Not much changed for the Toyota Tacoma mid-size pickup in 2008. It was essentially carried over from the ’07 model, and was available in several body configurations, including a four-door Double Cab and extended Access Cab, and a sporty X-Runner variant. Engines choices were a V6 or four cylinder, with manual or automatic transmission, and 2WD or 4WD. According to Toyota, you could get this generation of the Tacoma in at least 18 different configurations.
The V6 engine displaced 4.0 litres and developed 236 horsepower. It featured a pair of overhead camshafts, and came with an oil cooler and up-rated alternator. You could also order the optional TRD (Toyota Racing Development) sport package, which was a factory options group that also included a limited slip differential, larger 17-inch wheels and tires, transmission cooler, and CD player.
According to Natural Resources Canada, the V6 with a five-speed automatic returned 13.4 L/100 in town, and 10.1 L/100 km on the highway. By way of comparison, a Toyota Tundra V8 returned 16.0 and 12.3 respectively, and a Dodge Dakota 4x4 with a V6 was good for 15.6 and 11.3 L/100 km.
Four-wheel-drive was delivered via a part-time system that featured a two-speed transfer case accessed via a dash-mounted rotary knob. All Tacomas had an undercover engine shield as standard equipment, and the 4WD models were about as good as these things get when it came to going off-road. This was thanks in part to a relatively light vehicle weight and high ground clearance. Towing capacity was rated at up to 2948 kilograms, which was enough to handle most moderately sized pleasure boats or utility trailers.
All things considered, the Tacoma was a weekend toy for boys more than a down and dirty work truck, with the emphasis on performance rather than cargo capacity or work-related features. Ingress and egress was not the best, but once you had scrambled into it, you found yourself piloting one of the more refined trucks on the market. The shifter was floor-mounted.
As you might expect from Toyota, the Tacoma had sensible ergonomics and plenty of conveniences. The Double and Access cabs accommodated five adults, and, depending upon the trim level, things like air conditioning, a 60/40 folding rear seat, one-touch down drivers side power windows, power door locks, power outside mirrors, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel could be ordered. Options included a six-disc CD player, cruise control, and a sliding rear window.
This generation of the Tacoma was one of the Toyota products affected by the sticky gas pedal / wonky floor mat imbroglio. By now, this problem should have been dealt with across the board, but dealers will reconfigure the shape or the gas pedal and/or the floor beneath it gratis. This recall affects all Tacomas built from 2005 to the present.
Other than that, this iteration of the Tacoma is only affected by a few labelling recalls, and one tire monitoring sensor irregularity for those trucks fitted with larger wheels and tires.
Six technical service bulletins are on file from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. One involves some automatic transmissions that may have shifting issues between Park and Neutral and Reverse, while some other models may have “howling” noises emanating from the rear differential during highway driving, and, of course, there’s the aforementioned troublesome floor mats.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Consumer Reports gives the 2008 Tacoma its “Best Bet” seal of approval, and it garners top marks right across the board. Every area of this vehicle gets the highest grades C.R. can bestow, with the possible exception of “squeaks and rattles”. Some comments from owners: “Four cylinder engine weak and noisy”, “transmission downshifts slow”, and “strong V6”. Better than expected fuel economy is also a common praise.
Pretty good marks from marketing researcher, J.D. Power as well. There seem to be some issues with powertrain quality, style, and instrumentation, but the ’08 Tacoma gets high marks from this organization, and receives its “Most Dependable Midsize Pickup” award.
No surprise then that it’s held its value well. Prices range from the low ‘teens to the mid to high-$20,000 neighbourhood, depending upon drivetrain, body configuration, trim level, and accessories.
2008 Toyota Tacoma
Original Base Price: $22,760; Black Book: $18,825 - $28,900; Red Book: $13,175 - $23,525
Engine: 2.7 litre four cylinder, 4.0 litre V6
Horsepower/Torque: 159 hp & 236 hp / 180 ft. lb. & 266 ft. lb.
Transmission: Five & Six-speed manual / Four & five-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 13.4 city / 10.1hwy (V6 w. five-speed automatic), regular gas
Drive: RWD / 4WD
Alternatives: Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, Mazda B4000, Nissan Frontier, Chev Colorado.