Why Consumer Reports Really Hates the 2017 Toyota Tacoma

Consumer Reports Calls 2017 Toyota Tacoma "Worst Buy"– Here’s What Really Bothers Them

Consumer Reports issues a confusing report panning the top-selling midsize truck in America. Here is a detailed breakdown on why the group dislikes the 2017 Toyota Tacoma.

Consumer Reports announced the ten worst vehicles in ten separate categories this past week and the 2017 Toyota Tacoma made that list. Consumer Reports says that their conclusions about which vehicles were the worst are based on scores across ten categories. The group says the conclusions are a combination of;
- Results From Its Owner Reliability Surveys
- Results From Owner Satisfaction Surveys
- Safety
- Consumer Reports Road Test Scores

That does not add up to ten, but it may not matter in the case of the Tacoma’s inclusion on the list of 10 worst vehicles to buy. Before we go too far, let’s break down the Tacoma’s results in the above categories as reported by the group itself, and in the case of safety, IIHS and NHTSA's findings.

Consumer Reports – Tacoma Owner Reliability Survey Results
In its summary of the Tacoma’s reliability survey results, the group uses color coded Icons that represent a score from “Better” to “Worse.” There are 17 categories. The 2017 model Tacoma is not shown, but the 2016 model, which has been on sale for about 18 months, is the same truck (same generation - no changes) and is rated. In the 17 categories, Tacoma Scored 13 “Better” icons, the highest possible rating. Those included both engine categories, Transmission Major, Electrical, Suspension, Brakes, and Body Hardware. In the remaining 4 categories, Tacoma scored the second highest icon possible for Transmission Minor and Drive System. In the last two remaining categories, the Tacoma scored the middle icon. Not a single red icon, not a single score below the middle icon. Consumer Reports lists an overall score above this list and it shows a double red icon. How this conclusion was reached is not explained. Below the chart there are the TSBs and recalls for this model listed in detail. There are none for the 2017 model or the 2016 model year. The Tacoma's prior two years summaries, 2015 and 2014 trucks, are almost entirely double green arrows and the Tacoma scores the highest icon overall.

There is more evidence that Consumer Reports got this call wrong when it comes to reliability. In the group’s review of the 2016 Tacoma (again, the same vehicle as the 2017), the reviewer says regarding the Tacoma’s Reliability “This beast of burden has a bulletproof reliability track record, a tough-as-nails chassis, and a durable composite-­plastic bed.” In the review summary, there are “Highs” and “Lows” listed. Under Highs, Consumer Reports wrote, “Fuel economy, resale value, reliability, off-road capability.” How can a vehicle with “Bullet-Proof reliability” which includes among its highs “reliability” also have poor reliability?

CR Owner Satisfaction Survey Results – Tacoma
In the video report below you will hear the narrator (who the author considers a friend) say that the Tacoma has “…only average owner satisfaction.” The problem is that this is incorrect according to Consumer Reports on-line summary of the Tacoma. In that summary, the 2017 Tacoma is listed as earning three out of five bars on the scale given, which is shown with the printed word “Good” above the scale. The Tacoma does not have “only average” owner satisfaction, it actually has earned a Consumer Reports score of “Good” regarding owner satisfaction. (More on pages 2 and 3)

There is one more problem with Consumer Reports conclusion and the summary of the Tacoma in the video below. In the video, it is said that, “…In the small truck category, it (Tacoma) rates as the worst…” The problem here is that in this segment, which includes the Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline, Consumer Reports has not fully evaluated all the vehicles. A close look at the Nissan Frontier’s summary on Consumer Reports shows that the group has not given the 2017 Frontier an overall score, and has not road tested the truck. Furthermore, its owner satisfaction results are shown as “Fair.” Predicted reliability is shown as “Average.” A comparison of the 2016 Frontier’s detailed owner reliability results shows that the truck has almost identical scores to the Tacoma’s. 14 green double arrows, two single green arrows, and an average icon. This earns the Frontier an “average icon” for overall reliability.

