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!
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