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Toyota’s 2019 Tacoma:
You build yours, we build ours

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Toyota’s 2019 Tacoma:
You build yours, we build ours

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma is the latest version of a long-respected lineup of trucks, one that continues to dominate the mid-size pickup segment.  The version I recently drove was pretty darn tricked out; options included a Desert Air Intake that protruded from the hood and looked more like a periscope. And it seemed to capture the attention of every male driver under thirty years of age. It also came with an MSRP price tag of $48,480.

But underneath all the glossy sheet metal and eye-catching paint and graphics is one tough truck that has credibly earned its place as a highly reliable, extremely durable machine. And since it is proven tough, reliable and durable, a Tacoma will hold its value.

I own a second-gen Tacoma, a 2006 Access Cab 2WD SR5 PreRunner.  It’s got 134,000 miles on it…and I expect it to last 400,000 miles.  It’s a basic pickup truck, without a lot of the technology that most new trucks feature.  But, after driving it for five years, I’ve come to realize it’s all the truck I really need.  And that’s what I’d be looking for in a new Tacoma.

The 2019 Tacoma is a third-generation truck and shares a lot with the second generation. Today, only Access Cab and Double Cab trims are available, as the Single Cab is no longer offered.  And the 236 hp, 4.0 liter V6 engine in the second generation has replaced by a 278 hp, 3.5 liter V6. Toyota kept the same 159 hp, 2.7 liter 4-cylinder engine as the base engine, while the older five-speed transmission was upgraded to a six-speed.

The base Tacoma SR has an MSRP of $25,850.  That gets you an Access Cab truck with the 2.7 liter engine.  A nice feature of the less expensive Access Cab is that a 6’ long bed comes standard and gives you great hauling capability.  And unless you’re always driving extra people around, the Access Cab has room for an occasional two in the backseat, and can save you both money and weight.  

So, let’s start building my new Tacoma, using my ‘06 Tacoma as a template.  I’ll opt for the SR5 option, which adds $1,775 to the base MSRP. The SR5 option gives me a nicer Entune infotainment system, along with keyless entry.  And, of course, we’ll opt for the V6 engine, which adds another $3,145 and drops fuel economy one mpg. There’s little reason to add 4WD, since the Tacoma is awfully capable in 2WD mode.  (Sticking with 2WD can save you almost $3,500 on the sticker price.) Adding a folding (and removable) tonneau cover is another $650 and will help the Tacoma’s highway mileage, as well as provide security for stuff stored in the bed.  

All of the above brings my Tacoma build to an MSRP of $31,420, less any delivery and handling fees that the dealership may tack on – or discounts they may take off!. Toyota offers Tacomas featuring more expensive trims, with extras like leather seats, beefier suspension and technology that can push the sticker to just south of $50,000.  Have fun building your own, because you can’t go wrong with whatever Tacoma you choose to buy or lease.

Steve Kursar

Steve is a veteran automotive journalist and former head of Ford Public Relations in its South Central region. He’s a native New Yorker who fell in love with a Texan (and Texas) over 20 years ago. Steve’s been living here happily ever since. His current automotive ‘want’ is an early 3-Series convertible, while his daily driver is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma.

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