2021 Toyota Tacoma SR5 has spartan qualities

BY H. THROTTLE
AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST

I enjoyed driving a Toyota 2021 Tacoma SR5 double cab pickup this past week.  Generally, the larger pickup trucks are larger muscle laden machines made for heavy duty driving, hauling and towing.  This Tacoma is smaller in frame, although with a double cab that is really good for passengers and packages.  The truck bed has convenient storage on each side of the small bed area.  The tailgate latch opens easily to slide freight and parcels into the pickup. Used to easily haul six trash boxes to the local shedder event on Saturday.

Outside of safety, navigation, price, this Tacoma just drives well, rides well, and has somewhat of a “Spartan” demeaner of simplicity.

The overall ride is comfortable, cabin is quiet, and the steering is positive with a firm highway grip on recent rainy roads with the 18” TRD off- road wheels and tires. 

The  3.5L -V6 engine provides 273 horsepower linked to a six-speed transmission.  It could use a bit more power, especially if towing a trailer or boat.  The fuel economy  averaged 20 mpg.  

The Tacoma has final assembly in San Antonio, TX.  The paint is described as “Cement” that is gray in color and the cabin interior is black with front bucket seats and seating for three in the rear area.

A key turns the ignition on and off that is unusual in the new world of push button ignitions.  The dashboard is simple and easy controls to find the home page, audio, navigation selections.

The manufacturer’s suggested list price is $35,303, but premium options boost the test vehicle to $41,193.  Some of the options include premium audio, and unique fabric seats. A tailgate emblem goes for $160.  In this pickup the strength is in the drive, ride, and 2-wheel/4-wheel options and electronic transfer case for easy drive selections.  The overall simplicity of this truck is the strongest feature.

The Tacoma comes with the standard Toyota Safety Sense package that includes the pre-collision safeguard, radar cruise control, lane departure alert, and pedestrian detection.  Overall the pickup receives a 4 out of 5 highway safety rating.

With truck prices soaring  with style and options, this is a sensible choice for a basic well-performing and solid 4×4 truck. At the end of the week I really appreciated driving this solid vehicle.

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