Powerful. Capable. Adventure-ready.

Toyota Tacoma Review | CarMax

If you're looking for a midsize pickup with aggressive styling, off-pavement capability, and big towing capacity, the Toyota Tacoma could be the truck for you. The 2021 model, which is part of the third-generation introduced in 2016, has all the ingredients of an adventure-ready machine with two cab styles, six trims, three TRD variants, and new Nightshade and Trail Edition special releases. It's a great option for work or play!

While we currently do not have many 2021 Toyota Tacomas on our lots, we look forward to selling more in the future. If you love the 2021 model, you should also consider prior model years of the Toyota Tacoma with similar features.

Here's what you'll learn in this 2021 Toyota Tacoma review:

Key Specs and Features:


  • The 2021 Toyota Tacoma with 2WD, 2.7L engine, and automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined. 1
  • The 2021 Toyota Tacoma with 2WD, 3.5L engine, and automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined. 1
  • The 2021 Toyota Tacoma with 4WD, 2.7L engine, and automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg combined. 1
  • The 2021 Toyota Tacoma with 4WD, 3.5L engine, and automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg combined. 1
  • The 2021 Toyota Tacoma with 4WD, 3.5L engine, and manual transmission gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg combined. 1

Cargo Space:

Toyota Tacoma Review: Trunk | CarMax
  • Six-foot bed (Access Cab only)
  • Five-foot bed (Double Cab only)

Towing Capacity:

  • Toyota Tacoma towing capacity is an estimated 3,500 lbs. with the 2.7 four-cylinder on 2021 models, when properly equipped. 2
  • Toyota Tacoma towing capacity is an estimated 6,800 lbs. with the 3.5L V6 on 2021 models, when properly equipped. 2

Seating Capacity:

Toyota Tacoma Review: Front Seats | CarMax
  • Access Cab seats four passengers
  • Double Cab seats five passengers
Toyota Tacoma Review: Backseats | CarMax

Engine Options:

  • 2.7L four-cylinder with 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque (standard in SR and SR5 trims)
  • 3.5L V6 with 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque (available in SR and SR5; standard in TRD Sport and higher trims)

Tech Features:

Toyota Tacoma Review: Dashboard | CarMax
  • Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ capabilities
  • Eight-inch touchscreen display (SR5 and higher trims)
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Wireless device charging (TRD Sport and higher trims)
  • Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (Limited and higher trims)


The Toyota Tacoma has a strong sales history at CarMax. It has been featured in these ranking lists:

5 Reasons to Buy

1. Big V6 Performance

Toyota Tacoma Review: Engine | CarMax

The 2021 Tacoma starts with a 2.7L four-cylinder engine with 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque (standard in SR and SR5 trims), but the star of the show is its 3.5L V6. Available on the SR and SR5 and standard in TRD Sport and higher trims, this powerhouse generates 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque with lots of attitude to spare. Offered in 2WD and 4WD configurations, the 3.5L V6 can also connect to a six-speed manual transmission, if rowing through the gears is more your style. The 2021 Tacoma's 3.5L V6 offers an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined when equipped with 2WD and automatic transmission.1

2. 6,800-lb. Towing Capacity

Whether you need to tow a boat, camper, or pair of ATVs, the 2021 Tacoma has the power to bring your toys along. The Toyota Tacoma's towing capacity is an estimated 6,800 lbs. with the 3.5L V6 on 2021 models, when properly equipped.2 If you carry heavy loads, the Tacoma is not one to wimp out with an estimated 1,440-lb. payload capacity, too. Trailer-Sway Control is also included with the 2021 Tacoma's available Tow Package, which manages engine torque to help maintain control while hauling.

3. Serious Off-Roading Chops

Forge your path and seek out tougher terrain in the 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. Featuring a TRD Off-Road suspension with Bilstein® shocks and 2.5-inch FOX® Internal Bypass coilovers, this adrenaline-seeking Tacoma provides more ground clearance, plus maximum dampening so you can explore rugged topography beyond the map. Riding on 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels, this Tacoma sports aggressive styling with an iconic heritage grille and Rigid Industries® wide-angle fog lights. A TRD Pro skid plate also comes standard to protect mechanical components under the truck's front end, along with Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, and Hill Start Assist Control.

4. Slick Special Editions

Toyota Tacoma Review: Exterior | CarMax

For the 2021 model year, there are two special editions: the Toyota Tacoma Nightshade and Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition. With an emphasis on extra convenience and unique styling, the Trail Edition (available on SR5 Double Cab) adds 16-inch dark gray TRD Off-Road wheels and an upgraded grille, along with a 115-volt power outlet in the bed and lockable bed storage that doubles as a cooler. If you want a truck with a sleek look, the 2021 Tacoma Nightshade features black leather-trim seating, a darkened chrome grille, dark smoke 18-inch alloy wheels, and other shadowy accents. This special edition package is only available on the 2021 Tacoma Limited.

5. Premium Technology

Toyota Tacoma Review: Tech | CarMax

Inside every 2021 model, you'll find Tacoma's versatile audio multimedia system, which comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone capabilities, so your music, maps, and messages are close at hand. Using a compatible smartphone and the Toyota+Alexa app, you can also ask Amazon Alexa for the latest news, weather, and playlists without taking your eyes off the road (standard feature). Need help getting in and out of campsites? The 2021 Tacoma Limited's Panoramic View Monitor uses cameras on the front, sides, and rear of the truck to give you a 360-degree view of your surroundings. You'll also enjoy symphony-quality music from the JBL® audio system, which comes standard on Limited and TRD Pro trims.