Consumer Reports Road Test - Tacoma
The Tacoma scored very low on the road test done by Consumer Reports. On-road the truck is not at all like most vehicles and may indeed be the “worst” of all the midsize pickups. However, 40% of all Tacoma buyers drive their new truck home with added off-road options. In its review, Consumer Reports mentions this, saying. “For off-roading adventures, the capable Tacoma has few peers.” The review also pointed out that the Tacoma is “…perfect truck for landscapers and contractors.”


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You have made a strong argument that consumer reports has a proven record of bias against the Tacoma. Either they do not understand its place in the market or they are willingly ignoring it. Regardless, they are not being objective and transparent. On the other hand, consumers seem to love the Tacoma and that is what ultimately matters.
If you consider CR a good source of information when shopping for a new truck, you deserve this level of ambiguity and outright bias.
Another anomaly – Consumer Reports, in my view, is always overrating Subarus. Subaru had/has a major engine oil consumption defect, with a resulting class action lawsuit, not mentioned in CR.
It makes me pretty proud to be part of TN for many reasons, but one is that we don't shy away from such topics. Denis' coverage here at TN on that issue has been outstanding. Thanks again for you comment Mark.
I wonder how much Chevy and/or Ford is paying CR to skew their results. It's obvious that their opinion is biased. CR has been bought out and worthless for years.
I drove each of the mid-size trucks last year and I was the most disappointed in the Tacoma. The writer seems biased toward the Tacoma. It is easy to see how they say Tacoma is reliable last year. They only have previous Gen data. The new data is worse. They give total scores based on comparison to other trucks. If everyone has lots of green, the one with a yellow gets the worse score. All trucks are more reliable than any 10 years ago. The gears constantly hunt and it doesn't accelerate well. I loved the Ridgeline but hate the look. GM hits the sweet spot. If you read through the forums, there are several key issues that Toyota isn't fixing or took too long to fix including not having enough fluids in the engine. That said, if they fix some of the issues during the next refresh I will get a Tacoma since I had one once and love the look.
2016 Tacoma has had many problems ranging from transmissions issues to electrical issues. it earned worse than average scores based on that alone. The best truck for 2016 is the Frontier and Titan both had relatively problem free years. especially the 2016 Frontier it came out of 2016 with very impressive reliability data
transmission problem vibrations problem electrical problem these were the main issues against the 2016 Tacoma Frontier 0 problems case closed Frontier for 2016 is the more reliable.
My '98 Tacoma Pre Runner V6 has 240k on it and probably has another 100k in her! dunno? maybe more? Now it's time to move into the 21st Century. My Brother has a new Honda Ridgeline, which is perfect for him and his family. But it's a Pilot with a cool bed in it. Very nice Dad-Truck, with a lot of great features and spacious interior, great Engine... However, for any Reliable off road ventures, I'd like to go with the TRD Tacoma. BUT Only if they can fix their current issues: Weak Engine Torque, same ole V6, kinda cramped interior, and those Rear-Diff TSB's...recalling virtually ALL of the 2016-and effected 2017's! Not a positive selling point for me, I can wait till the dust clears. Waiting for 2018 Tacoma Engine Specs. I'm also looking at the 4 Runner TRD, because they are built in Japan, sorry Texas Toyota but someone was texting instead of torquing. And eventually most Toyotas will be built south of The Wall, like everyone else. The cheaper costs for Toyota could effect their Quality and Reliability even more than now. I'll still have to pay 30-50k on a nice truck, but I bet it won't last 20 years like my '98. The '18 Colorado ZR2 looks promising, especially the 2.8L Turbo-Diesel! Full-size F-150 and Raptor, just too much truck for my needs and space. Not sure what to get now...
The 2016 and from what I understand the 2017 have a serious transmission/computer problem and this is very well documented. (maworld.com/threads/2016-6-cylinder-6-speed-automatic-erratic-shifting-and-drivability-problems) I had a 2005 for 11 years and was very happy with it. I traded it in for a 2016 tacoma and I am so unhappy now I will never buy another Toyota. Check out the web site and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
The link opens to a general page when I try it. Was it related to the TSB we reported on in this story (need to cut and paste) https://www.torquenews.com/1083/transform-way-your-2016-toyota-tacoma-drives-here-s-how