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William Maley

2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab SR5 V6 4WD

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By William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

February 8, 2013

At one time in the U.S. auto market, you had a wide variety of compact pickups to choose from. You could get a Chevrolet S-10, Ford Ranger, Nissan Hardbody, or a number of other pickups. But now there isn’t such a thing as a compact pickup. The last compact pickup truck, the Ford Ranger, said farewell in 2011. Other compact pickups have grown into what we now call the midsize class.

That brings us to the current crop of midsize pickups; the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. These two models make up the current selection of midsize pickups. But is that a good thing? Why are there only two models in the midsize pickups class? I recently had a 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab to find out.

Variety is the Spice of Life

The 2013 Tacoma comes in a variety of configurations to suit your needs. Whether you need a single cab with a four-cylinder engine or a crew cab with a V6 and off-road package, Toyota probably has a Tacoma for you. Our test Tacoma was a SR5 Access Cab, Toyota’s name for extended cab.

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Toyota has made some tweaks the Tacoma’s exterior in 2012, mostly in the front. There is a new grille, headlights, and bumper that help make the Tacoma’s 2005 design look somewhat newer. The Tacoma’s standard truck bed measures out at 73.5 inches long, which means the truck can handle a run to the hardware store to pick up supplies with no problem.

Stepping inside the Tacoma Access Cab, you do notice that it hasn’t aged very well. Despite Toyota’s best efforts to spruce it up by installing a new steering wheel, revising the graphics on the gauges, and changing the colors on the center stack, the interior feels like it has just rolled off the assembly line back in 2005. Materials are what you would usually find in most mid-size trucks, hard plastics in the usual places.

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However, the Tacoma’s interior does have some positive points. For starters, the dash layout is simple and the controls are within easy reach. The front seats are very comfortable with a good amount of adjustments and bolstering. Then there is the Access Cab which increases interior space and provides additional space. You can fit two people in the back in the jump seats, but only if they are small kids.

Power? Yes. Fuel Economy and Ride? Umm..

The Tacoma can be equipped with either a 2.7L four-cylinder or what our test Tacoma was equipped with, a 4.0L V6. I should explain Toyota uses two variations of the 4.0L in their Trucks and SUVs. For the Tundra and 4Runner, Toyota employs a 4.0L producing 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. In the Tacoma, Toyota uses the same 4.0L producing less power at 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet torque. Transmission choices for the Tacoma include a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic.

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The 4.0L V6 feels faster than what is indicated on the speedometer thanks to the bulk of torque being on the low-end and the automatic’s gearing spaced out to provide more performance. With an empty bed and dry payment, you can easily get a squeal from the rear tires. On the expressway, the V6 was able get up to speed very quickly and make passes with no sweat. I never thought that I needed the higher performing 4.0L in the week I had the Tacoma.

One item Toyota does need to address with the Tacoma’s 4.0L V6 is fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab SR5 V6 4WD at 16 City/21 Highway/18 Combined, which is similar to full-size pickups equipped V8 engines. During my time with the Tacoma, I averaged about 17.6 MPG.

The Tacoma’s suspension uses a double wishbone with gas-filled shocks in the front and leaf springs in the back. This setup provided a soft, yet very bouncy ride. I kept wondering if I was riding a mechanical bull and not a truck. I’m sure if the bed had a load, the bounciness would subside a bit.

One surprise of the Tacoma was its steering. Toyota uses a variable assist rack and pinion system and it provided an excellent amount of feel and weight. Combine it with smaller dimensions of the Tacoma and it is a breeze to maneuver around tight spaces.

There’s A Good Truck Here, But Needs Some Drastic Changes

The 2013 Tacoma Access Cab SR5 V6 has left me torn. On one hand, the Tacoma has a comfortable and straightforward interior layout, a punchy V6, and good maneuverability. On the other hand, the Tacoma gets about the same fuel economy as full-size trucks, an interior that feels very old, and the bouncy ride.

There’s another nail in the Tacoma’s coffin and that is the price. As tested, the Tacoma Access Cab SR5 V6 stickers at $30,580.00. At a glance, this seems somewhat reasonable. However with that same amount of cash, you could head down to your local Chevrolet, Ford, Ram dealer and get a full-size truck that is equipped similar to the Tacoma.

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Toyota is now at a point with the Tacoma where it has two options; either leave the Tacoma as-is or begin making some changes to full unleash the potential of this truck. Those changes include swapping the five-speed automatic for a six-speed automatic and seeing if they can squeeze some more fuel economy out of the 4.0L V6. I hope Toyota goes with the latter option since the midsize truck market could use a kick in the pants.

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Album: 2013 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab SR5 V6 4WD

18 images

0 comments

Disclaimer: Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline.

