Colorado ZR2 Vs. Tacoma TRD Pro: Best Daily Driver

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We recently published the results, scoring, how we tested and video pieces from our head-to-head Challenge between the 2017 Colorado ZR2 and the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, but that testing focused on off-road capability and how the trucks performed on non-pavement surfaces.

Throughout our testing, we also did a lot of street driving from location to location and even from our homes in the greater Los Angeles area into the desert to find unpaved areas in which to run amok. Even though our focus was on the off-road performance of these competitors, pavement time gave us a good feel for how these trucks perform on the street and in day-to-day tasks. Although these observations did not factor into our scoring for the test, how these trucks do on the street is still important.

Powertrain

Having two different powertrains provided these trucks plenty of contrast when driving on the street. The 186-horsepower, turbo-diesel 2.8-liter four-cylinder in the ZR2 with its 369 pounds-feet of torque available at 2,000 rpm felt quicker and more potent off the line and at low speeds. Around town it got up to speed faster and was more aggressive than the Toyota, but it did run out of breath at highway speeds, especially when passing or merging. We wished for a bit more grunt.

The Tacoma TRD Pro's 278-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 puts out 265 pounds-feet of torque, but you don't get all that torque until 4,600 rpm. The engine also runs on the Atkinson cycle by default, which is better for efficiency but hurts performance. Get the engine into the higher revs and it comes alive, but in the mid-range it felt sluggish before transitioning from one intake and exhaust strategy to another. With the electronically controlled transmission switched into Power mode and with our foot heavy on the throttle, the TRD Pro had more giddy-up than the ZR2. This powertrain combo also had a big problem cruising on the highway: It wouldn't hold a gear on any kind of hill and it kicked out of Overdrive constantly, which created drone in the cabin. These deficits also made us think that the ZR2 is the preferred truck for towing because it comes standard with a trailer brake controller (the Tacoma lacks one) and it had a smoother power delivery and torque advantage.

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Ride

Driving the ZR2 on the street reminded us of driving another off-road-oriented pickup: the Ford F-150 Raptor. It is a great comparison for the Chevy. Of course, the Chevy is smaller and has a shorter wheelbase, so it doesn't feel quite as composed as the Raptor, but the ZR2 shocks that do so much work on the trail also smooth things out on the street.

The TRD Pro also rides decently for an off-road-oriented vehicle; its shocks aren't quite as pliant as the ZR2's, so the ride is a bit busier feeling, but they were in no way harsh. The less aggressive tires that held the TRD Pro back a bit when off-road are quieter on pavement than the knobbier set that comes standard on the ZR2.

Interior Comfort/Technology

The TRD Pro tops the ZR2 when it comes to cabin quietness — the diesel engine and knobby tires don't do the ZR2 any favors in that regard. But the TRD Pro is not without its quirks, the seats being the main offender. We couldn't find a comfortable seating position, and the manual adjustments didn't make that any easier. For a truck that costs nearly $45,000, this is a weird feature to be missing. The seats in the Colorado had power functions and were more comfortable. Both trucks did come with standard leather seats.

When it came to multimedia systems, the ZR2 took a big win. Toyota doesn't offer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay on any of its vehicles (that even extends to Lexus, its luxury brand), so even if its system were bad those two features could pick up the slack. On top of that omission, the TRD Pro screen looked worse, was harder to use and had less functionality than the one in the ZR2. Hopefully this will be remedied during the next redesign; until then, the ZR2 is clearly ahead.

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Fuel Economy

We hear the word diesel and we automatically presume a big fuel-economy win for the ZR2, but looking at the numbers that's not clear. The diesel versions of the ZR2 have EPA-estimated fuel-economy ratings of 19/22/20 mpg city/highway/combined, which beats the gas version of the ZR2 with the V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic combo handily (16/18/17 mpg).

