the 4-cylinder strains to propel the truck. V-6 variants, more popular among buyers, offer slightly better returns at 19/24/21 mpg with rear-wheel drive and 18/22/20 mpg in four-wheel drive setups, though manual gearbox-equipped models dip to 17/21/18 mpg. Modifications to this year’s TRD Pro may escalate its thirst due to the raised stance.

Crash safety assessments are long overdue for the Tacoma. Nevertheless, Toyota equips each Tacoma with standard automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control. Regrettably, its crash-test ratings don’t mirror the impressiveness of its safety features. The NHTSA gives it a modest four-star rating for frontal impact and rollover categories. Conversely, the IIHS is slightly more forgiving, although extended cab variations score a marginal grade in the challenging right-side small-overlap test. Additionally, the base halogen headlights are rated as marginal, with the optional LEDs faring better.

Internally, a myriad of switches and buttons adorn the Tacoma’s cabin, strategically positioned for ease of access. TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trims boast additional controls and dials for their off-road equipment, intriguingly mounted in the headliner of all places.

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma excels at cargo transportation over passenger accommodation. Toyota offers the latest Tacoma in extended and crew cab configurations, sporting 5- or 6-foot beds depending on the body and trim level. This diverse lineup includes a bed constructed from durable, dent-resistant, and corrosion-proof composite material.

Individuals under 6 feet tall will find the front space adequate, particularly with the optional sunroof, whereas taller individuals may wish to forego the sunroof due to limited headroom. Rear-seat passengers can manage short trips comfortably, albeit accommodating three across might prove challenging. While interior materials exhibit visual appeal, the tactile experience may not match, although assembly quality on tested trucks has been top-notch, with Toyota making commendable choices in introducing playful patterns and designs absent in competitors.

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma range spans from premium work-centric models to rugged exploration setups, offering decent value across various trims and retaining high resale worth. With features like standard automatic emergency braking and convenient smartphone integration technologies, it receives a commendable rating of 7 out of 10.

Choosing the ideal Tacoma model hinges on your purpose. It’s advisable to bypass the $26,650 base Tacoma SR 4-cylinder and opt for a V-6 variant instead. The base model suffices for daily driving or occupational tasks, equipped with standard safety tech and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; upgrading to the SR5 adds a power-adjustable driver’s seat and sleeker alloy wheels.

A Tacoma SR Access Cab with four-wheel drive and the V-6 priced around $32,000 might prompt spending an additional $2,500 for the SR5 model with enhanced aesthetics, power seat, and access to advanced features. It’s worth noting that both configurations are currently unavailable on Toyota’s configurator website, hinting at reduced model availability due to supply chain constraints.

Priced at $40,320 with a compulsory $800 Technology package, an enthusiast’s preference would likely gravitate towards a TRD Off-Road crew cab with the 6-speed manual; opting for an automatic would necessitate an additional investment, while caution is advised regarding the sunroof’s impact on headroom. The Limited trim, at approximately $43,000, lacks luxurious elements despite sporting a crew cab configuration preferred by many buyers. A fully loaded TRD Off-Road with the $5,100 Premium package culminates in a $44,620 price tag. All Tacoma models come with an average 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma holds its ground as capable as ever, blending unwavering reliability, commendable performance, and contemporary upgrades to remain a front runner in the mid-size truck segment. With a diverse selection encompassing varied dimensions, powertrain options, and features, the 2022 Toyota Tacoma caters to a wide spectrum of preferences.

Image Source: quiggyt4 / Shutterstock

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