Are Tacomas Still Reliable?


Known for being one of the more reliable car brands out there, Toyota has been beloved for years. Even though the brand itself has a record of reliability, not all of its models live up to the reputation.

First and second-generation (1995-2004, 2005-2015) Toyota Tacomas have all received great reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. However, the third generation (2016-2021) has had mixed results. The 2016-2018 Tacomas did poorly in reliability ratings, but 2019-2021 have done well.

Each year has come with its own ups and downs. Here we will look at the reliability ratings for the past ten years of Toyota Tacomas.

Determining Reliability

A reliable car is generally considered a vehicle that rarely breaks down or needs repairs beyond regular maintenance.

Consumer Reports

One of the most used resources for checking a car’s reliability is Consumer Reports. They collect data on how well each year of a model has done in holding up over time and the odds of needing maintenance and repairs over time.

Every 12 months, Consumer Reports sends out Auto Surveys to their members to learn of any problems they had with their vehicle that year (covering 2000-2020 models). A list is sent out with the survey covering various trouble areas that could have caused problems for them. The member checks off any area that was problematic and indicates whether they felt it was a serious problem and if it was covered by warranty (not due to accident damage or recall).

J.D. Power

Another resource for comparing car reliability is J.D. Power. They also send out surveys each year, but their’s focus on car owner’s experiences specifically over the first three months of ownership and over the first three years of ownership. Their reliability rating “measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners [and] covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system.” They then factor in the reliability, driving experience, dealership experience, and resale value to determine the vehicle’s J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

The Last Ten Years of Toyota Tacomas

2021

Consumer Reports has not finalized this vehicle’s rating yet, but it is projected to receive a 3/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle a 77/100 (average) in Quality and Reliability and 78/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2020

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 5/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle a 77/100 (average) in Quality and Reliability and 78/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2019

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 4/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle a 79/100 (average) in Quality and Reliability and 80/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2018

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 1/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle a 76/100 (average) in Quality and Reliability and 79/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2017

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 3/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle a 79/100 (average) in Quality and Reliability and 80/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2016

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 3/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle a 76/100 (average) in Quality and Reliability and 80/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2015

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 5/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 85/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 83/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2014

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 5/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 80/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 81/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2013

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 5/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 86/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 84/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2012

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 5/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 84/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 84/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2011

Consumer Reports gave this vehicle a 5/5 reliability rating.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle a 79/100 (average) in Quality and Reliability and 81/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

Are Tacomas Still Reliable?

Depending on which source you look at, the last decade of Toyota Tacoma models is still fairly reliable. The J.D. Power ratings stayed within 76-86 points of each other in regards to the Quality and Reliability ratings, never dropping below “average.” However, the Consumer Report ratings jumped around significantly in the newest years from 1/5 to 5/5.

Overall, Tacomas are not unreliable vehicles (although, according to Consumer Reports you should not buy a 2018 Tacoma) but like any make and model, there are better years than others. The 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Tacomas did great in both surveys and the 2019 and 2020 Tacomas received favorable ratings from Consumer Reports. Unfortunately, none of the third generation Tacomas could make it to the “great” rank in Quality and Reliability from J.D. Power.

The jury is still out on the future reliability of Toyota Tacomas. The 2016-2018 models may have simply been outliers in the great legacy of Tacomas, or this generation’s average ratings could be the new normal. Considering the 2019 and 2020 Tacomas were able to come back to high standings with Consumer Reports, there’s a good chance we can keep expecting Toyota Tacomas to be relatively reliable vehicles.

Other Reliable 4WD Trucks

Even though Toyota Tacomas have a large following behind them and are fairly reliable, remember they are not your only option for reliable 4WD trucks. Here are four new generation 4WD trucks that are just as, if not more, reliable than Toyota Tacomas:

 2020 GMC Sierra 1500

This vehicle has a 3.5/5 reliability rating from U.S. News.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 86/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 87/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2020 Toyota Tundra

This vehicle has a 4.5/5 reliability rating from U.S. News.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 88/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 85/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2020 Ram 1500

This vehicle has a 4/5 reliability rating from U.S. News.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 85/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 83/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

2020 Honda Ridgeline (Compact Pickup Truck)

This vehicle has a 3.5/5 reliability rating from U.S. News.

J.D. Power gave this vehicle an 81/100 (great) in Quality and Reliability and 81/100 for the J.D. Power Consumer Verified Rating.

Will Turner

Will has an absolute passion for 4x4s and loves discovering all of the small details about each model. Will joined the Four Wheel Trends team in early 2021 and has been a valuable contributor ever since!

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