Year - 2013

Make – Toyota

Model – Tacoma Access Cab

Trim – SR5 V6

Engine – 4.0L DOHC 24V VVT-i V6

Driveline – Part Time Four-Wheel Drive, Five-Speed Automatic

Horsepower @ RPM – 236 @ 5,200 RPM

Torque @ RPM – 266 @ 4,000 RPM

Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/21/18

Curb Weight – 4,100 lbs

Location of Manufacture – San Antonio, TX

Base Price - $26,185.00

As Tested Price - $30,580.00 (Includes $895.00 destination charge)

Options:

SR5 Value Package - $2,335.00

V6 Tow Package - $650.00

Running Boards - $376.00

Six-Speaker, AM/FM/SirusXM/CD/MP3/WMA/Bluetooth/Aux/iPod Sound System - $300.00

Floor Mats and Door Sill Protector -$195.00

Exhaust Tip - $85.00

Daytime Running Lights - $40.00

First Aid Kit - $39.00

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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      Limited Tungsten Edition - $1,825.00
      Ram Box Cargo Management System - $1,295.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,095.00
      Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover - $595.00
      Anti-Spin Differential Rear Axle - $435.00
      Single Disc Remote CD Player $345.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $295.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $95.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It feels somewhat weird to be writing a review of the 2018 Ram 1500 as the 2019 model begins to slowly roll out to dealers. Ram is trying their best get the 2018s out the door. At the time of this writing, Ram is offering up to $12,356 bonus cash on certain 1500 models. Seems very tempting, but are there some other reasons to consider the older 1500 over the new one?
      Design is very subjective. One person may like the design of a vehicle, while the another may think it is quite ugly. Case in point, I’m not a fan of 2019 Ram 1500. The new shape makes the Ram look like any other pickup truck on sale. At least the 2018 model still retains the big-rig styling that was introduced with the 1994 Ram 1500. The front end is in your face with a large grille, square headlights, and muscular hood. The side profile shows off a set of 20-inch wheels standard on the Limited and the optional RamBox storage system. That isn’t to say the 2018 Ram 1500 doesn’t have design issues either. The Limited trim swaps the standard crosshair grille for one that features ‘RAM’ in big letters. It is just a bit much and doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the truck. Since our last review of the Ram 1500 in 2016, not much has changed in the interior. It still has one of cleanest layout for controls and material quality is quite high. Some will snicker at the belt-buckle seat pockets and a ‘Limited’ badge stitched in the center console, but thankfully those touches are only on the higher end models. I do wish Ram would put in a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel as it would make easier to find a comfortable driving position. The adjustable pedals alleviate this issue somewhat. One change I was glad to see was the newest version of UConnect being installed on the 2018 model. This brings an updated interface and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The new interface makes UConnect even easier to use with clearer text and brighter screen. Integration with Apple CarPlay is one the best as it only took a few seconds for the system to find my phone and bring up the CarPlay interface. If you decide to go with the Limited, the only engine on offer is the 5.7L HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive complete the powertrain. Those wanting other options will need to drop down to one of the lower trims. On paper, the HEMI V8 seems like a capable performer with close to 400 horsepower. On the road, the HEMI doesn’t quite match up to those expectations. Despite having a muscle car snarl when accelerating, the HEMI V8 is noticeably slower than competitors. As an example, the Ram 1500 took a few ticks longer to hit 70 mph than the previous GM or Toyota full-size trucks I have driven. I cannot pinpoint the possible culprit to this, but I have the feeling the truck’s curb weight and the eight-speed automatic play a role. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Ram 1500 with the HEMI V8 and four-wheel drive are 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. My average for the week landed at 14.7 mpg in mostly city driving. Ram still holds an edge when it comes to the ride quality. The coil-spring setup for the rear suspension gives the truck a ride quality more akin to a sedan with most bumps being smoothed over. This truck also came with an optional air suspension which lowers the truck at highway speeds to improve fuel economy. It also makes getting in and out of the Ram 1500 slightly easier. One item I hope Ram has improved with the 2019 model is the steering. The system used in the 2018 Ram 1500 is quite slow and light, meaning it takes more effort to do simple tasks such as pulling into a parking spot. The Ram 1500 Limited is only available in one configuration - Crew Cab, 5’7” cargo bed, 5.7L HEMI V8, and 4WD. Base price is $56,375, with our test truck coming in at $63,870. For most folks, I would recommend dropping down to the likes of the Big Horn or Laramie as they offer more configuration options in terms of powertrains, cabs, and features. Aside from the deep discounts being on offer for the 2018 Ram 1500, deciding whether to go for the old or new model will come down to personal desires. For some, seeing the various improvements and the shiny new body will draw them towards the 2019 model. For others, the deep discounts and being a proven product will bring them over to the 2018 model. I fall into the latter category at the moment, but it might change whenever I get the chance to drive the 2019 Ram 1500. Disclaimer: Ram Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Ram
      Model: 1500
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 5.7L HEMI VVT V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 395 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 410 @ 3,950 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17
      Curb Weight: 5,387 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $53,595
      As Tested Price: $63,870 (Includes $1,395 Destination Charge and $300 Suede Headliner Delete Credit)
      Options:
      Limited Package 26V - $3,200.00
      Limited Tungsten Edition - $1,825.00
      Ram Box Cargo Management System - $1,295.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,095.00
      Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover - $595.00
      Anti-Spin Differential Rear Axle - $435.00
      Single Disc Remote CD Player $345.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $295.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $95.00
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