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Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport Extra Edition 4x4 (2012)


  • The best of the mid-size pickup trucks, of which there aren’t many anymore. If you want a pickup truck, but don’t want a full-sized beast, your only real choices are the Tacoma, the Nissan Frontier and the Ford Ranger.
  • Excellent durability and reliability.
  • Quiet and smooth ride.
  • Lots of standard safety equipment.
  • The large, 17” wheels on the TRD edition take potholes in stride.
  • Simple, easy to operate controls with large dials and knobs, that can be operated even if you’re wearing gloves. The ergonomics are from 1980—and in our opinion, that’s a good thing. They’re easier to use than touch-screen controls and tiny, difficult to operate knobs. Refreshingly clear controls.
  • The backup camera built into the rear-view mirror is a nice touch.


  • This is an older chassis that could use upgrading. The ride on rough surfaces and the handling on curvy roads could be much better.
  • Mileage on the Tacoma is a big disappointment—it’s rated at 16 city/21 highway. It seemed like every time we turned around, we were pumping gas into it. It’s not much better than the larger Toyota Tundra.
  • TRD sport edition ride includes a stiffer suspension, so bumps are more apparent. Why would you want a stiffer ride in a truck? Beats us. On the open road, through, the ride is fine.
  • Aggressive-tread TRD tires are not great in wet conditions.
  • The “access cab” (cab and a half) includes two jump seats in the back that are, in our opinion, for dogs only. And even the dog might complain about the lack of muzzle room. If you really intend to carry four people, you have to get the double cab version, which has a “normal” back seat for adults.
  • For some reason unknown to us, we found it difficult to parallel park. It could be combination of the height of the vehicle and the location of the rear wheels. We have no idea. But, we found ourselves scraping the curb more than once. (Sorry, Toyota.)

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