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Despite a light freshening for 2012, Tacoma was beginning to show its age at this point. Still, the utilitarian, practically bulletproof machine excels in hauling, towing, and off-road use—though not much else. The smooth and punchy V6 powertrain is a saving grace. Still though, for everyday driving or commuting, the Tacoma feels dated and uncomfortable.
Alerts
There are 7 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard from 2003. ESC standard from 2009. Side and head protection air bags standard from 2009.
Road Test

Despite a light freshening for 2012, Tacoma was beginning to show its age at this point. Still, the utilitarian, practically bulletproof machine excels in hauling, towing, and off-road use—though not much else. The smooth and punchy V6 powertrain is a saving grace. Still though, for everyday driving or commuting, the Tacoma feels dated and uncomfortable. Clumsy handling makes it a chore to drive and the unsettled ride is fatiguing. Ingress is tricky because of the cabin's high floor and low roof. These also severely compromise the driving position. The rust-free composite bed is a handy and practical feature. Limited cornering capabilities and long stopping distances contributed to its low score in our road tests.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
4WD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
extended cab
regular cab
crew cab
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 4-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2.7-liter 4 (159 hp)
  • 4-liter V6 (236 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Toyota Tacoma owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

“roof trim fell off while driving on hiway”

S H., MA (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Roof vinyl trim on passenger side blew off, was replaced under warranty”

Ronald E., MN (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Mirror not fully attached on driver's side”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“rubber molding between fender and body loosened”

Diana D., ME (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Trim covers area (on top of vehicle) where luggage mount brackets would be installed (we do not have bracket/mount)”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“Faded spot/places on drivers door and left side on hood. To be takes care of by Toyota”

Barry P., NC (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

“Coating on "step" area on rear bumper has peeled off and there is rust. It was never damaged in any way so I don't know how to explain”

Raymond S., NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

“paint corroding on body joints at rear wheel wells. Our access road is a mile long, rough, with many long-lasting puddles which may always throw water up from below and the car parts may not get to dry out”

Olaf V., KY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)
Rust

“Rust in the paint on all 4 doors near the windows”

Thomas K., WI (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Entire underbody is rusted. There was a Toyota recall on rusting frames that my vehicle was not included in”

Anonymous, WI (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

“water leak from some vent beneath rear window which was undiscovered until carpet mildewed and odor became terrible”

Cecil S., GA (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

“The windshield seal at the top vibrates and makes a crazy noise if it's windy and you're on the freeway. Many people have complained online about it”

Paul S., AZ (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

“Loud vibration and wind sound occurs around passenger door”

Anonymous, OK (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

“Rattles in the dash board area. Has rattled since the vehicle was a year old”

Anonymous, TN (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Seat belts in the back seat rattle. Also, in cold weather there is a rattle in the dashboard”

Mike S., TN (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

“Springs in rear make lots of noise on bumps. Dealer unable to locate/ fix problem. Other mechanic unable to find problem”

Anonymous, NH (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

“Rear window air leak”

Alan R., ME (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

“Noise prevails when driving at 65 MPH or more around the passenger door and passenger side of windshield. Dealer cannot locate cause or hear - while in warranty”

Anonymous, OK (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

“Wind noise with the extended cab seems to be a problem”

Rex A., MO (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“During high wind days while driving on the highway, there is an occasional low frequency noise which goes away after the gust of wind passes”

Robert M., AB (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

“It is an air pump assembly that clears the engine of exhaust after the engine is shut off. A valve stuck closed and a new assembly was required. $600. Strike one”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

“Cat had to be replaced under recall,but truck has ongoing ox sensor problems that dealer has not been helpful in fixing.These sensor problems were more than 12 months ago”

David N., OH (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

“The secondary air valves failed at around 70,000 miles. Apparently, this is a common problem with this model/year. Parts were around $500, the dealership wanted $1200 in labor. I am mechanically inclined and was able to replace the parts in about 2 hours”

Anonymous, KY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“The secondary air injection switching valves fail. Prevalent on only the 2012 models. Not covered under emissions warranty. Costly to have replaced. No help from Toyota”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Corrosion in intake system. Known problem with tundra but not frequent in Tacoma. Toyota covered fix because I had all the maintenance done at dealer”

Thomas B., CT (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)
Fuel cap

“It broke when tightening at about 30,000 miles. It was repaired under warranty”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Check engine light came on, took it to dealer diagnosed as fuel cap, replaced”

Anonymous, MO (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Air injection malfunction, engine code p2442, faulty product, known issue that Toyota will not recall. The part alone cost $1321. Total repair cost $1701”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner 4.0-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“Both front and rear sensors malfunctioned”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

“had to replace a rear u joint at 23000 miles. took one week”

S H., MA (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)
Driveline vibration

“Vibration when accelerating quickly”

Anonymous, WI (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

“Driveline vibration resolved after 8 visits to dealer. Finally a TSB repair was completed which replaced the 3 leaf spring with a 4 leaf spring and the driveline angles readjusted. This improved vibration but did not correct it completely. The driveline vibration is a known issue and Toyota refuses to acknowledge the issue. Extremely difficult process to get it repaired”

Anonymous, GA (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)
4WD/AWD components

“The care went into 4-wheel drive mode and could not come out. This was a noted defect, and it was repaired at no cost to me”

Jeffrey S., NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear bearings failed at around 75000. Seemed low mileage to me. Cost 1,500 to fix due to parts”

Thomas B., CT (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)
Differential

“Getting vibration, toyota changed the rear differential, still getting some vibrition though, maybe coming from driveshaft????”

