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    Resources — toyota tacoma

    2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Ford F-150 - How Do They Compare?

    2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Ford F-150 - How Do They Compare?

    The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best mid-sized trucks in America. Ford rereleased the Ranger, and it is a very good side by side competitor to the Tacoma. However, the Tacoma has the ability to run with the big dogs, and the F-150 is one of them.

    How does Toyota’s best selling mid-sized truck stack up against Ford's flagship of the highest selling truck line for 40 years?  Let’s find out.

    The Tacoma first came into the market in 1995. The F series trucks have been around since 1948, but the F-150 came about in 1976. Many things have changed for brands over the years so this focus will be on the newest 2020 models.

    * Options not available on all models

    ** Up to, with applicable packages/options

    Trims, Sizes, and Prices

    The Tacoma offers six trim levels (SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro) and the F150 offers seven (XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited, and Raptor). The Ford’s F150 trims are all much higher priced than the Tacoma, but there is a size difference between the two models that are notable.

    Both trucks offer two rows of seating. Depending on the trim, each truck offers three different bed lengths. The F150 offers a much longer bed, coming in at two feet longer over the longest Tacoma offering. However, that does give the F150 a much bigger footprint. If you want a smaller overall truck, the Tacoma would be a better option.


    Toyota offers two well-proven engines that make respectable power and are known to be quite reliable. While the Ranger gives you an option of just one engine, the F150 offers six. That seems like a bit of an overkill, but I guess you get plenty of options, including a V8, turbo diesel, and two well-proven and versatile versions of the V6 Ecoboost.

    The F150 offers substantially more horsepower, even with its smallest engine. The biggest power plant of the Tacoma (a 3.5L V6) makes 278 horsepower, while the 2.7L in the Ford makes 375. Granted, that is a turbo. The 3.0L turbo-diesel does only make 250 horsepower, but it’s in a different category than the Tacoma doesn’t have a direct competitor for. Torque is also a big difference all around with the Ford making more, aside from the 3.3L V6 making the same 265 as the 3.5L V6 in the Tacoma.

    Tacoma offers a six-speed manual and automatic. The F150 also offers a six-speed manual, but only in very few configurations. Most of the time you’ll find it with its ten-speed automatic. That allows the Ford to crank out a couple more miles per gallon in its best configuration over the Toyota’s best configuration regardless of its size and weight.

    Towing and Off-Road

    The F150 offers a much greater towing and payload capacity. Again, the engine options for the Ford offer more power, and the truck is physically bigger, so that’s no surprise. What the Tacoma can offer is an industry-standard for its size.

    Tacoma and off-road go hand in hand. The TRD Pro is built for it, and there are package options for the other trims. Not enough from the factory? The aftermarket for the Tacoma is extremely vast. Ford is no slouch with its Raptor. Built from the ground up to tackle the rugged terrain, and to do it at speed, the Raptor has been known for years as Ford’s off-road machine. That all comes with a price though: $10,000 over the cost of a TRD Pro. Both trucks handle off-roading well when properly equipped.

    Colors and Interior

    Colors and interior options are pretty equal. Both can offer a very luxurious feel, or a rugged and basic work appearance. Ford has been doing very well with its Sync system, but Toyota is rolling out plenty of electronic features for the 2020 year.


    The Tacoma can hold its own very well against the full-sized F150. However, it is important to keep in mind that not everything can be directly comparable. Sizes and power options make both trucks handle and option out differently. Both are good trucks, but personal needs and brand loyalty will help you find the best truck for you.

    2020 F-150 - Courtesy of Ford

    2020 F-150 - Courtesy of Phil Long Ford

    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Mud Flaps

    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Mud Flaps

    Mudflaps are a fantastic option to help your truck stay cleaner, avoid rock chips, and they also offer a unique avenue for some extra customization. Not only do they protect your ride, but they protect cars and pedestrians behind you from flying rocks and debris that you might kick up.

    If for nothing else, they break up the curves and lines of your truck and add some extra dimensions to your ride. Which mud flaps are best for your Toyota Tacoma? Let’s learn a bit about them, take a look at some styles and options, and get you the best ones that work for you.

    Front and Rear Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps are known for being seen behind the rear tires in vehicles, especially big rigs, but on passenger vehicles, they are very common upfront too. On big rigs and box trucks, they are pretty much designed to just stop rocks from hitting cars behind them, but on passenger vehicles, they help protect your ride. 

    Rocks can be kicked up and easily chip away at the paint on your fenders, doors, bumpers (rear), rocker panels, and running boards/steps. With mud flaps extending below the end of the wheel well both front and back, they will help deflect what your tires might kick up.

