The 2015 Toyota Tacoma continues to be the top-selling midsize pickup, packing impressive capability and legendary dependability into a maneuverable, garageable package. Available in 5- or 6-foot lengths, a rust- and dent-proof sheet-molding-composite inner bed features four adjustable tie-down cleats and covered in-bed storage compartments, plus a removable tailgate.
Configurations include a 4-passenger, 4-door Access Cab with a fold-up bench seat in the back and rear-hinged rear doors, and a 5-passenger, 4-door Double Cab with a full-width back seat and four conventional doors. Both are available with 2WD or 4WD.
The base 2-door Regular Cab available in previous years is discontinued for 2015. New for 2015 is the TRD Pro model, a desert-ready 4WD truck available in Access Cab or Double Cab body styles.
The Tacoma is a solid choice for buyers looking for a long-running, solidly built 2- or 4-wheel-drive midsize pickup truck.
What We Like
6,500-lb max tow rating; maneuverable size; standard safety gear; off-road prowess; wide equipment choices
What We Don’t
No lift-handle hand brake; stiff off-road suspension; steering and brakes are a bit vague; 4-speed automatic with 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
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 rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 21 mpg 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-drive vehicles get an 18 mpg city/21 mpg hwy rating with the 4-speed automatic and 18 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with the 5-speed manual.
Standard on 4WD Double Cabs and optional for other Double Cabs and Access Cabs, the 4.0-liter V6 makes 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque with regular unleaded fuel. A 6-speed manual is standard on 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 are rated at 15 mpg city/19 mpg hwy. 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 Access Cab is equipped with air conditioning, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, carpeting, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, cloth front bucket seats, a fold-up rear bench seat with under-seat storage, a 6-speaker Entune AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and a USB outlet, power door locks and windows, an overhead console and a floor console. Two-wheel drives run 215/70R15 tires on 15-in steel wheels, and 4WDs run 245/75R16s on 16-in steel rims. Also standard on 4WDs are front-suspension and engine skidplates, black fender flares and front and rear mudguards.
The Double Cab adds an adjustable lumbar driver’s seat, a 60/40-split rear bench with under-seat storage, power mirrors, mud guards and fender flares.
The PreRunner is a 2WD-only Access Cab or Double Cab with 4-cylinder or V6 power. It merges 4WD ride height and off-road looks with the lightweight simplicity of 2WD.
The SR5 upgrades with 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.
The Limited trim adds heated front sport bucket seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink, fog lamps, chrome exterior trim and 265/60 tires on 18-in chrome wheels.
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 an 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.
The new-for-2015 TRD Pro trim is available with the Access or Double Cab model. It includes much of the content in the TRD Off-Road Package and adds front-suspension and engine skid plates, fog lamps, a color-keyed hood scoop, variable wipers, a sliding rear window with privacy glass, a backup camera, 265/70R16 tires on alloy wheels, TRD-tuned front springs, TRD Bilstein shocks, leather-trimmed shifter and steering wheel with audio controls, sport seats, keyless entry, an auto-dimming mirror with a HomeLink garage-door opener and premium Entune audio with navigation, HD Radio and SiriusXM.
The Tacoma has been the best-selling midsize pickup for many years, offering popular features, sensible proportions and a reputation for great durability. All Tacoma Access and Double Cabs retain their resale value, but 4WD Double Cabs bring top dollar.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following 2015 Tacoma recalls:
Some accessory running boards may have been mounted improperly and may detach, creating an injury or crash risk.
The tire-size and tire-inflation label located in the doorjamb may not be correct on Tacomas with accessory wheels.
Some Tacomas sold in the Gulf States region may not have the correct load-carrying label.
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 2015 Tacoma four stars out of five overall in its crash-test ratings. Access Cabs received four stars for front and side impacts. Double Cabs received just three stars for frontal impacts and five for side impacts. All Tacomas were rated at four stars for rollover performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2015 Tacoma Double Cab Good for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts and head-restraint and seat-crash performance, but Marginal for roof strength. Additionally, the IIHS gave the 2015 Tacoma Access Cab a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts as well as head-restraint and seat-crash performance, but did not issue a rating for side impacts.
Toyota covered the 2015 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) vehicles can’t have more than 85,000 miles and must be under six years old. Every CPO Tacoma undergoes a 160-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Toyota CPO warranty covers the whole vehicle for one year or 12,000 miles, extends the original powertrain warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles and includes a year of roadside assistance.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Chevrolet Colorado — All-new, the Colorado is larger and roomier than the Tacoma and can tow up to 7,000 pounds. Engines include a 200-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and a 305-hp 3.6-liter V6, both available with a 6-speed automatic. Extended and Crew Cab body styles are available. Features include OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and in-truck Wi-Fi, a standard backup camera and available forward-collision and lane-departure alerts.
2015 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 and can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
No other midsize pickup can match the Tacoma’s rock-solid durability reputation, top-rated resale value or equipment combinations. With 4WD Access Cab models topping 4,000 pounds, you’ll probably be more satisfied with the 236-hp V6 under the hood than the 159-hp 4-cylinder. You’ll generally pay more for a Double Cab than an Access Cab, because the Double Cab just feels more solid, and some folks don’t like the rear-hinged doors of the Access Cab. As always, condition is king. These trucks are capable of going several hundred thousand miles if they’re maintained properly, but your best bet is a CPO or lower-mileage example. Avoid modified trucks and ask for a Carfax report. Make sure all applicable safety recalls have been performed by a certified Toyota dealer.