Alain B., ON (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Rotational noise developed. The dealer rellaces ballbearings, covered by warranty”

Anonymous, PR (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)
Electrical failure

“On several occasions unable to shut off vehicle. Shut off key but vehicle kept running. Toyota is no longer "bullet proof". Quality has definitely declined in recent years”

Anonymous, NH (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Springs or torsion bars

“Truck vibrated going up through or descending down to 20 MPH. Dealer failed to address initially but eventually tried. After much pressure, Toyota offered a "fix". Problem diminished significantly after new leaf springs installed at a different (?)”

Raymond S., NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

“Broken Springs”

Anonymous, VT (2012 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner 4.0-L V6)
Steering wheel vibration

“Steering wheel shimmies between about 60 and 70 mph. Not noticeable below 60, and seems to diminish greatly above 80. Repeated tire rotations and balances seem to have no effect. I found lots of on-line forum chat about this issue with Tacomas”

Richard L., CA (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

“steering wheel and entire vehicle vibration from unknown cause but thought to be problem with the rear two piece drive axle. took vehicle to dealer on numerous occasions”

Michael C., CA (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)
Tire wear is uneven

“I assume that the tire wear issue is related to the steering wheel shimmy issue. Solution to both problems may be replacing all four tires for a fresh start; I also assume that this is why they sold me the truck”

Richard L., CA (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)
Shocks or struts

“Left front strut leaking. Replaced left and right at dealers suggestion. Chose the more expensive of two choices”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

“Linkage bound up had to be replaced”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

“Gas cap door fell off”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Window regulator has broken three times”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)
Locks and latches

“Gas cover snapped off armature”

Anonymous, CT (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

“When lowering the electric window, the plastic part around the control broke”

Mary A., TX (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)
Windows

“Driver side window is slightly off track inside door and makes a snapping sound (going into place) when traveling up or down. Repair is cost prohibitive”

Ronald J., SC (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

“Window on driver side started to stick when raised completely and then began to be pulled out of its mounting bracket in the motor arm assembly when vehicle operator attempted to lower the window”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Toyota Tacoma Unsure 4.0-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Condenser

“Pin hole leak; coolant lost; had to order part; delayed replacement of condenser. Was considered a factory defect”

Anonymous, SC (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)
Evaporator

“Slow leak causing loss of refrigerant. Dash removal to replace evaporator tied up vehicle for couple of days. Was considered a defective part”

Anonymous, SC (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)
A/C compressor

“Had to replace clutch on compressor, cost 1200.00”

Diana D., ME (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

“Lost freon over a several month period”

Mary A., TX (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen goes blank

“Display screen goes blank while heat is on. Radio then becomes unresponsive”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

“Will not play a plugged in I phone's music”

Anonymous, SC (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

“The Bluetooth system failed after two years. Have never been able to pair since that failure, so Bluetooth is inoperable and useless”

Anonymous, VA (2012 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner 4.0-L V6)
Speakers

“Two of the speakers sound terrible”

Anonymous, SC (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

“Alarm goes off momentarily when starter is engaged”

Anonymous, NV (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

“No auto shut over running the battery down on several occasions”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 2.7-L 4 Cyl)
Interior lights

“interior lights don't always work when door opened”

Bob F., HI (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“needed new fuse”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

“System failed to work. Required two visits to dealership and a new computer something to fix it”

Gordon A., ON (2012 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner 4.0-L V6)
Premature brake wear

“I felt that I should have gotten more than 40,000 miles before I would need new brakes”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

“Has been a problem since new. Doesn't matter which part you replace the end result is always the same. Brakes squeal constantly. Toyota service has been worthless”

Anonymous, DE (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

“early clutch failure due to sub standard LUK clutches used in this era Tacoma.Toyota refuses to recognize this epidemic”

Anonymous, NH (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

“truck has factory supercharger, stock clutch failed at 20k miles”

Nikolaus H., VT (2012 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner 4.0-L V6)
Torque converter

“Replaced by toyota”

Michele Y., BC (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

“Entune simply never worked in my car accept for navigation and music. The other apps never connected despite going to the dealership twice. Total waste of money”

Christopher C., CO (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)
Muffler

“The original muffler developed a hole and had to be replaced. Maybe this is typical wear and tear, but I listed it anyway”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 4.0-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

“Gear selection switch on transmission failed. Still drivable but set diagnostic code. Wouldn't be good if not replaced”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

“Transmission slips while driving up mountain”

Timothy F., VA (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

“Computer had to be reprogramed”

Dennis Q., NY (2012 Toyota Tacoma Base 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

“Dealer tech forgot to put new oil in during oil change”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner 4.0-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

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