Just because the small/midsize pickup truck market is shrinking doesn't mean that they don't need to be refreshed. So for 2012, the class-leading Toyota Tacoma gets touched-up with an eye for the tougher side.
Outside, the 2012 Toyota Tacoma receives a new front grille, hood, headlamps, and bumpers. The overall appearance is a more aggressive look than has been seen from Toyota trucks in the past. The rest of the exterior pretty much carries over for the previous year, so it will be tough to distinguish 2012 and 2011 models from behind.
Inside, the 2012 Toyota Tacoma loses some of the bits that it looked like were sourced from the Camry. The new steering wheel still has integrated radio and phone controls, but this one is in a more rugged "T" pattern. There's an improved audio system that now has Toyota's Entune media integration system as an option. This is housed in an improved center stack that has traded matte silver for piano black. There is also a higher resolution display for the optional rear camera that has grown to 3.3-inches (up from 2.4-inches). These may only be minor upgrades, but they help the 2012 Tacoma look better prepared to get down to business.
The powertrain lineup for the 2012 Toyota Tacoma is a direct carryover from 2011. There are two engines available, a 2.7-liter DOHC four-cylinder that produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft. of torque, and a 4.0-liter DOHC V-6 that provides 236 horsepower with 266 lb-ft. of torque. With no significant motor or weight change, the fuel economy is still expected to continue at 21/25 mpg city/highway for the base four-cylinder, and 14/18 mpg for the heaviest six-cylinder configuration. Both engines can be mated to two and four-wheel drive configurations.
Toyota refers to the Tacoma is a "compact" truck, but that is not this pickup's whole story. The 2012 Toyota Tacomacan range in length from a 190.4-inch regular cab to a 221.3-inch double cab with the long bed option. This straddles the dimensions of the original midsize pickup, the outgoing Ram Dakota, which means the Toyota can be classified as both a small and midsize pickup.
This is just a mild refresh to America's best-selling small/midsize pickup. Those who want radical changes to the Tacoma will have to wait at least a few more years for an all-new truck.