2009 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 V-6 SR5 TRD

As a person who enjoys doing small-scale outdoorsy work or towing the odd small camper, car, or boat, I really like "small" trucks like this Toyota Tacoma, the Nissan Frontier, and the Dodge Dakota, among others. Compared with their full-size kin, such pickups are generally more economical both in initial cost and upkeep, and they're more reasonable daily drivers. This particular Tacoma, however, sports a ton of options and costs nearly $8000 more than a base crew-cab Tacoma. I must admit, though, that its most costly option, a TRD off-road package, makes this Toyota a more desirable truck to me, as it's equipped with lots of four-wheelin'-friendly additions, such as a locking rear differential, skid plates, tow hooks, and an off-road-spec suspension. It's no Ford Raptor, but I'm sure this Toyota could get the job done on most trails that aren't super hard-core.

One option that was particularly annoying were the $399 running boards, which are only a few inches below the truck's floorboards and seem to work best as pantleg scuffers and shin scrapers. The $119 bed mat, however, was so nice and clean that I plopped my infant daughter in the back for a quick photo opportunity.

Also, the Tacoma's decent-size back seats made it easy for me to safely plug her into her baby seat during transit. The Toyota's interior was generally functional, plain, yet attractive. Unfortunately, I found the driver's seat to be too flat, too firm, and simply not very comfortable. Luckily, the ride wasn't terribly harsh for a pickup.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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