The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2019 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 TRD Sport midsize pickup.

DOWN THE ROAD: The power train continues to offer a composed ride while absorbing the bumps of rough surfaces with skill and sure-footedness.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine, which is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, cranks out 278 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 265 pounds-feet of torque at 4600 rpm. Suspension is handled competently via an independent coil spring double wishbone front and a leaf spring rear. The electric power rack-and-pinion steering has a solid and communicative feel, making the pickup easy to place at sharp curves. Tow capacity is a laudable 6,400 pounds.

LOOK & FEEL: Projector-beam headlights with LED daytime running lights surround a gray grille with smoked finish and chrome surround and color-keyed hood scoop, power-out mirrors and door handles. TACOMA stamped in all caps in the rear is an instant giveaway that this is indeed a midsize truck from Toyota. Climb into the cabin and you will not find a reason to complain about seating space. Traditional gauges for speedometer, tachometer, fuel and engine oil pressure are easy to read. The center stack of audio and climate knobs is within convenient reach of the driver. A dial on the dash offers the option of 2WD, 4L and 4H. There also is an adjustable tie-down cleat 6-foot-long bed to easily haul your purchases from the neighborhood home store. The power-slide rear window can be handy. Other customary amenities include a/c, leather tilt/telescopic steering column and shifter, adaptive cruise control, 7-inch touchscreen for nav, phone and audio controls, power windows/door locks, push-button start, 4-way front and 60/40 rear seats, wireless phone charger, easy lower-and-lift lockable/removable tailgate and overhead console.

SAFETY FIRST: Dual front airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability, traction and trailer sway controls, rearview camera, smart-stop technology, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system come at no cost. The standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 includes a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure assist and dynamic cruise control.

OUT THE DOOR: $37,075, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges; price as tested is $42,430.

BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P265/65/R17; wheelbase, 140.6 inches; length, 225.5 inches; weight, 4,480 pounds; fuel capacity, 21.1 gallons; city, 18 mpg; highway, 22 mpg; Web site,

WHY DIG IT: So, why should you buy the Tacoma? Well, it is not a full-size pickup but serves the purpose of one with commanding cargo and towing capability, and adequate fuel efficiency while delivering a no-frills ride, even off the beaten path!

CALLING ALL TOYOTA DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at