Drivers who prefer a midsize pickup truck should take a strong look at the new 2021 Toyota Tacoma. It’s tough, dependable, and packs more technology than ever before. Adventurous styling makes this truck even more appealing to outdoor lovers. Is the new Tacoma better than the competition?
What’s New for 2021?
The biggest change for 2021 is the introduction of a new Trail Edition model, which receives special interior and exterior treatments. With only 7,000 of these models being produced, they’ll likely be harder to find. For 2021, models equipped with a V6 engine receive dual-zone automatic climate control as standard equipment.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Toyota Tacoma – The Pros
1. Built to Last
Over the years, the Tacoma has been recognized for its superior long-term reliability. No other truck in the segment has a higher dependability rating. Owners rarely report any major mechanical failures. As long as the truck is serviced at the recommended intervals, drivers are unlikely to encounter many unexpected repairs. Because of the Tacoma’s bulletproof design, it tends to have an extremely high resale value. This means owners can look forward to getting a great return on their investment.
2. Highly Recommended V6 Engine
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma offers a standard four-cylinder engine. However, buyers who have some extra money to spend should upgrade to the V6 engine. It generates a brawny 278 horsepower. When behind the wheel of the V6-powered Tacoma, drivers will enjoy much stronger acceleration. A higher tow rating of 6,800 pounds also enables the truck to handle a bigger load. Unlike the base engine, the V6 engine can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
3. Much-Improved Comfort
In the past, the Toyota Tacoma was often criticized for its awkward driving position. Toyota has solved this problem by offering the truck with a new 10-way power driver’s seat. Even tall drivers can now enjoy greater comfort on their daily commute. Some other nice amenities are available as well. While ventilated seats are not offered, passengers will enjoy the warmth of the heated front seats on cold days. Higher trim levels also receive dual-zone automatic climate control.
4. Very Capable Off-Road Models
When venturing off the beaten path, few trucks can keep up with the 2021 Toyota Tacoma. It’s built for adventurous lifestyles. While every trim level offers a 4WD system, the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models are especially rugged. A front skid plate and an electronic locking rear differential are featured on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road. Toyota’s Crawl Control technology also helps drivers to safely topple rough terrain. Meanwhile, exclusive FOX racing shocks and extra undercarriage protection further aid the TRD Pro model’s ability to tackle challenging trails.
5. TRD Sport Model Better for the Street
Not everyone will be taking their truck off-road. Drivers who prefer a fun truck to drive on the pavement should check out the new Tacoma TRD Sport. It comes equipped with a sports-tuned suspension, which helps improve handling around curves. Street tires further enhance the Tacoma TRD Sport’s performance on the road. Many drivers also like this truck’s sporty exterior styling. A vented hood helps give it a more aggressive look.
6. Several Stylish Options
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma won’t be easily mistaken for its competitors. Unique front-end styling helps to really set it apart. Available smoked headlight and taillight housings give the Tacoma a custom appearance. Toyota also offers the Tacoma with some vivid paint colors, including Voodoo Blue and Barcelona Red Metallic. A new Nightshade special Edition arrives for 2021, which features blacked-out exterior trim and exclusive alloy wheels. Expect the Tacoma Trail Edition to attract just as much attention.
7. Standard Entune Infotainment System
Even buyers who decide to stick to the base Tacoma will receive Toyota’s Entune™ infotainment system. Unlike some of today’s other interfaces, Entune isn’t a complicated system to use. Well-placed controls and knobs ensure easy operation for everyone. A 7.0-inch touchscreen comes standard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enable drivers to plug in their phone, thus giving them quick access to mobile apps. Meanwhile, Amazon Alexa allows users to check the weather and play music by making verbal commands.
8. Standard Safety Systems
All versions of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma come standard with a collection of active safety features dubbed Toyota Safety Sense P. When a vehicle or pedestrian is detected in the truck’s path, the Pre-Collision system can automatically apply pressure to the brakes. After setting a preset speed, Dynamic-Radar Cruise Control ensures that the Tacoma maintains a safe following distance. Lane-Departure warning and automatic high beams are also included in Toyota Safety Sense P.
9. Panoramic View Monitor Enhances Visibility
A traditional backup camera comes standard on the Tacoma. However, Toyota offers an optional Panoramic View Monitor. It features a total of four cameras, which enable the driver to obtain a 360-degree view at the touch of a button. When maneuvering the truck in crowded parking areas, drivers will be able to clearly see from all sides. This upgraded camera system also helps adventure seekers to dodge off-road obstacles.
10. JBL Sound System Satisfies Music Fans
Many music fans will be interested in the Tacoma’s upgraded JBL audio system. It comes equipped with a 440-watt amplifier, which feeds power to a total of six premium speakers. Look forward to enjoying an especially clean and powerful sound. A subwoofer helps promote a stronger bass response.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Toyota Tacoma – The Cons
1. Base Engine Does Not Have a Strong Kick
The Tacoma’s base four-cylinder engine may not have enough muscle for some truck enthusiasts. Acceleration will be slower than average. It’s rated to develop 159 horsepower. By comparison, the Chevrolet Colorado’s base four-cylinder engine produces a more formidable 200 horsepower. Drivers will notice a difference in performance when accelerating and towing a load. While upgrading to the Tacoma’s V6 engine will remedy this problem, buyers must shell out more money.
2. Less Spacious Than Some Rivals
Toyota offers crew cab versions of the Tacoma. Although the truck’s four full-size doors are convenient, some families will still need more space to unwind. There’s only a limited amount of room in the Tacoma’s rear seat, thus causing some people to feel cramped. Tall families will be more at home in the full-size Toyota Tundra.
3. Range-Topping Trims Can Be a Bit Pricey
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a quality pickup truck. Nevertheless, its higher trim levels are a bit on the expensive side. Prices for the new Tacoma Nightshade Edition start at more than $41,000. Meanwhile, Toyota lists the extremely rugged TRD Pro model at more than $45,000. Drivers who are on a tighter budget will need to settle for a lower trim level.
4. Fuel Economy Could Be Better
Some of today’s other midsize pickup trucks offer better overall fuel economy. Even when equipped with its smaller four-cylinder engine, the Tacoma only returns 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway. On the other hand, the diesel-powered Chevrolet Colorado can deliver up to 30 mpg.
5. May Need a More Capable Towing and Hauling Machine
A 6,800-pound maximum tow rating allows the Tacoma to handle most tasks. However, some drivers will ultimately need a more capable workhorse. The truck’s bed is also a bit too small for some jobs.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
2021 Toyota Tacoma vs 2021 Chevrolet Colorado
The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado is one of the Tacoma’s toughest competitors. Testers give the Colorado top marks for its impressive driving dynamics and excellent towing capabilities. Chevrolet also offers some extremely rugged Colorado trims. While the Colorado is a fine pick, Toyota’s reputation for developing reliable automobiles gives the Tacoma a slight edge in long-term dependability. More safety technologies also come standard on the new Tacoma.
2021 Toyota Tacoma vs 2021 Toyota Tundra
The full-size Tundra holds some advantages over the smaller Tacoma. There’s a big difference in passenger room. Families will love the Tundra’s spacious accommodations. A standard V8 engine also enables the Tundra to tow heavier loads. However, better fuel economy makes the Tacoma a more efficient daily-driver. More affordable pricing gives truck shoppers more reason to choose the Tacoma.
2021 Ford Ranger
A much stronger engine comes standard on the 2021 Ford Ranger. This pickup truck also has a higher towing capacity. While the Ranger offers an off-road package, it’s still not quite as rugged as the trail-ready Tacoma. Furthermore, only the Tacoma is available with a manual transmission.
Drivers who desire a reliable pickup truck with superior off-road capabilities will love the new 2021 Toyota Tacoma. Popular features, like Toyota’s Entune touchscreen and automatic emergency braking, come standard. Although the Tacoma’s 10-way power driver’s seat doesn’t come standard, it’s definitely a worthy upgrade. One of the truck’s biggest weaknesses is its lack of rear passenger room.
• Why buy a 2020 Toyota Tacoma? w/ pros vs cons