    Pre-Drilled vs Not Pre-Drilled Mud Flaps

    The inside of wheel wells on modern vehicles has plastic or rubber inner fender liners. These bolt to the fender of the car, and generally do so with plastic retainer clips. Pre-drilled mud flaps take advantage of this! If you get one specifically made for your ride that’s pre-drilled, you’ll find that the holes line up perfectly with the existing holes in your fender/fender liner. You won’t need to worry about having to drill into your new mud flaps or truck. Depending on the thickness of the flap, you can either use the existing retaining clips, or the flaps will come with new ones.

    Mud Flap Materials

    The material that a mud flap is made out of is key. They are designed to be beaten by rocks, mud, and dirt, so they have to be strong. The most common material mud flaps are made out of is rubber. Rubber can be thick and dense, but when hit, the material will rarely chip or crack. It will absorb the energy of what hits it, and deflect the debris away.

    Another good reason for rubber is flexibility. If you have longer mud flaps and you plan on doing off-roading, you want something that will not snap off when crawling over a rock. Over time, rubber flaps may get brittle depending on quality. 

    Mud flaps can also be plastic, but if they are, they should be shorter, and of higher quality material such as a polymer. As I mentioned about the flexibility, a long, plastic mud flap could have a tendency to snap if under the correct conditions. This leads me to my next category…

    Mud Flap Sizes

    Mud flaps can be really short, or longer. Typically from the factory, most vehicles come with short mud flaps. Visually, they are more acceptable to a wider audience. Keep in mind that not everyone buys a truck because they intend on using it as a truck. Short flaps don’t offer as much protection, but they are better than nothing. They can offer a nice color contrast while not being too obtrusive to the lines of your truck.

    Longer mud flaps are best when you plan on driving on rougher or dirt roads. They offer more protection to your truck, as well as to the people and vehicles around you. They also offer more versatility for customization which I’ll talk about now…

    Mud Flap Customization

    With the right size and material, you can get some serious customization done. Laser engraving, chrome plates and silhouettes, text, and more. The most common would be brand names or logos, truck make or model names or logos, and of course the chrome silhouette of an attractive woman.

    Weighed vs Non Weighted Mud Flaps

    Weighted mud flaps offer a metal piece on the bottom of a rubber/flexible mud flap to keep them hanging down. This is beneficial because when your truck is in motion, a flexible mud flap might tend to rise up in the wind, which would remove a good amount of protection. A weight helps avoid this.

    Mud Flaps For Toyota Tacomas

    Now that we know about mud flaps, what works well on our trucks? Here are some examples based on reviews and high mentions in the forums. Find what works for you, and protect your investment!

    A popular option comes from WeatherTech. They are $40 for the front or back or $80 for the pair. They are long flaps made from a proprietary thermoplastic resin and are easily installed. Backed with a limited lifetime warranty, they will keep your ride safe.

    I have mentioned Husky Liners before, and for good reason: they make good stuff. While a tad pricey from $155 to $166, you can get different sizes, and they are weighted. The weights can be in black or chrome.

    If you're tight on cash but are still hoping for a great pair of mud flaps, RekGen makes a decent looking and decent performing minimalistic flap. Lots of Taco owners are sporting these in the forums and I also have a pair on my Tacoma. These run less than $100 for a complete set.

    If you want to keep your truck as Toyota as possible, you can get OEM Toyota Tacoma mud flaps. For around $70, they are inexpensive for all four. For the specific ones listed, your Taco does need to come with fender flares.

    If you really want something fancy, SharpTruck sells Gatorback mud flaps from $147 to $450. These weighted, no-drill flaps are made of thick rubber and have a metal plate at the bottom. 

    Image Credits

    WeatherTech - Courtesy of TacomaWorld User MuddyTacos91

    Gatorback - Courtesy of SharpTruck

    Pavement - Courtesy of CarID

    RekGen - Courtesy of RekGen.com

    * Please note that some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.

    2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Chevy Colorado - How Do They Compare?

    2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Chevy Colorado - How Do They Compare?

    The iconic battle in history has always been Ford vs Chevy. However, with Ford dropping the Ranger (until recently) and Chevy dropping the S10 entirely, the midsized/compact truck market battle between the two big American brands became no more. The Toyota Tacoma not only stepped up to the plate, it owned it.

    Tacoma has been one of the fastest-growing midsized/compact truck brands. Many other manufacturers have found themselves playing catch up to the very versatile and well-performing Taco, including Chevy with its Colorado. So how does the Tacoma stack up against its Chevy equivalent? Let’s find out.

    The Tacoma first came into the market in 1995, while the Colorado had some time to sit back and watch its competition by coming out in 2003. Many things have changed for brands over the years so this focus will be on the newest 2020 models.

    * Options not available on all models

    ** Up to, with applicable packages/options

    Trims, Sizes, and Prices

    The Tacoma offers six trim levels (SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro) and the Colorado offers five (Base, WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2). All of the Colorado trims are thousands of dollars cheaper. The base model alone for the Colorado is almost a $5,000 difference.

