The Toyota Tacoma, the best-selling compact pickup truck in the United States, offers a restyled exterior and a redesigned, upgraded interior in all models for 2012.
The new Tacoma has a redesigned hood, grille, headlamps and front bumper, among other changes. Inside, there’s a new center-instrument panel design with a revised gauge cluster and a new steering wheel. A redesigned center stack adds new air conditioner/heater controls and power point locations.
The 2012 Tacoma interior also gets a new look with a black high-contrast center console, switch plate covers, dash and upper door trim, while the SR5 grade features a new seat fabric design.
The new Tacoma also offers new heavy-duty all-weather flooring in the 2012 Tacoma Access and Double Cab models, while the more specialized TRD Sport and Off-Road models offer new water-resistant fabric protection seats. The TRD Sport Package adds side mirrors with turn-signal lamps for 2012, as well as available chrome-clad 18-inch wheels.
The 2012 Tacoma, available in a variety of configurations and models, is equipped with either a four-cylinder and V6 engines and2WD or 4WD drivetrains.
Upgraded audio options are also feature on some 2012 Tacoma models. Access Cab models offer a new available six-speaker system with an AM/FM/ Satellite Radio-capable head unit with a single-disc CD player. Built-in Bluetooth® allows hands-free phone, and a USB port enables connection of an iPod®, MP3 player or flash drive with music files.
The DoubleCab V6 models offer a more advanced display audio system with today’s most in-demand connectivity features. These include navigation, Toyota Entune™ services, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with 90-day trial subscription), HD Radio with iTunes® tagging and text/e-mail-to-voice. This premium infotainment system plays through a JBL® GreenEdge audio system with seven speakers. GreenEdge technology helps reduce fuel consumption by lowering the electric power demand on the vehicle.
The Toyota Entune system is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access. Once a smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune’s features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune includes Bing™ and Pandora®; real-time info including traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Apps available in spring 2012 at no charge include iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com and OpenTable®. See toyota.com/entune for details.
The 2012 Tacoma line offers two engines: a 2.7-liter Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) four-cylinder that produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft. of torque, and a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 that provides 236 horsepower with 266 lb-ft. of torque. In both engines, variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) provides strong low-end and mid-range torque.
Standard on all Tacoma models is the Toyota Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop brake override technology. Every Tacoma has standard three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, front seat-mounted side airbags, roll-sensing side curtain airbags (including a cutoff switch), and a front advanced dual-stage airbag system. A front passenger cutoff switch is standard on Access Cab models.
All Access Cab and Double Cab models feature standard active headrests for the front seats, which move up and forward almost instantly in the event of certain rear-end collisions to help reduce the distance between the occupant’s head and the headrest.
Tacoma configurations are based on three cab types: Regular Cab, Access Cab, and the four-door Double Cab. The rear doors on Access Cab models open to 80 degrees to give passengers easy ingress and egress. Bold overfenders distinguish PreRunner and 4×4 models. PreRunner models combine the 4×2 drivetrain with the 4×4’s raised riding stance and styling. Double Cab models offer a roof rack system with crossbars that deploy from the roof rails.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation.
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Article Last Updated: September 2, 2011.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.