However, that only puts the diesel ZR2 on par with the TRD Pro. That engine might cause some consternation with its power delivery, but it does have fuel-economy benefits. It has an EPA-estimated rating of 18/23/20 mpg, with its combined rating tying the ZR2 we tested.

The TRD Pro on its highway-heavy 127.6-mile route got 23.5 mpg on its trip computer and a calculated figure of 24.5 mpg, for an average of 24.0 mpg. The ZR2's route was 196.2 miles and had a bit more elevation change with some mountain roads thrown in near the Angeles Crest Highway. It returned 22.2 mpg on the computer and 22.0 calculated, good for an average of 22.1 mpg. That gives the TRD Pro a slight edge, but we think if it had run the longer route with the ZR2 it would not have done as well; that powertrain combo struggles on hills, which would have negatively impacted the fuel-economy results.

Final Thoughts

Although both these trucks are capable off-road, they don't give a lot back when it comes to daily driving and on-road performance. We would have no objections to driving either one every day, but we love pickups. Whatever quirks they have are not deal-breakers and in no way come close to canceling out their off-pavement prowess.

If you're trying to choose between these two, we suggest test-driving them before you decide. There's a big difference between the seating positions of the respective trucks and you may find that one simply fits you better. Just as our off-road testing ended with close results and praise for both rigs, we feel the same about their performance on the street.

Editor's note: This story was updated Aug. 9, 2017, to correct information about the ZR2's seats.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

 

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Comments

these fuel economy calculations have my head spinning! Calculated over two different routes. Hmmm.

Go to the dealerships and sit in these trucks. The GM twins win hands down for driver comfort. The Tacoma is great for any driver under five foot ten. If you're taller than six feet the Taco is not your dish

No diesel for me. But between these two, everything else about the Chevy sounds good. Just don't need that ZR2 package; I'd be fine with a lesser 4x4/AWD system since I don't plan to go rock crawling with it. Simple gross overkill for my needs.

Just wanted to point out that the ZR2 comes standard with a leather interior, not a cloth interior like the article states.

To summarize the adjectives used to describe both of these trucks in the respective categories where they won:

ZR2 - it had a distinct advantage, it was the clear winner, ahead by a large margin

Tacoma - a slight edge, a nose ahead, marginally better


Yep... Toyota has aimed for mediocrity over the last two decades, and it shows.

I agree Chubs, the ZR2 that I drove yesterday had leather seats as standard plus the picture shows leather seats in the ZR2...

I thin he read his notes backwards, or switched taco and Colorado around, as the Taco may not have leather seats

I know a couple guys with gas ZR2's that are getting 22mpg on the highway,

One factor often overlooked in these articles and certainly by most posters is longevity and numbers and cost of repairs in the long run. GM history puts it at a big disadvantage when these factors are considered. If you intend to just drive it a year or two and trade it, then the GM is a viable vehicle. If you want to keep it long term and not have it "in the shop" more than it should be, then steer away from GM. Far, far away.

"The seats in the Colorado might be cloth,..."

There is NOTHING wrong or "low-class" with cloth seats nowadays, made with modern, porous, stain-resistant materials. They breathe well in summer, and provide insulation in winter.

Frankly, I've "had it" with hot leather in a closed vehicle on a July afternoon; or the icy, slick feel of leather in January at -10 deg F.

Just got a new truck, and intentionally chose cloth...

=====================

im sure the chevy is a shaker, the taco will win all day long in reliability

How about comparing the gas version of the ZR2 to the Tacoma next time? That to me is a more even comparison and would make more sense. Very few of us need or want the diesel and I'm sure the take rate for diesels is well below that of the gas version. The fact that the gas version has an 8 speed transmission would have really given it an advantage over the Tacoma in the performance category. It reminds me of the time you compared all the base model trucks from Ford, Chevy, and Ram and the Chevy and Ram had the naturally aspirated base V-6 engines and you compared them to Fords 3.5 liter turbo six cylinder (their top engine choice) and made up some lame excuse as to why you didn't use their base V6 and then declared Ford the winner because it outperformed the Chevy and Ram. Come on guys, how can anyone take your comparison tests serious when you keep comparing apples to oranges? The bias on this site is beyond obvious, I sometimes think you just don't care to cover it up?

