Consumer Reports Predicts the 2018 Toyota Tacoma Will Be Unreliable, But What Does Its Own Data Reveal?
Consumer Reports has never liked the top-selling midsize pickup truck in America, the Toyota Tacoma. Opinions aside, Consumer Reports also reports on survey data from its huge pool of subscriber owners. The two don't seem to jive when it comes to reliability of this popular truck.
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In 2016, Consumer Reports listed the top-selling Tacoma as a "Worst Buy." In 2017, the Tacoma made the list again. In both the 2016 and 2017 summaries of the Tacoma, Consumer Reports rated the Tacoma just 1 out of 5 for predicted reliability (one being the lowest). Two full model years have passed, and two years of Consumer Reports reliability survey data have now been published. So how did the "Worst Pick" Tacoma actually turn out? Pretty good it seems.
Using our subscription to Consumer Reports, we looked at the breakdown of the Tacoma's reliability data for the 2016 and 2017 model year truck. There are 17 areas that Consumer Reports asks owners questions about. The publication calls these "Trouble Spots." The ratings results are shown as color-coded icons. A green double up arrow is the highest possible score. Of the 17 categories, the 2016 Tacoma earned the highest possible score in 13. Those included Major Engine, Major Transmission, Electrical System, and Suspension. In the four categories in which the Tacoma did not earn the highest possible rating, it earned the middle rating for Drive System, Body integrity, and In-Car Electronics. The Tacoma earned a second to lowest score for Transmission Minor. That issue had to do with rough shifting and was addressed by a TSB.
In 2017, the second year of this generation, which again, Consumer Reports had predicted the lowest possible reliability, the Tacoma improved. In the 2017 model year, the Tacoma earned the highest possible rating in 15 of the 17 categories. The Body Integrity and Drive System scores moved up to the highest rating. Transmission Minor moved up to the middle rating and In-car electronics moved up to the second-highest possible rating. Across the board, the nearly perfect Tacoma improved in all the areas in which it was not scored at the highest rating. Yet, Consumer Reports still keeps that 1 out of five predicted reliability rating in place for the Tacoma. Oddly, the Consumer Reports predicted reliability rating was a perfect 5/5 for prior model years Tacomas (such as 2015), despite those model years having lower actual scores than the 2017 Tacoma.
For the new 2018 model year, Consumer Reports again gives the Tacoma its lowest-possible predicted reliability rating, a 1/5.