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Best-selling Toyota Tacoma adds value, versatility for 2012

The wildly popular Toyota Tacoma made its debut today as a 2012 model. Even in a gasping economy, the Japanese juggernaut has traditionally been the best-selling compact pickup truck in America, blowing out its closest competitor on the showroom floor by a 2-to-1 margin with annual sales of more than 106,000 units.

The reason for the 2012 Toyota Tacoma's continued success with discerning buyers could be because it is offered in so many configurations and models and prices and has diverse and relevant standard equipment.

Unlike most of the 2012 Toyota lineup, whose prices came out last month, no MSRPs for 2012 Tacoma models were announced today. But 2011s have sold from somewhere between $17,000 and $28,000, depending on how they have been equipped.

Toyota continues an emphasis on customer choice with the 2012 Tacoma. The new truck has a new, more aggressive fascia and can be ready for the road with a 4- or 6-cylinder engine and with 2- and 4-wheel drive drivetrains.

The 2012 Tacoma engines are a 2.7-liter Dual Overhead Cam 4-cylinder (159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft. of torque) and a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 (236 horsepower with 266 lb-ft. of torque). Both engines deliver strong torque.

The Tacoma's V6 is joined with either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinder pickups have either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic trans. Max tow capacity is 6,500 pounds.

Standard equipment includes what Toyota calls its Star Safety System (Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Smart Stop brake override technology), 3-point seat belts, side airbags, roll-sensing side curtain airbags with cutoff switch and a front advanced dual-stage airbag system.

All Access Cab and Double Cab models add as standard fare "active headrests" for the front seats. They move up and forward during a collision to keep your head safer.

There are a billion things that are new on the Tacoma for 2012. Let's look inside.
The 2012 Toyota Tacoma has a revised exterior and an upgraded interior to add comfort, functionality and what Toyota calls "audio / infotainment" performance.

The 2012 Tacoma exterior has a new hood, grille, headlamps and front bumper. Also new or freshened: The center-instrument panel design, gauge cluster, steering wheel and center stack that adds redesigned air conditioner / heater controls and Power Point locations.

It doesn't stop there. There's a new black high-contrast center console, switch-plate covers and dash and upper door trim.

The 2012 Tacoma (pictured) also offers new heavy-duty all-weather flooring on Access and Double Cab models. New on the TRD Sport Package are side mirrors with turn-signal lamps and chrome-clad 18-inch wheels as an option.

All 2012 Tacomas add larger, higher-resolution displays for the back-up camera, a new temperature gauge, an optional rear-view mirror with compass and HomeLink, vanity lamps added to sun visors, an additional overhead storage compartment and, on Access Cab models, a new rear-console storage box.

Many specialty Tacoma models have improvements. The SR5 grade features a new seat-fabric design and the TRD Sport and Off-Road models offer new water-resistant fabric-protection seats.

How good is this truck? The Tacoma was “Most Dependable Midsize Pickup” in the J.D. Power & Associates 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study and Intellichoice called it a “2011 Best Overall Value” in the compact pickup segment.

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma comes with a 36-month / 36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty.

You can reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected] or (248) 747-1550. Follow Hawke on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: Toyota

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