I agree Chubs, the ZR2 that I drove yesterday had leather seats as standard plus the picture shows leather seats in the ZR2...

I thin he read his notes backwards, or switched taco and Colorado around, as the Taco may not have leather seats

I know a couple guys with gas ZR2's that are getting 22mpg on the highway,
Posted by: Dave | Aug 9, 2017 9:55:01 AM


The picture above that shows the leather seats is of the tacoma. Noticed the TRD logo on the headrest.

uh huh true the picture just below the statement does show the TRD but in all the previous ZR2 galleries related to this comparison it does in fact show the standard leather of the ZR2... Someone clearly favors the TRD and the bias shows in the score sheet, the video and in the writing, need a third person to help remove the bias introduced by this individual...

It is interesting to see how Tacoma fans shift their defense from off road it kills to it will now out last and cost of repair etc. Interesting note is that famous reliability has tanked in this last generation. You see the Tacoma coming up in the worst reliable side of the reports.

Yes the Tacoma out sells all but just because a loyal accustomed base probs up the numbers doesn't mean there isn't something else out there better...

One factor often overlooked in these articles and certainly by most posters is longevity and numbers and cost of repairs in the long run. GM history puts it at a big disadvantage when these factors are considered. If you intend to just drive it a year or two and trade it, then the GM is a viable vehicle. If you want to keep it long term and not have it "in the shop" more than it should be, then steer away from GM. Far, far away.


Posted by: Dale | Aug 9, 2017 10:19:41 AM

If you're going to make claims like that back it up with links. Especially in light of the fact that the 3rd gen Tacoma was ranked last in reliability by CR and will likely take last place again this year. Not to mention Toyota is constantly fighting class action lawsuits over frames that rot away into dust too fast.

And unlike Ford, GM's 3.6 V6 is built to last, using a more expensive, long-lasting roller timing chain and water pump NOT buried inside the engine. Simply searching for "Ford 3.5 water pump coolant" will show the nightmare engine failures you can expect with a Duratec or Ecoboost. Mmmmmm milk shake.
https://www.fordflex.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14699

Like always Ford sells engines designed to fail shortly after the warranty expires. Same old junk cam phasers, cheap oil pumps, internal water pumps driven by the timing chain, and cheap inverted tooth timing chains. The Ranger will no doubt get an ecobust that lives up to it's legacy, thirsty and unreliable.

www.fordflex.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=15553

@brick

Quite a story about the guy's V6 Cyclone motor. The design of the coolant pump makes no sense.

Ford should take a look at the R&R for a Chevy Vega engine. Complete remove/replace and coolant refill in under one hour.

If the thought of a Vega motor grosses you out, look at the R&R for a small block chevy engine, or a FE Ford V8. Four bolts. Two gaskets. Complete job start to finish in an hour.

We seem to be going backwards. The Vega, SBC and the Ford FE block motor were all designs from more than fifty years ago.

Sad.

GM wins hands down! Better seating, more engine opitons and more reliability. Just look at the 3rd party studies, Toyota has become junk.

The reasoning I'm told is that placing the coolant pump inside the Vee makes the engine easier to shoehorn in small engine bays.

While the pump has a weep hole, there are plenty of other engines that had weep holes. The first engine that comes to mind is Chrysler's 2.7L V6 and all the sludged up engines cause by a water pump placed in the exact same area and also driven by the timing chain. http://www.allpar.com/mopar/V6/27.html

I don't like the direction engine design is going in. Engineers are evidently too young or naive to learn from the mistakes other engineers made. I don't want to believe that a company would purposely put the water pump in such a risky place, but it's definitely a lucrative business for their dealers. Where a water pump could be done in an hour in the driveway, now it means tearing down the whole front of the engine, not to mention replacing timing chains, tensioners, and cam phasers.