    Both trucks offer seating for four and have options for extended cabs and crew cabs depending on the trim level. With both trucks, you have the options of some type of long or short bed depending on the trim level. Both beds are basically the same size, with the Colorado being just slightly longer with both bed options. At their heaviest, the Colorado comes in at around 400 pounds heavier.


    Toyota offers two engines in the Tacoma, both with respectable power and torque. The Colorado also offers a four and six-cylinder engine with its four being .2 liters smaller and the six being .1 liters larger. The Colorado cranks out more power and torque compared to the Tacoma, but where the Colorado really has an edge is in its diesel option.

    For best gas mileage and best towing capacity compared to the Tacoma (or even Ford Ranger), Chevy’s 2.8L Turbo-Diesel is an absolute winner. With over 100 more foot-pounds of torque and over 7 more miles per gallon, the 2.8L is a very versatile option to have for someone who really needs to treat their truck as a work truck.

    Both trucks offer six-speed automatic transmissions that get them decent mileage for the size and weight. The outliers would be the fact that Toyota offers a six-speed manual, and Chevy offers an eight-speed automatic, but both brands only allow those options on certain trim levels and engines.

    Towing and Off-Road

    Both offer the same base towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, and both trucks handle it very well. With the proper options, however, the Colorado can tow a maximum of 900 pounds more compared to the Tacoma. The Tacoma does offer a higher payload weight.

    Both trucks are very capable when it comes to off-road. The Tacoma is known for tackling rocks and dirt. While the Colorado doesn’t have as long of a history of doing so, it’s no slouch. Both make use of locking differentials, electronic assistance, better suspensions, and clearance. Tacoma has a slightly better aftermarket due to its time in the market.

    Colors and Interior

    There is almost a color for everyone with both brands. CJ Pony Parts reports that while both interiors are nice, the Colorado is a bit nicer. Toyota did step up its game substantially with 2020 adding more creature comforts and electronics that the Colorado offered previously. The biggest difference is that the Colorado is still a good deal cheaper compared to similar interiors in the Tacoma.


    The Tacoma has been the king for years. With some newer kids on the block (Ranger and Colorado), there has been a bit of catch up that Toyota needed to do. The Chevy offers more engine options all with more power and torque, and it has a higher towing capacity. Toyota offers a high payload capacity and lighter overall weight. Both perform very well with their assigned tasks. Brand loyalty, price, and style will be your deciding factor. Let’s see where the future takes us with this battle! 

    Image Credits

    2020 Tacoma 1 - Courtesy of CNET

    2020 Tacoma 2 - Courtesy of AutoBlog

    2020 Colorado 1 - Courtesy of Ruddell Auto

    2020 Colorado 2 - Courtesy of Autotrader

    Toyota Tacoma - The History of America's Favorite Mid-Sized Pickup Truck

    Toyota Tacoma - The History of America's Favorite Mid-Sized Pickup Truck

    Toyota Tacoma sales continue to grow year after year. Why not? They are one of the best mid-sized trucks on the market. They come from a reliable and well-trusted company, and the trucks can do everything from daily commuting, casual off-roading, aggressive overlanding, towing, and just about whatever else you can throw at it.

    Where did the Tacoma start, how did it change, and how did it grow? Let’s find out with a bit of history on the trucks we’ve come to know and love.

    First Generation Tacoma (1995 - 2004)

    The Tacoma first came to the US market in February of 1995. The Tacoma was replacing the Toyota Hilux which was a pickup that ran in the US for decades. Japan realized that Americans and Canadians used trucks differently compared to the rest of the world. While just about every other country used trucks for utilitarian purposes, North America used them for work and pleasure. The first generation Tacoma was designed with that in mind. It was going to be focused on handling, driving comfort, and safety over utilitarian nature.

    What does Tacoma mean? It’s from the Salish Indian word for the mountain that provided water to their tribe (later changed to Mount Rainier). The name suggests images of strength and power. More information on Toyota’s names can be found here.

    Design work started in 1990 at Calty Design Research in California. When released, there were three engine options: a 2.4L and 2.7L four-cylinder, and a 3.4L V6. They got 26, 20, and 21 MPG respectively, and 142, 150, and 190 horsepower respectively.  Four-speed automatics and five-speed manuals were available, depending on the model, two or four-wheel drive, and cab size. Extended cab models featured a 6-foot bed while crew cab models received a 5 foot 5-inch long bed.

    In 1998, Toyota offered the TRD Off-Road package on select models. It included a locking differential, and there was also was an aftermarket TRD supercharger that could be added to the 3.4L V6 bringing up the horsepower to 254. The PreRunner model was also released that year.

