2016 Toyota Tacoma vs. Chevy Colorado
John Goreham's picture

2016 Toyota Tacoma vs. Chevy Colorado – Which Is More Truck at $40K?

We compare the two top-selling mid-size trucks on the market today to see what we can buy with $40K and not a penny more.

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado are the two best-selling mid-size trucks on the market. With Toyota selling about 18K trucks in April and Chevy topping 13K units, these are a couple of the best-selling vehicles in the country today. Both have shorter than average time on the dealer’s lot, and both Toyota and Chevy have the same important problem with these trucks that they are struggling to solve.

We opted to configure two premium versions of the Tacoma and Colorado to see how much truck one could get with the generous budget of $40K including MSRP and destination charges. To be certain that this price point was valid we reached out to truck expert Patrick Rall. He and I have both tested the Tacoma and Colorado, but Patrick uses trucks every day. You can see his unique reviews below that focus on working test trucks to the limit. We asked Patrick if this price point seemed logical, and he replied, "With a price point of $40k in a comparison between the Chevrolet Colorado and the Toyota Tacoma, you are able to heavily equip both trucks at very similar levels, thus seeing the best that each company has to offer from their midsized pickup." Here’s what we found.

Tacoma vs. Colorado – Body Styles
We selected the 2016 Toyota Tacoma with the 6-foot bed and larger Double Cab. This is the larger of the two choices on can make when building their Tacoma up. Likewise, we selected the Crew Cab, Long Box version of the Colorado.

  1. Check Out a Hard-Working Review of the Colorado Here
  2. Check Out a Hard-Working Review of the Tacoma Here

Drivetrains – Colorado vs. Tacoma
At $40K the V6 engine, automatic transmission, and 4X4 traction is available to buyers of the Colorado and Tacoma. Our Tacoma is, therefore, a TRD Sport and our Colorado a Z71. It is worth noting that without any added options the Colorado is already past $36K, and the Tacoma is right on $36K. Stop now and you have your matchup at this price point, but both trucks will be missing things many buyers want and need. Like a tow package for example.

Option Packages and Goodies
Toyota makes the selection of one’s Tacoma very easy at this point with four major packages to choose. We selected the one that added everything called, Premium and Technology Package with Options. This added the towing package, the technology package with Nav and driver aids like blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sonar. Toyota also adds heated seats, and a moonroof. The Hard tri-fold tonneau cover is included in the package as well, a nice feature.

Remember, all Tacomas have a bed liner standard, so this finishes off the cargo area. With a few bucks left in the budget, we added a bed step, a towing ball mount, a TRD performance air filter, all-weather floor mats and a front protection film for the hood and grill. One reason we did this is that we see a lot of dealers adding this stuff prior to sale. It makes the configuration more realistic. Our total Tacoma price tag is $39,851 including the $900 delivery fee.

Our Colorado Z71 options included the $495 Chevy MyLink radio with Nav option. We also added the pricey $1,195 cat-back exhaust upgrade. Next, we threw in the Bed Protection Package with drop-in bedliner and soft tonneau cover. We also added the Trailering Equipment and Tow Ball, all-weather Chevy logo floor mats, and chrome recovery hooks. Our total price including the $850 destination fee is $39,850. We came within a single dollar of equaling the prices.

We have one very important note. The Colorado in the bed configuration we chose and with 4X4 cannot come with the Duramax diesel engine for under $40K in case you were wondering. It jumps over the $40K mark with no options. Configure your Colorado Z71 with the Duramax and the same options as the Tacoma and you will pay at least $4K more for an equivalent truck. Wondering if you would make that money back in fuel costs? Here is the answer.

That said, when equally equipped, the Tacoma and Colorado are remarkably similar in their content at $40K. Both offer all of the things most truck buyers will want. However, Chevy has had a reputation for building in a bit more of a discount cushion than Toyota in the past. We are not sure that is true today with trucks selling off dealer lots in under two weeks. This comparison is a tie, and there is no bad choice.

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"This comparison is a tie, and there is no bad choice." As a former exclusive GM owner, and a current Toyota owner – two 2012 V6 4WD RAV4s – the choice is easy, Toyota. And I wasn't forced to bail out Toyota. With GM vehicles it was a hobby, not by choice, I was working on them or the dealer was. No more.
It's a tie now but resale value in the years to come will probably go to the Taco.