"I'm now in a quandry as to what to do. My local Ford dealer is recommending simply replacing the water pump and the timing components (chain, guides, gears, etc.) to get back on the road. Cost estimate ~$2,500. I've done some reading, and someone with an F-150 and EB engine had the same coolant pump failure, did the aformentioned repair and spun a bearing within 500 miles which then necessitated a new engine install. My second option is to install a used low mileage engine from a totaled vehicle where the engine was not damaged. Dealer estimate for that work is about $4k all in."

https://www.fordflex.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14512#p167889

@ johnny doe,

The TRD Pro is a better value and better looking and better truck all around!

@brick

I worked around the SAE engineers a few times and those guys are dedicated to quality and performance. Your comment about making the motor fit tighter engine bays makes sense because Detroit has been trying to build smaller cars ever since the 1970s and the transverse engines helped them do it.

Water pumps that dump their guts into the crankcase make zero sense. A mystery.

The TRD Pro is a better value and better looking and better truck all around!

Posted by: oxi | Aug 9, 2017 7:10:19 PM

The 2016+ Tacoma was CR's Least Reliable Midsize Truck of 2016, Top Ten Worst Cars of 2017, and will likely make Least Reliable Midsize Truck of 2017. Considering the massive axle failure recall (that isn't really addressing the issue some axles are having), the transmission TSB's that still and engine recall for dangerous stalls, it doesn't seem like a good value to me. Not when a TRD Pro is simply a set of Fox Shocks, ridgid fog lights, and various cheap trinkets. It doesn't even come with real offroad tires or rear disc brakes.
Bad value.

I'm a Chevy truck fan. Been buying them since the 1970s. I'm also 6'6" tall. Odly enough the Tacoma is more comfortable to me than the Colorado. It has more shoulder room. I was sure looking forward to the new ZR2 but now I own the TRD Off Road Tacoma. Time will tell if it was a mistake from a reliability point of view. I was of the opinion they were still reliable. So far I am enjoying the truck but it does downshift a lot on hills and upshift again too soon. I just put it in manual shift to hold the gear I want on hills. I'll live with this better than the uncomfortable to me seating in the GM truck.

As far as fuel mileage goes, our 2016 2.8L Duramax crew cab 4x4 has a Lifetime average of 28.9 MPG. My buddies 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 has a lifetime average of 21.9 mpg .
The diesel gets into 6th gear and doesn't downshift on hills, it just keeps pulling at under 2000 rpm, allowing for great fuel economy.

My 2017 has now been held hostage by Toyota for a safety recall for 45 days and they refuse to fix it, yet still keep building new ones. Do your research, there are hundreds of TRD Tacoma's parked in the back lots of dealerships across the country. Whatever you do, don't buy this truck, the power train combo of the 3.5 and the electronic transmission (as mentioned in this article) is the worst I have ever seen after owning 4 Tacoma's and 2 Rangers. So much so that there are people designing devices to plug into the obd2 port that overrides the electronic transmission control! But Toyota screwing their loyal customers by not fixing safety recalled vehicles is just criminal. Wish I had never bought my $40,000 Tacoma anchor.

@ Rammins,

What are you talking about? You do not even own one, yet you comment like a spoiled little b r a t!

You are a GM t r o l l, with f a k e news, work for CNN or what?
I actually own a 2016 Tacoma and I have NO issues whatsoever, been a solid truck at 23,000 miles and counting, again NO ISSUES!

CR is a bunch of hippie leftists that want every truck to be a Honda Ridgeline, you sure you want to quote CR as scripture and the God almighty for trucks?
Grow up!

@ Steve F,

Sounds like F A K E news!

I live near a local dealership, nice try, T R O L L.

Do us all a favor, when you actually own a Tacoma and drive it for many years, than come back and comment!

