The gauge layout is simple but attractive enough and easy to read.
Friends and stuff: The back seats function as a threat. "Be good, kids, or we'll take the Tacoma to Grandma's." The rear suffers poor legroom and headroom, the headrest is in the way, and the setback is too straight. But, bright side, foot room is dandy!
There's a little bit of storage underneath, too.
The 6-foot bed feels a lot shorter than it is somehow. I didn't just have my usual compost heap drop-off - branches you can just pile higher and higher - but I also had building materials to take to the landfill, so maybe this was more noticeable. The space just disappeared in a hurry - the bed seemed especially shallow.
Consider that I recently put 1,100 pounds of detritus into the Sturgis Family Sienna, but just 450 in the Tacoma, according to the Lanchester scale.
Product info says the Tacoma can carry up to 1,620 pounds and tow up to 6,800, less than the Ford Ranger on both counts.
Play some tunes: The infotainment system functions as most Toyotas', volume on left, tuning on right, buttons for functions, and a touchscreen that's not too hard to get around.
The Premium JBL Audio sounds pretty good, maybe an A- - which is really good for a Toyota.
Keeping warm and cool: Dials control the temperature and another controls fan speed. Heat source is a toggle switch in the middle of the fan button. Super simple.
Round vents are easy to direct and twist off.
Fuel economy: I averaged about 18 mpg in mostly country driving, and that's about the best you'll get out of a four-wheel-drive pickup truck these days. Feed it whatever.
Where it's built: San Antonio, Texas
How it's built: Consumer Reports predicts the Tacoma's reliability to be a 3 out of 5, a tick below the Ranger.
In the end: If you need rugged off-road capabilities or a stick shift, the Tacoma is your choice. But the Ranger combines so much more fun and comfort with better economy, that would be my vote.
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