I thank my colleagues for doing the research that proves to me my suspicion: that the Tacoma is so close in price to a full-size Tundra, a much better-looking, powerful, and more comfortable and usable truck, that you might as well move up to the bigger truck. Yes, the Tundra with the smaller of its two available V-8 engines (4.6L) is rated at 14/19 city/hwy mpg whereas the Tacoma is rated at 16/20 mpg, but those differences aren't huge.
I agree with Phil Floraday that a small truck should be SMALL. Small in size, small in engine displacement, small in fuel consumption. Small. And they have moved away from that, blurring the distinction between them and the full-size models. What's the point?
That said, this Tacoma has its charms, including a firm suspension fashioned by Toyota Racing Development to make it a serious off-road machine but one which doesn't unduly beat you up on city streets. The brake pedal is overly firm and engages somewhat abruptly, but you get used to that. As others have noted, the running boards are silly and just impede ingress/egress. The driver's seat sits too low to the floor of the vehicle. The Tacoma itself is none too attractive in this Double Cab configuration, because it looks so badly proportioned: you've got this relatively large, boxy cab with this weirdly diminutive cargo bed hanging off the back. It just looks wrong.
What I do like about the Tacoma's size is that it makes the vehicle more maneuverable and easier to see out of and easier to park.
For what it's worth, I plopped ten 50-pound bags of softener salt into the bed of the Tacoma and it appreciably, and unsurprisingly, smoothed out the ride.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor