2018 Toyota Tacoma: Release date, prices, specs, and features

Toyota's 2018 Tacoma continues to reign over midsize pickups

As trucks and SUVs continue their onslaught over cars in the U.S. market, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup carries the flag as the best-selling midsize truck and the fifth best-selling truck overall. The Tacoma is outsold in the U.S. only by, in order of 2016 sales position, Ford’s F-150, Chevy’s Silverado, the RAM 1500, and GMC Sierra — all much larger and more expensive full-size trucks. Toyota’s own Tundra full-size truck falls just behind the Tacoma in sales numbers, but the margin is wide. In 2016 Toyota moved 191,631 Tacomas and 114,489 Tundras. The relative sales numbers for all of the trucks above is unchanged so far for 2017.

The Tacoma’s lead over the next best-selling midsize pickup, the Chevrolet Colorado, is also substantial. The Colorado sold 108,725 units in 2016. The Tacoma and Colorado are both doing well in 2017, maintaining their relative positions. That’s more than can be said for other midsize pickups like the Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline. All three have seen sales slide this year, according to CarSalesBase.com.

The midsize pickup market will have three new players in the next year or two. Ford is bringing back the Ranger in 2019, the Nissan Frontier is getting an upgrade soon, and the Jeep Wrangler pickup is also expected in 2019.

What’s new

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma has only minor trim changes from 2017. There are still six trim levels, three of which are TRD (Toyota Racing Development) versions, ranging from the sporty-looking TRD Sport to the full-on TRD Pro, which begs to crawl mountains and race in the desert.

In addition to trim levels, Tacomas come with two cab choices, two truck bed lengths, two engines, two transmissions, and two drive wheel configurations. You don’t make each selection independently, however, because the trim choices limit availability. For example, the luxury-leaning Limited and TRD Pro only come with double cabs and V6 engines. The TRD Pro is restricted to the standard bed length and four-wheel drive — you just have to choose between a standard and automatic transmission. If it seems like a lot, fret not; we have all the available combinations listed in a table below.

Engines and transmissions

The smaller of the Tacoma’s two engines is available only with the base SR and SR5 trims. The 2.7-liter DOHC four-cylinder makes 159 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3,800 rpm. The 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine is standard on the Limited and all three TRD trims and optional with the SR and SR5. The V6 engine is rated at 278 hp at 6,000 rpm and 265 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm.

The EPA ratings for both engines are similar. In a two-wheel drive Tacoma with an automatic transmission, the four-cylinder returns 19 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg in combined driving. With the same configuration, the V6 engine is EPA rated for 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.

Tech features

The Tacoma, like most Toyota models, has a Toyota Safety Sense suite — the TSS-P version. TSS-P includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with sway warning, automatic high beams, and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control.

The Limited and TRD Pro trims also include rear parking assist sonar and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. Both features are available on TRD Sport and Off-Road trims in a package. Rear parking assistance is also available as an option for SR5 models.

All Tacoma trims have the Star Safety System as standard equipment. This grouping includes vehicle stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, emergency braking assistance, smart stop technology, tire pressure monitoring, and, for Tacomas with automatic transmissions, hill start assist.

Cab choices and box lengths

As mentioned above, cab style and box length are dictated by Tacoma trim level and choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The table below shows the available combinations.

2-wheel drive

Access Cab Double Cab
Standard Box 

(5-feet 0.5-inches)

SR 4-cyl, SR5 4-cyl,  SR5 V6, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road
Long Box 

(6-feet 1.7-inches)

SR 4-cyl,  SR5 4-cyl, SR5 V6,  TRD Sport, SR5 V6, TRD Sport, Limited

4-wheel drive

Access Cab Double Cab
Standard  Box 

(5-feet 0.5-inches)

TRD Off-Road SR V6, SR5 V6, TRD Sport, TRD Sport V6 with manual transmission, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road V6 with manual transmission,  TRD Pro, TRD Pro 6M
Long Box 

(6-feet 1.7-inches)

SR 4-cyl, SR5 4-cyl, SR5 V6, TRD Sport, TRD Sport V6 with manual transmission SR5 V6, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited

Which 2018 Toyota Tacoma is best for you?

Choosing a truck may seem daunting with six trim levels and multiple engine, drive wheel, cab, and box choices, but you’re most likely going to select from one of two groups. The SR, SR5, and Limited trims are common choices for basic work and family trucks. The 4×4 versions do well off-road, but if you intend to spend much time away from pavement, chances are you’ll lean toward one of the TRD trims. We’ve grouped the new Tacomas in the same manner, with major trim differentiations below.

2018 Toyota Tacoma work and family trucks: SR, SR5, Limited

The “less-sporty” Tacoma group includes the basic SR, the SR5 with the popular upgrade features, and the Limited, which is the most loaded with comfort, convenience, and luxury features. The starting price ranges from $25,300 for a Tacoma SR to a Limited model starting at $37,410. There’s a lot of difference in price and standard features within this group.

The 2018 Tacoma SR, with a starting price of $25,200 in 4×2 form and $28,275 for a 4×4 model, is the basic midsize truck. As mentioned above, however, the standard safety and technology feature set for all Tacomas shows that even this model delivers a great deal of value. The Tacoma SR has an integrated backup camera, an Entune AM/FM/CD audio system with a 6.1-inch display and six speakers, and fabric seats.

