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2012 Toyota Tacoma: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions February 2015

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma offers a restyled front end and a new interior. Tacoma's predecessors pioneered the mini-pickup segment more than 40 years ago, and the 2012 version packs impressive capability into a midsize package. Available in 5- or 6-foot lengths, a rust- and dent-proof sheet-moulding-composite inner bed features four adjustable tie-down cleats and covered in-bed storage compartments, plus a removable tailgate.

What We Like

6,500-lb max tow rating; maneuverable size; standard safety gear; off-road prowess; wide array of equipment choices

What We Don't

No lift-handle hand brake; stiff ride from off-road suspension; steering and brakes are a bit vague

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma is available with a 2.7-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder or a 4.0-liter DOHC V6.

The base 2.7-liter 4-cylinder develops 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) versions are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-rated at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with the standard 5-speed manual or 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with the optional 4-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drives (4WD) get an 18 mpg city/20 mpg hwy rating with the manual gearbox or 18 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with the automatic.

Standard on 4WD Double Cabs and the X-Runner and optional for other Double Cabs and Access Cabs, the 4.0-liter V6 makes 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual is standard on X-Runners and 4WD Double Cabs, and a 5-speed automatic transmission is optional with all other Access Cabs and Double Cabs. Two-wheel-drive Tacomas with the 6-speed manual are EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/21 mpg hwy, while 4WDs get a 15 mpg city/19 mpg hwy rating with regular unleaded fuel. Equipped with the 5-speed automatic, 2WD Tacoma V6s get a 17 mpg city/21 mpg hwy rating, and 4WD models receive a 16 mpg city/21 mpg hwy label.

Standard Features & Options

The 2012 Tacoma is available in three configurations: a 2-door Regular Cab, a 4-door Access Cab with jump seats in the back and rear-hinged rear doors, and a 4-door Double Cab with a full-width back seat and four conventional doors. All are available with 2WD or 4WD.

The base Regular Cab typically includes standard air conditioning, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, full carpeting, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a cloth bench seat, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD radio, dual 12-volt outlets and three cupholders. Two-wheel-drives run 215/70R15 tires on 15-inch steel wheels, and 4WDs roll on 245/75R16s on 16-in steel rims.

Moving up to the Access Cab nets power door locks and windows, a 6-speaker stereo, an overhead console, cloth front bucket seats, a floor console and rear jump seats.

The Double Cab adds an adjustable lumbar driver's seat, a subwoofer, SiriusXM Radio, Bluetooth, a 60/40-split rear bench with under-seat storage, rear bulkhead storage, power mirrors, mud guards and fender flares.

The X-Runner is a 2WD sport truck with a lowered access cab. It comes with a 4.0-liter V6/6-speed manual powertrain, Bilstein shocks, 255/45R18 summer tires, a limited-slip differential, big-diameter brakes, a hood scoop, fog lamps, sport seats, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a backup camera and monochromatic body trim. A TRD supercharger is optional.

The PreRunner is another 2WD-only model, available with both 4-cylinder and V6 engines and Access Cab or Double Cab styles. The PreRunner merges the ride height and tough off-road looks of the 4WD models with the mechanical simplicity, lighter weight and lower cost of a 2WD drivetrain.

The up-level SR5 nets such features as a sliding rear window, a chrome grille surround and rear bumper, a color-keyed front bumper and wheel flares, cruise control, remote keyless entry, upgraded interior trim, variable wipers, a backup camera, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.

Available only on V6 models, the TRD Off-Road package and TRD Sport package add sport bucket seats, an overhead console, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, fog lamps and a 115-volt/400-watt bed-mounted power point. The TRD Off-Road also gains a locking rear differential, skid plates, 265/70R16 mud and snow tires, alloy wheels, and off-road suspension with hill-start assist and Downhill Assist Control. The TRD Sport adds a hood scoop, a sport-tuned chassis with Bilstein shocks, a limited-slip differential and 265/65R17 all-season tires on alloy wheels.

Pricing

The Tacoma has been the best-selling midsize pickup for many years, offering an attractive mix of features and sensible proportions with a reputation for great durability.

To get a good idea of the prices of used 2012 Tacoma pickups, check out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2012 Tacoma:

Incorrect skid-control software may affect the stability control, anti-lock brakes and traction-control system, increasing crash risk.

Accessory seat covers, seat heaters and headrest DVD systems may affect sensing for front-passenger airbag deployment, increasing injury risk.

On vehicles with 18-in alloy wheels, the spare steel wheel can't be securely mounted at an axle with the lug nuts for the alloy wheels.

The load-carrying and tire inflation label located in the doorjamb may not be correct, thereby overstating the safe load-carrying capacity.

The spare-tire pressure inflation placard may not be correct.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2012 Tacoma Double Cab four stars out of five overall, with three stars for frontal impacts, five stars for side impacts and four stars for rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2012 Tacoma Good for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts and head-restraint and seat-crash performance, but Marginal for roof strength.

Toyota covered the 2012 Tacoma with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Toyota certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can't have more than 85,000 miles on the odometer and must be under 6 years old. Every CPO Tacoma undergoes a 160-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Toyota CPO warranty covers the whole car for 1 year or 12,000 miles, extends the original powertrain warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles and includes a year of roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2012 Chevrolet Colorado -- 2012 is the last year for the first-generation Colorado. Regular, extended and crew cabs are available, powered by a 185-hp 2.9-liter 4-cylinder, a 242-hp 3.7-liter 5-cylinder or a 320-hp 5.3-liter V8. The Colorado's max tow capacity is 6,000 pounds.

2012 Nissan Frontier -- Nissan's midsize pickup offers standard stability control along with a 152-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 261-hp 4.0-liter V6. The Frontier is available in King (extended) and Crew Cab configurations only. Its max tow capacity is 6,500 pounds.

AutoTrader's Advice

No other midsize pickup can match Tacoma's rock-solid durability reputation, top-rated resale value or depth and breadth of equipment combinations. Although regular-cab models offer the best maneuverability, Access Cab and Double Cab models provide more interior space and retain the best resale value. Look for a CPO or lower-mileage example. Avoid modified trucks and ask for a Carfax report. Make sure all safety recalls have been performed on the Tacoma that you're thinking of purchasing.

Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale

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Used 2012 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Double Cab
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Used 2012 Toyota Tacoma
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Used 2012 Toyota Tacoma 2WD Access Cab
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Toyota Tacoma: Used Car Review - Autotrader