2013 Toyota Tacoma Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 29, 2013
  • Limited trim level is new for 2013
  • Midsize pickup is available in three cab styles
  • Off-road enhancements are available
  • Choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engine
  • Towing capacity is 6,500 pounds


The Toyota Tacoma is a midsize pickup truck, one of the few of that type of vehicle remaining on the market. It emphasizes handling, ride smoothness, and safety rather than capacity or ruggedness, and is often used as a personal or family vehicle. After a host of exterior and interior updates for the 2012 model year, the 2013 model carries over mostly unchanged: a new upscale Limited trim level is offered this year, in addition to the base trim.

The 2013 Toyota Tacoma is offered in three cab styles: Regular, Access, and Double (crew), and is available in 2- or 4-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD). The Tacoma competes primarily with the Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline. With proper equipment, the Toyota Tacoma can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Exterior Features

The 2013 Toyota Tacoma is offered in a choice of eight colors, although availability of those colors will might vary according to model and trim level. The Regular and Access cabs come with a 6-foot pickup bed, while the Double cab has a standard 5-foot or optional 6-foot bed. The base model with 2WD and Regular cab features 15-inch steel wheels; the 4WD model upgrades to 16-inch wheels and adds black fenders, an engine skid plate, and front and rear mud flaps. A limited-slip differential is standard, so are a bed utility rail system and a composite bedliner. A sliding rear window is optional. Power mirrors are added to the Double cab. The Limited trim level has 18-inch alloy wheels.

Interior Features

Standard interior features on the Toyota Tacoma include air conditioning, cloth upholstery, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a 4-speaker sound system with CD player. The Access cab upgrades the upholstery and adds front bucket seats and fold-up rear seats with under-seat storage. The Access cab also features power accessories, a 6-speaker sound system, and a center console, while the Double cab features a power-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split rear seat, and power mirrors.

Optional Features

Many options are available on the 2013 Tacoma, either individually or as packages, but their availability may vary by model and region. Available features include a tinted sliding rear window, keyless entry, cruise control, extra chrome, fog lights, upgraded steering wheel with audio controls, sport seats, rearview camera, variable-speed wipers, hood scoop, sport suspension, and much more. The Limited trim level includes many of these options. A special edition includes a suspension package that was a joint production of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and Bilstein, and includes 3-inch-diameter race springs over 60 mm Bilstein shocks, which create additional lift of almost 2 inches. The rear suspension includes 50 mm remote reservoir Bilstein shocks, and BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires mounted on 16-inch TRD wheels. A TRD cat-back exhaust system rounds out the package.

Under the Hood

Toyota Tacoma models are fitted with one of two engines. The standard power plant is a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 159 horsepower, which produces 180 lb.-ft. of torque. The optional engine (standard with the 4WD Double cab) is a 4.0-liter V-6 rated at 236 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4-cylinder models feature a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission, while 6-cylinder models offer a 6-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Toyota Tacoma are:

  • Tacoma 2WD with 4-cylinder engine and manual transmission: 21/25/23 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Tacoma 2WD with 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission: 19/24/21 mpg
  • Tacoma 4WD with 4-cylinder engine and either transmission: 18/21/19 mpg
  • Tacoma 2WD with V-6 engine and automatic transmission: 17/21/19 mpg
  • Tacoma 4WD with V-6 engine and automatic transmission: 16/21/18 mpg


Standard safety features of note on the 2013 Toyota Tacoma include side curtain air bags for both rows of seats and active head restraints for front passengers.

In government crash tests, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab received a rating of 4 stars (out of a possible 5) for overall protection, including 3 stars for front-impact protection, 5 stars for side-impact protection, and 4 stars for rollover protection, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Tacoma received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for frontal-offset and side-impact crashes and rollover protection. The Tacoma earned a "Marginal" rating in the Institute's roof strength tests.
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