The SR is available with both cab styles and box sizes. It comes standard with the four-cylinder engine but can be upgraded with the V6. Be careful with upgrades added to this model, however. If you find you’re adding a ton of “must-have” items, you probably will save money with one of the other trims.

The 2018 Tacoma SR5, with a starting price of $26,975 for the 4×2 and $30,050 for a 4×4, adds common SR upgrades as standard. The SR5 includes keyless entry with an engine immobilizer, a 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display, and Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus system with Connected Navigation App, which means you can connect your smartphone navigation system to run through the truck display and speakers.

The 2018 Tacoma Limited, starting at $37,140 for a 4×2 version and $40,215 with four-wheel drive, sports a full list of upgrades. The Limited feature list includes front dual-zone automatic climate control and the higher spec Entune Premium JBL audio system with a 7.1-inch display. Six JBL speakers and a subwoofer come along for the ride too, alongside integrated navigation and an app suite.

The Limited trim also has a standard power tilt/slide moonroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power sliding rear window, wireless charging, and leather seats.

Trim 2018 Tacoma SR 2018 Tacoma SR5 2018 Tacoma Limited
Base price 4×2 $25,200 $26,975 $37,140
Base price 4×4 $28,275 $30,050 $40,215
Base engine 2.7-Liter DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder 2.7-Liter DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder 3.5-Liter DOHC V6 Atkinson-cycle
Base horsepower 159 hp @ 5,200 RPM 159 hp @ 5,200 RPM 278 hp @ 6,000 RPM
Base torque 180 lb.-ft. @ 3,800 RPM 180 lb.-ft. @ 3,800 RPM 265 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 RPM
Transmission 6-speed automatic 4×2, 6-speed manual or automatic 4×4 6-speed automatic 4×2, 6-speed manual or automatic 4×4 6-speed automatic
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity  21.1 gallons 21.1 gallons 21.1 gallons
Fuel economy 4×2 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway/21 mpg combined, manual 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway/21 combined, manual 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
Fuel economy 4×4 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway/18 combined, manual 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway/18 combined, manual 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway/20 mpg combined
Maximum towing weight 4×2 6,800 pounds 6,800 pounds 6,800 pounds
Maximum towing weight 4×4 6,700 pounds 6,700 pounds 6,700 pounds
Base wheels 16-inch steel 16-inch steel 18-inch alloy wheels
Cab styles Access or double cab Access or double cab Access or double cab
Box lengths Standard, long Standard, long Standard

2018 Toyota Tacoma sport trucks: TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro

The main question to answer when choosing from the Tacoma TRD trims is, “How serious am I going to get with off-road driving?” The TRD sport, starting at $31,895, has a sport-tuned suspension but doesn’t include other heavy-duty off-road equipment. The TRD Off-Road ($33,150) and TRD Pro ($41,520) each bulk up with off-road features.

The 2018 Tacoma TRD Sport’s standard feature set includes Entune Premium Audio with an integrated navigation system and app suite, a smart key system with push-button start, and LED daytime running lights. The Sport also comes with a deck rail system with tie-down cleats, deck tie-down points, a deck-mounted AC power outlet, 17-inch alloy wheels, fabric seats, and the sport-tuned suspension.

If you want to go faster on even rougher roads and crawl over bigger rocks, move up to the 2018 Tacoma TRD Off-Road. The TRD Off-Road has a multi-terrain mode selection and a crawl control feature to assist with acceleration and braking over tougher surfaces, as well as an electronically-controlled locking rear differential. The TRD Off-Road trim’s sport-tuned suspension has upgraded Bilstein shocks.

The top-of-the-line for off-road fun is the TRD Pro, starting at $41,520 with a double cab. The TRD Pro has 16-inch black alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, TRD-tuned high-performance FOX 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shocks, Rigid Industries LED fog lights, a TRD Pro skid plate, and TRD Pro cat-back exhaust.

The TRD Pro trim has dual-zone automatic temperature control, leather seats with heated front seats, rear parking assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts, active traction control, and a clutch start-cancel switch.

Trim 2018 Tacoma TRD Sport 2018 Tacoma TRD Off-Road 2018 Tacoma TRD Pro
Base price 4×2 $31,895 $33,150 Not available
Base price 4×4 $35,180 $35,180 $41,520
Base engine 3.5-Liter DOHC V6 Atkinson-cycle 3.5-Liter DOHC V6 Atkinson-cycle 3.5-Liter DOHC V6 Atkinson-cycle
Base horsepower 278 hp @ 6,000 RPM 278 hp @ 6,000 RPM 278 hp @ 6,000 RPM
Base torque 265 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 RPM 265 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 RPM 265 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 RPM
Transmission 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity (gallons) 21.1 gallons 21.1 gallons 21.1 gallons
Fuel economy 4×2 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined 17 mpg city/20 mpg highway, manual N/A
Fuel economy 4×4 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway/20 mpg combined 17 mpg city/20 mpg highway manual, 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway, automatic 17 mpg city/20 mpg highway manual, 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway, automatic
Maximum towing weight 4×2 6,800 pounds 6,500 pounds N/A
Maximum towing weight 4×2 6,700 pounds 6,400 pounds 6,400 pounds
Base wheels 17-inch alloy 16-inch alloy 16-inch black alloy
Cab styles Access or double cab Double cab only Double cab only
Box lengths Standard, long Standard, long Standard
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