You F A K E people are such a joke!

Switching into/out of Atkinson cycle, it dependent on load, not engine speed.
Toyota's 2gr-fks will absolutely leave the slow diesel behind, if you operate the engine where it makes more power than the diesel.
There is a local minima at ~3400rpm, where the engine makes ~90% of its 265ft-lbs. 154hp is less than the 181hp {or is it 188hp} of the diesel.
So, at 4000rpm, you are ~95% of peak torque {if you have if floored} 192hp. Peak power is 278hp@6000rpm.
Things would be so much easier with an 8 speed automatic.

Ok folks lets clear a few things up real quick.....

1. ANYONE who has ever tried to use the multimedia system in its correct form in the GM and Entune App suite in the Toyota will tell you the Toyota system SMASHES the GM system. Stop with the Ridiculous comments Mark.....

2. I have NEVER heard a complaint about seating position from ANYONE who has ever owned a Tacoma. another ridiculous comment.

3. Anything that you fellas "subjectively" called a win for the ZR2 was a "Huge advantage" and everything that the Trd Pro Tacoma did as a win was just a "slight advantage". Theres one thing I'm certain of, IF in fact the ZR2 got OVER 2mpg better than the Tacoma you would have called it a HUGE advantage even tho the cost of maintenance is Far far higher on a diesel. but...... when the cost of the maintenance on the diesel is significantly higher, the first 2 years and 25k miles of ALL of the maintenance on the Toyota is Complimentary AND it averaged a FULL 2mpg BETTER and Even more the dash was MODEST and showed mpg's LOWER than your hand calculations and this is just a slight advantage? Your bias shows LOUD AND CLEAR in this article.

4. the Tacoma has 100 HP more than the diesel, yet you make a comment that the Tacoma while faster was barely LOL....

Final thoughts its become clear to most people with any level of reading comprehension that you all are extremely Bias toward any UAW company OR you really don't know half as much about a truck as you think you do.............. Carry on.

The Chevy is cool, but if you rely on CR and their contradicting reports where they state that the Tacoma is "tough as nails," but then go on to bash it, you probably are relying on the wrong source for information. Read a few articles of CR and see how distracted and underwritten their articles are (their recent Microsoft Surface article talks about longevity being an issue yet they forget this valid topic in a truck comparison). CR likes their Subarus (and don't complain of an engine that has gone unchanged for a decade +) and calls a Ridgeline a truck.

More importantly, I like things that work and last. The Toyota brand still skips the turbo and other things in the name of creating something that will last. If you want less of a problem in the long run, buy the Toyota. Let's revisit the Chevy in 30 years.

Speaking of 30 years, I guess my 1986 SR5 4x4 that is a true off-roader inspired me to buy a 2017 TRD. Yeah, that 86 may have been called under-powered, but it's still going strong with 236k - and Toyota has a pretty long history of reliability in small to midsized trucks. Chevy took a break from the race and jumped back in after they caught their breathe. Toyota kept running and using a winning recipe: consistency.

Historically, even with a few kinks, the Toyota will pass the Chevy in its grave eventually.

1. ANYONE who has ever tried to use the multimedia system in its correct form in the GM and Entune App suite in the Toyota will tell you the Toyota system SMASHES the GM system. Stop with the Ridiculous comments Mark.....
Posted by: hemi lol | Aug 10, 2017 8:45:03 AM

Consumer Report's conducted a member survey on infotainment systems. Toyota's Entune was ranked second-to-last place in user satisfaction, making the "Below Average" list. GM's MyLink was in the top five and was rated "Very Good".

https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-infotainment-system-brand-by-brand-guide/
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/333-highlander-3rd-generation-2014/1357113-s-official-entune-bad.html
http://www.tacomaforum.com/threads/entune-is-garbage.4090/


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2. I have NEVER heard a complaint about seating position from ANYONE who has ever owned a Tacoma. another ridiculous comment.
Posted by: hemi lol | Aug 10, 2017 8:45:03 AM

Are you kidding me? It's been a point of criticism for Toyota's midsize trucks for decades. Most Tacoma owners don't complain because they've given up on getting Toyota to do anything about it.