    The first generation lasted a good nine years from 1995 to 2004. During that time, there were two facelifts (1997 and 2000). The biggest mechanical changes over the years were in 1996 where the spark system changed to coil-on-plug design, and in 1997 when longer rear leaf springs were added. In 2000, the S-Runner trim package was released which included different shocks, bigger wheels, and a manual transmission.

    Sales were very good for the first generation, mainly with young buyers. At the end of the generation run, sales surpassed the Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakota, but the Ford Ranger was still ahead in the compact truck class.

    One major downside to this generation (1995 to 2000) was poor rustproofing. This led to a recall of about 800,000 trucks in 2008. Some frames were so bad that they had to be replaced. Later, about 150,000 models from 2001 to 2004 were recalled due to spare tires detaching from the vehicle.

    Second Generation Tacoma (2005 - 2015)

    Toyota started working on the second generation Tacoma in 2000, which was launched on October 18, 2004. It was larger, approaching the mid-sized market. The engine options went down to two (2.7L four-cylinder and 4.0L V6), but transmission options went up to four! The transmissions were both four and five-speed automatics and manuals. Power went up to 159 and 236 horsepower respectively.

    With that, three different cab sizes, and two different bed lengths, there were 18 different configurations that a person could order a Tacoma in. This really opened up the market to have a truck for almost any buyer.

    The S-Runner was released to replace the poorly selling X-Runner. It offered even bigger (18 inch) wheels, was lowered, and had a beefier street suspension. It was not for the dirt at all, but Toyota upped its TRD Off-Road package, even more, to make up for it which included hill assist, and locking/limited-slip differentials. The beds of all the trucks were upgraded to allow more versatile use of them.

    Through the second generation, there were a number of changes. 2006 made a lot of the optional 2005 features standard. 2007 and 2008 were the same as 2006 aside from some color options. 2009 offered a number of changes from added safety features, to the replacement of the mechanical differential to a new “Auto Limited Slip Differential.”

    Production location had a major change in 2010. After the economic crisis in the US and GM declared bankruptcy, all joint ventures between GM and Toyota ceased. One of the changes Toyota decided to make was moving all of the Tacoma production to one location in San Antonio, Texas where they would be built next to their bigger brothers: Tundra.

    More creature comforts were added in 2009 and 2010 including speakers, satellite radio, and more. Major cosmetic changes including the front bumper, headlights, grille, and hood came about in 2012 really updating the look of the truck. 2013 took the entertainment a step further with a touch screen but took certain features away such as the satellite radio unless you got a certain optional package.  In 2014, the new SR trim came about.

    Third Generation Tacoma (2016 - Present)

    Towards the end of 2015, Toyota rolled out its generation of Tacoma that we know and love today. While much of the styling concept carried over from 2014, there were many changes that gave the current generation a far more aggressive look such as the larger grille and chiseled body lines. Gone are the days of compact trucks. The market seems to demand “bigger and better,” so the Tacoma is now officially considered a mid-sized truck.

    The 2.7L carried over with the same 159 horsepower, but the V6 was changed to the 3.5L which made 278 horsepower. The five-speed manual carried over until 2017 but then was replaced with a six-speed manual. Of course, a six-speed automatic was available.

    Toyota really focused on the off-road and utilitarian use of the truck this time around but didn’t detract from the luxury amenities. Better steel and more of it was used, but improved technologies lightened the overall frame weight while increasing durability. The suspension and rear differentials were changed to be the best of both worlds on-road and off.

    In addition to the exterior, Toyota changed the interior dramatically with more creature comforts including a bigger touch screen, soft-touch material (replacing hard plastics), and leather options. There have also been substantial efforts to reduce cabin noise with an acoustic windshield, better-insulated doors, and more weather stripping.

    Six trim levels are now available with the third generation: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro.

    The TRD trims offer some really impressive features this time around. The Sport effectively replaces the S-Runner as the best model to have for on-road performance, while the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro really crush all off-roading needs.  I cover all of the models in high detail in my post about the different TRD models.

    The 2020 model received a bit of a facelift and offers more entertainment features and a much desired multi-way adjustable seat. The Ford Ranger came out with very impressive features and performance numbers, so we can expect even better things from Toyota to compete.

    Bonus Facts

    These trucks are reliable. Mike Neal from North Carolina has a 2008 Tacoma with over 1.2 million miles on it. There is a first-generation (1997) that has 533,973 miles on it. It was recently listed for sale for $1,500. It is very beaten up, but still going strong!

    A 2010 Tacoma named Polar holds two current world records for the fastest run to the South Pole. The truck was far beyond stock with a near $400,000 of aftermarket modifications. It was a great platform to start with!

    Image Credits

    Polar - Courtesy of New Altas

    First Generation - Courtesy of Consumer Guide Automotive

    Second Generation - Courtesy of IIHS

    Third Generation - Courtesy of Autoblog

    Third Generation 2020 - Courtesy of Autoblog