For off-road enthusiasts, the 2022 Toyota Tacoma’s popularity is easy to justify, especially in off-roady TRD forms. The Tacoma is a popular mid-size pickup truck, and it squares off against the Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, and Jeep Gladiator. The Tacoma may be the top-selling mid-size truck in the U.S., but that doesn’t make it the best at anything. Instead, it’s a solid all-rounder, best appreciated in one of its off-road forms, if you plan to take it off-road, that is. Changes for 2022 center around what Tacoma does best: go off-road. The TRD Pro sits up even higher on a newly lifted suspension, while the SR5’s Trail Edition package also gains a small suspension lift.
The Tacoma’s durable reputation is matched by its tough-truck styling. It may follow the standard three-box style of a pickup, but the difference is in the details when it comes to the 2022 Toyota Tacoma. This truck has muscular lines and nifty details, especially in TRD Pro form.
Base SR trucks look ready for work, while SR5 and higher versions dial in color-matched details and swankier wheel designs. TRD Pros go much further, both figuratively and literally, thanks to a high-riding suspension and brash styling updates highlighted by massive badging.
The 2022 Toyota Tacoma will take you just about anywhere you might want to go as long as you’re not in a hurry. Of course, though there are rear-wheel-drive versions of several trim levels. We have limited seat time with the base 4-cylinder, but its 159-hp rating tells enough of its story. Consider one for in-town use only. The 3.5-liter V-6 fitted to nearly every Tacoma to roll out of the automaker’s Texas assembly plant is rated at 278 hp, but it’s no quarter-mile champ. This V-6 makes most of its power at higher revs, meaning it needs to be worked hard. The more common 6-speed automatic transmission is overly eager to shift into high gears to save fuel, making the rare 6-speed manual a desirable choice as long as you’re not commuting.
Ride quality in non-TRD versions is relatively supple, thanks largely to the big tires that soak up small imperfections. TRD Pros ride curiously firmly on road, though their fancy shocks swallow big ruts with ease off-road.
The Tacoma boasts decent handling and well-weighted steering. It’s no corner carver, but it will hustle down a winding road better than some of its competitors. Highway stability is decent, too, and standard adaptive cruise control is laudable. Braking is good, but pedal feel could be better.
Off-road, TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trucks are veritable mountain goats. A standard locking rear differential helps them escape tricky situations with ease, and a host of four-wheeling traction control modes make exploration almost too easy.
The Toyota Tacoma will put you on a first-name basis with your local gas station. At best, expect mid-20s on the highway and low-20s around town. Rear-drive, 4-cylinder Tacomas check in at 20 mpg city, 23 highway, 21 combined. Adding four-wheel drive slides those figures to 19/22/20 mpg since the 4-cylinder has to work so hard to keep this truck moving. More popular V-6 models are a little better overall at 19/24/21 mpg with rear-drive and 18/22/20 mpg in four-wheel-drive configurations, though the manual gearbox slides to just 17/21/18 mpg. Tweaks to this year’s TRD Pro may make it even thirstier since it sits up higher.
The Tacoma’s overdue for crash tests. Toyota outfits every Tacoma with standard automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control. If only its crash-test ratings were as impressive as its feature set. The NHTSA’s rating is dinged by just four stars for its frontal impact and rollover scores. The IIHS is a little kinder, though extended cab versions of the truck score just a “Marginal” grade in the challenging right-side small-overlap test. Additionally, the base halogen headlights are rated “Marginal,” though the optional LEDs score better.
Inside, these trucks have a wall of switches and buttons to sort through, though they seem mostly where we’d want them anyway. TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trucks have even more buttons and knobs for their off-road kit mounted in, of all places, the headliner.
The 2022 Toyota Tacoma is better at hauling gear than it is passengers. Toyota offers the latest Tacoma in extended- and crew-cab configurations, with either 5- or 6-foot beds depending on the body and trim. That’s a pretty extensive lineup, and the bed itself is made from dent-resistant and rust-proof composite.
Anyone under 6 feet tall will find adequate space up front with the optional sunroof, but anyone taller than that will want to remove the sunroof since the Tacoma is light on head room. Rear-seat riders will be fine for around-town jaunts, but three across is basically out of the question. Interior materials look better than they feel, though assembly quality on trucks we’ve tested has been top notch and we offer kudos to Toyota for choosing playful patterns and designs not seen on rivals.
The 2022 Toyota Tacoma lineup stretches from surprisingly plush work trucks to serious exploration rigs. Toyota’s mid-size pickup is a decent value in most trims, especially considering its sterling resale value. On account of its standard fare including automatic emergency braking as well as convenient smartphone projection tech, we rate it at 7 out of 10.
Which Tacoma to buy all depends on how you plan to use your Tacoma. Skip the $26,650 base Tacoma SR 4-cylinder and plan on a V-6 model. The base truck is outfitted fine for daily driver or work duty, and it comes with standard active safety tech as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, though the SR5 adds a convenient power-adjustable driver’s seat and its alloy wheels are a little dressier.
A Tacoma SR Access Cab with four-wheel drive and the V-6 is about $32,000; at that point, we might spend the extra $2,500 or so for the SR5’s flashier looks, and power seat, plus it’s the gateway to fancier options. A note: neither configuration currently exists on Toyota’s configurator website, suggesting lean supplies have cut into the number of models they can offer.
At $40,320 with a mandatory $800 Technology package, a TRD Off-Road crew cab with the 6-speed manual is the enthusiast’s choice; figure another grand or so for an automatic, but be wary of the way the optional sunroof robs head room. The Limited isn’t exactly luxurious for its $43,000 or so price tag with the more popular crew cab body. A fully loaded Tacoma is $44,620 for a TRD Off-Road with the $5,100 Premium package. All Tacoma’s carry an average 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.
The 2022 Toyota Tacoma is as capable as ever. With die-hard reliability, decent performance, and updates that keep the Tacoma competitive; it remains at the top of the mid-size truck class. Available in a multitude of sizes, powertrains, and options, the 2022 Toyota Tacoma has something for everyone.