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3. Anything that you fellas "subjectively" called a win for the ZR2 was a "Huge advantage" and everything that the Trd Pro Tacoma did as a win was just a "slight advantage".
Theres one thing I'm certain of, IF in fact the ZR2 got OVER 2mpg better than the Tacoma you would have called it a HUGE advantage even tho the cost of maintenance is Far far higher on a diesel.
Posted by: hemi lol | Aug 10, 2017 8:45:03 AM

They clearly said that the ZR2's fuel economy test was done on a mountain pass with lots of elevation changes, which put it at a disadvantage for the test. The TRD Pro had the advantage of being tested on a highway that presumably had less elevation change, which gave it an advantage. Hence why they said:

"That gives the TRD Pro a slight edge, but we think if it had run the longer route with the ZR2 it would not have done as well; that powertrain combo struggles on hills, which would have negatively impacted the fuel-economy results."

Also, can you provide us with some credible sources on what the cost of ownership for a 2nd gen Colorado equipped with the 2.8 Duramax is? Or are you just making uninformed assumptions on the costs?

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...the first 2 years and 25k miles of ALL of the maintenance on the Toyota is Complimentary
Posted by: hemi lol | Aug 10, 2017 8:45:03 AM

Good to know lol. GM offers a comparable 2-year free schedule maintenance with their vehicles.

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AND it averaged a FULL 2mpg BETTER and Even more the dash was MODEST and showed mpg's LOWER than your hand calculations and this is just a slight advantage? Your bias shows LOUD AND CLEAR in this article.
Posted by: hemi lol | Aug 10, 2017 8:45:03 AM

Again, they said that the TRD Pro's test route was not the same as the ZR2's. The ZR2 was tested on a mountain pass outside LA with lots of elevation changes that pulled its average down. They also said that if the TRD Pro had been tested on the same pass, its average would have been lower.

Also, let's not forget that the TRD Pro comes optimized for fuel economy at the expense of off-road performance. The Goodyear Wrangler AT's are a terrible choice for a truck that's supposed to be the "ultimate off-road" version of the Tacoma. BUT, it goes a long ways towards improving fuel economy numbers. There's no doubt that if the ZR2 came equipped with highway AT's, it would see a fuel economy boost.

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4. the Tacoma has 100 HP more than the diesel, yet you make a comment that the Tacoma while faster was barely LOL....
Posted by: hemi lol | Aug 10, 2017 8:45:03 AM

The Tacoma might make 100 more horsepower but the 2.8 Duramax makes 369 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm, whereas the Tacoma only makes 265 lb·ft @ a sky-high 4600 rpm.

Low-RPM torque rules the roost when it comes to off-roading. Having to rev up the Tacoma's 3.5 V6 to make decent torque means it's going to be a clutch burner when trying to crawl over obstacles. No wonder Tacomas a well-known for poor clutch life, even in the hands of manual trans veterans.

The Chevy is cool, but if you rely on CR and their contradicting reports where they state that the Tacoma is "tough as nails," but then go on to bash it, you probably are relying on the wrong source for information. Read a few articles of CR and see how distracted and underwritten their articles are (their recent Microsoft Surface article talks about longevity being an issue yet they forget this valid topic in a truck comparison). CR likes their Subarus (and don't complain of an engine that has gone unchanged for a decade +) and calls a Ridgeline a truck.
Posted by: Sam | Aug 10, 2017 2:20:52 PM

You clearly don't understand the difference between a REVIEW and a OWNERS SURVEY. They panned the 2016/2017 Tacoma for its bad ride and weird seating position. The 2016 Tacoma's title of "Least Reliable Midsize Truck of 2016" is based on data they collect from owners of 2016 Tacoma's.