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What You Need to Know

Available Trims

  • SR: Includes 16-inch steel wheels, five-foot short bed, fabric-trimmed seats, four-way power-adjustable driver seat, seven-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, and more.
  • SR5: Adds fog lights, six-foot standard bed, air conditioning, leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel, eight-inch touchscreen display, and more.
  • TRD Sport: Adds wide-angle fog lights, 17-inch machined alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, dual-zone automatic climate control, ten-way power-adjustable driver seat, and more.
  • TRD Off-Road: Adds 16-inch machined-contrast alloy wheels, gray grille with smoked finish and chrome surround, electronically controlled locking rear differential, and TRD Off-Road tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks.
  • Limited: Adds 18-inch polished alloy wheels, black-bezel LED fog lights, power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade, Panoramic View Monitor with camera, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and more.
  • TRD Pro: Adds 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels, Multi-Terrain Monitor with camera, black TRD Pro leather-trimmed heated front seats, TRD Off-Road tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, TRD-tuned off-road suspension with 2.5-inch FOX Internal Bypass coilovers, and more.

Available Colors

  • Army Green
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Cement
  • Lunar Rock
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Silver Sky Metallic
  • Super White
  • Voodoo Blue
  • Wind Chill Pearl (premium color)


  • Infotainment system with touchscreen display, three USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, and more
  • JBL audio system (Limited and TRD Pro trims)
  • Leather upholstery (Limited trim)
  • Power tilt/slide moonroof (Limited trim)
  • Five-passenger seating (Double Cab models)

Average CarMax Prices

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a newer model year and we currently have a limited number in our inventory. See below for average CarMax prices for previous model years of the Toyota Tacoma.

  • 2011 — Average prices less than $20,000 3
  • 2012 — Average prices less than $18,500 3
  • 2013 — Average prices less than $21,000 3
  • 2014 — Average prices less than $22,040 3
  • 2015 — Average prices less than $23,000 3
  • 2016 — Average prices less than $25,000 3
  • 2017 — Average prices less than $28,000 3
  • 2018 — Average prices less than $29,500 3
  • 2019 — Average prices less than $30,500 3
  • 2020 — Average prices less than $29,500 3

Similar Model Years

If you like the 2021 Toyota Tacoma, check out some previous model years of this vehicle with similar features.


The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is rated overall 4/5 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

Similar Vehicles

If you're interested in the 2021 Toyota Tacoma, you should also check out these similar vehicles from previous model years.

Toyota Tundra

If you're looking for a full-size truck with standard V8 power and roomy rear seating, you'll love the Toyota Tundra's big performance and cabin. 2017–2019 SR and SR5 trims use a 310-hp 4.6L V8 with 327 lb-ft of torque while Limited and higher trims up the ante with a 5.7L V8 that generates 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Whether hauling toys or equipment, the 5.7L has all the guts you need with an estimated towing capacity of 10,200 lbs. on 2017–2019 models, when properly equipped.2 With 42.3 inches of rear-seat legroom in 2017–2019 CrewMax cabs, your passengers will have plenty of stretch-out space. Standard features on the 2017–2019 Tundra SR include:

  • 18-inch styled steel wheels
  • Black heated power outside mirrors
  • 40/20/40 split fold-down front bench seat
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Entune™ Audio with 6.1-inch touchscreen

Toyota 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner is a tough body-on-frame SUV with a powerful engine and aggressive styling earning it some serious off-road cred. All 2017–2019 4Runners run off a 4.0L V6 that makes 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque and can tow an estimated 5,000 lbs. when properly equipped.3 Inside the cabin, the 2017–2019 4Runner features seating for five occupants, but an optional third-row expands capacity to seven passengers. Boasting an optional sliding rear cargo deck and 88 cu-ft of maximum cargo volume in 2017–2019 models, the 4Runner has lots of storage space for camping equipment or climbing gear. Standard features on the 2017–2019 4Runner SR5 Premium include:

  • Heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators
  • SofTex®-trimmed heated front seats
  • Eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen display
  • Entune Premium Audio with navigation system

Honda Ridgeline

If you're shopping for a comfortable crew cab that can carpool, lug equipment, and tailgate all in the same day, the Honda Ridgeline has your name on it. 2017–2019 models feature a 280-hp 3.5L V6 and a fully independent suspension that gives the Ridgeline an easy-riding feel as it motors around town. With room for five passengers, you'll have space for the whole family or you can flip up the 60/40 rear seat for extra cargo versatility. A standard dual-action tailgate swings to the side or lowers for easy access and there's a Bluetooth-enabled truck bed audio system to listen to the game (2017–2019 models). If you're craving a stylish, top-of-the-line truck, you'll love the Black Edition's standard features, which include the following on 2017–2019 models:

  • 18-inch black-painted alloy wheels
  • Black Edition badging
  • Crystal Black Pearl paint
  • Perforated black leather-trimmed seats with red under-fabric and red stitching
  • Red ambient LED lighting

The Bottom Line

In every trim level, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a mighty midsize truck that can hold its own on the pavement or off the beaten path. With two body styles, six trims, and two special editions to choose from, the Tacoma matches its aggressive looks with serious brawn to help you tackle challenges both on and off the clock.

Looking to learn more? Take a look at these related articles:

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.
2Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
3Based on prices on carmax.com from January 2, 2019 through June 4, 2020. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarksTM or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.