"The Consumer Reports Survey Research department, a team of highly-trained social scientists, surveys millions of consumers each year using state-of-the-art techniques; collecting feedback on a broad range of real-world experiences with products, services."

"We conduct many surveys by selecting a random sample from the millions of readers who subscribe to Consumer Reports and/or to ConsumerReports.org, who are some of the most consumer-savvy people in the nation."

I find it hilarious that Toyota Tacoma fans now hate Consumer Reports and dismiss their reliability survey, no matter what. For decades, when the domestic trucks were ranked below the Tacoma, Toyota fans would use CR's survey results as the basis for why the Tacoma (or any other Toyota) was so reliable.

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More importantly, I like things that work and last.
Posted by: Sam | Aug 10, 2017 2:20:52 PM

So, not a Tacoma? Their frames rot away, therefore they don't last. Not 30 years anyways. Some barely made it 10 years.

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The Toyota brand still skips the turbo and other things in the name of creating something that will last. If you want less of a problem in the long run, buy the Toyota.
Posted by: Sam | Aug 10, 2017 2:20:52 PM

Yet Toyota disposed of the reliable 4.0 V6, replacing it with a complex 3.5 V6 with two sets of injectors and a high pressure fuel pump that's already known for low-mileage failures in 3rd gen Tacoma's. And many are mated to a 6speed automatic plaugued with issues.

One thing is certain, the 3rd gen powertrain's long-term reliability is definitely in question. Maybe Toyota will fixed the issues in the coming years, but buyers of 2016 or 2017 Tacoma's will have issues to deal with in the coming years that previous generations of Taco's didn't.

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Speaking of 30 years, I guess my 1986 SR5 4x4 that is a true off-roader inspired me to buy a 2017 TRD. Yeah, that 86 may have been called under-powered, but it's still going strong with 236k - and Toyota has a pretty long history of reliability in small to midsized trucks.
Posted by: Sam | Aug 10, 2017 2:20:52 PM

236k miles isn't bad. I had a 91 Nissan Hardbody pickup that made it to 230k miles. I've also owned a Chevy truck that racked up over 300k miles. By your reasoning, I guess that makes Chevy's reliable too? Or is that against the rules? Are only Japanese brands allowed to be considered reliable?

Are Toyota's not allowed to be called "unreliable", no matter how many owners complain about problems, are stranded on the highway in their 3rd gen Tacoma, or are forced to take their Tacoma to the dealer for rear differential failures or engine problems?

Unfortunately, it seems as though the Tacoma's history of reliability is in the dumps with the 3rd gen. Toyota seems to have sacrificed reliability and quality control in the pursuit of profit margins and pushing as many Tacomas out the door as possible. Otherwise we wouldn't see owners stranded by engine sensor failures, rear differential failures, braking module issues, transmission issues, high pressure fuel pump failures, infotainment systems that don't work, etc.

These are NOT the sort of issues that a "reliable" truck would have.

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Chevy took a break from the race and jumped back in after they caught their breathe. Toyota kept running and using a winning recipe: consistency.
Posted by: Sam | Aug 10, 2017 2:20:52 PM

It looks like GM (Chevy) did more than just catch their breath, it looks like they caught Toyota by surprise. It's the only explanation many can come up with for why the 3rd gen is so ho-hum in general. The buzzy and weak V6 that replaced the venerable 4.0, the widespread auto transmission issues, the rear axle leaks and differential failures, the same bad seating position, etc. Reviewers pointed out that the 3rd gen really feels like a 2.5 gen. Reading posts over at tacoma world, that seems to be accurate.

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Toyota kept running and using a winning recipe: consistency.
Posted by: Sam | Aug 10, 2017 2:20:52 PM

Yes. Consistently massive rust rot issues. No matter how far back in history you look, Toyota's body-on-frame trucks and SUV's have had HUGE rust rot issues. The frame, the leaf springs, the bed, tailgate, you name it.

Unless you live in the middle of a desert, rust will slowly turn your Tacoma into a pile of rust. And unless you have the time and money to file a lawsuit, Toyota isn't going to give you a free frame.

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Historically, even with a few kinks, the Toyota will pass the Chevy in its grave eventually.
Posted by: Sam | Aug 10, 2017 2:20:52 PM

"kinks"?

You mean as in the massive frame rot that has resulted in massive recalls and lawsuits? The one that resulted in a massive legal battle that ultimately cost Toyota $3.4 billion this past November? Or how about the history of leaf springs that rust and snap unexpectedly. Or the current rear differential failures that may or may not be due to leaks from the gasket between the house and third member.

The only way Tacomas would pass any other vehicle in 30 years is in the form of (rust) dust.

----Posted by: hemi lol | Aug 10, 2017 8:45:03 AM
"Ok folks lets clear a few things up real quick....."

2. I have NEVER heard a complaint about seating position from ANYONE who has ever owned a Tacoma. another ridiculous comment.
---- Then allow me to express a personal complaint about the Tacoma. For several years running I have considered the Tacoma, even before I inherited my current Ranger. While I could sit in it fine, with a notch or two left over for the seat to move backwards, I am almost exactly average in height. On the other hand, my wife is a full six feet tall with long legs and even at its rearmost lock in a crew or extended cab version, my wife cannot comfortably sit behind the wheel; this is true of even the latest version because we check them out every year simply because of Toyota's reputation and popularity. Even though the Toyota has grown larger overall, the seating is still cramped for a taller person. Even the Colorado improved last year, as when the new batch came out, the seating was tight there too. This latest version actually seats her comfortably now.

On the other hand, the Colorado/Canyon have their own issues, at least in the interior. With the 2017 model it became a fairly strong contender to replace my Ranger (need an extended cab and 4WD.) Unfortunately, the materials quality in some areas seems questionable. One of the most notable is the media and cruise control systems on the steering wheel. These buttons see heavy use between my wife and myself as we do use them as intended--hands-free operation of phones and infotainment stack. Anybody who has used the old membrane-style keyboards for gaming devices, computers, etc. will know these things do not hold up well to heavy use. Worse, their labeling wears off remarkably rapidly as they are typically printed onto the surface of the membrane and not an integral part of the plastic through recessed or raised lettering, making these controls unreadable over time and more difficult to use for the next owner of the vehicle. So either way, these are likely to become a frequent repair item and an expensive one because of their location. If GM cheaped-out there, where else did they cut costs?

@Brick: I understand your rant against those who dislike Consumer Reports and for most things you are probably right; but not with cars and trucks. I've learned through following them over the last 20 years that personal bias tends to come through on vehicles because they're "scientific analysis" relies on opinion polls, which can be heavily biased themselves. Certain other sites I've visited, much less known sites, often contradict CR and agree with my own personal experiences with specific vehicles. It seems with CR and JD Power specifically, complainers tend to respond far more than not. Rather than a scientific poll of real numbers (polling dealerships, for instance) they rely on people who choose to respond to a letter--responses which tend to be a small fraction of total sales and only garner replies when they have something negative to say. I've seen them credit a bad review on the power of a mere 10 responses out of thousands of vehicles sold. Not very accurate reporting.

...personal bias tends to come through on vehicles because they're "scientific analysis" relies on opinion polls, which can be heavily biased themselves. Posted by: Road Whale | Aug 11, 2017

@Roadwhale

Wrong. CR's methodology is not perfect, but they use large statistical samples in their Owner Satisfaction surveys. Large samples will mitigate the concerns you have about bias, unless the survey team intentionally injects bias, which is unlikely in their case.

I do have issues with their sampling of errors per thousand counts but that's a different kettle of fish.

The owner-satisfaction question simply asks readers if they would buy another of the vehicle they currently own. To me that is a pretty persuasive approach provided that the sample is large enough.



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