2010 SR5 TRD Sport 4x4 6 speed access cab. In a word, awesome.
Shopped: Frontier, Ranger, Sierra, F150 and oddly enough Transit Connect, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (4 door).
In order, too ugly (otherwise nice), rear seats unusable (otherwise nice), too giant and WAY too expensive, ditto, very nice but under powered and an attention getter in all the wrong ways. Too Jeepy for my purposes.
ALSO, none of the others were in stock (if even made) with a manual transmission. And being a man, I need a manual transmission.
I've not owned the truck very long, but there was no "initial quality" problem with it at all. Trouble free thus far (knock on wood). After shopping Ford, GM and Nissan, it's clear that though Toyota may have slipped on some quality (MAY have according to media outlets), it's still noticeably more well put together than its cousins.
The seat cloth is still durable, and the dash and body all line up well, no vibration noises. More than I can say for my last few trucks and cars (Scion aside). It's just got that Toyota feel. Seams are tighter, things are stronger feeling. No flexi-hinge plastic parts, all separate hinged things. Solid throughout. Can't say enough about how much more sturdy this feels than anything else I looked at.. maybe save the Transit Connect.
Driving my new Tacoma feels a lot like driving my old Toyotas. No frills, no extravagance, just everything you need. Not huge on power, but delivered just the way it should be. A lot more cup holders in this version than generations ago combined (manual trans gets an extra 2 or 3 cup holders). I loved my 1999 Tacoma, and this car has brought it all back. It's different in a bit of style, but not much at all in function.
The Sport package really seems to have tamed up the road manners of this truck. The off road package was a bit harsh. Having owned Jeeps, I would never think of bothering with an IFS truck off road anyway. Either package adds the almost needed SR5 options, like a radio and tires. I've never seen a non-SR5 model, but it must be bleak in there.
The six speed is so damn manly. It just fills me with warm fuzzes shifting that thing through its gears. It's a good shifting transmission. Not spongy or tight. Slips in with a nice feel. You auto trans drivers are missing out.
The back seats are well usable by kids up to 10 years anyway... Adults will fit with complaints. Rear facing child seats would never fit back there within reason. Forward facing couldn't sit on the tiny seat pad. The fact it has L.A.T.C.H is probably just some collision of common sense and legislation.
Up front - I'm 6'2" and have very ample leg room, but the seats are low, not much leg support. I'd bring a pad if I was going cross country probably; no seat adjustment on the bottom. Lumbar and lean, forward back. No up down or tilt. But as far as leg room, I'm a notch or 2 from all the way back. So no problem there. Much roomier than any previous generations. I actually want to pull the seat a notch or 2 up to make putting the clutch all the way down more comfortable. (my inseam is 35" I can stand over a yard stick; a meter stick with some discomfort)
The engine is pretty darn good too. The 1gr engine has a good reputation, and other than being a bit loud (on the outside, can't hear it in the drivers seat) it's very good. Very trucky. Taking it past 4000 rpm is a waste of time. It peaks out in torque somewhere between 3500 and 4000. It's no sports car. It feels like a truck behind the gas pedal.
It also isn't a sports car in the corners. Though I have the sport package, the tires are quick to complain when I am flying down an off ramp, but body roll is significantly improved over first generation Tacomas/Toyota trucks. It's about on par with the GM full size 4x2, which is good.
A little let down, though the off road retains its moderate quality locker, the rest of the line get an "auto limited slip differential". This just means traction control. From what I read, it's no LSD, it's just brakes doing your slip limiting via a special computer program.
They threw in half a dozen new air bags in this generation, helping it achieve a darn good safety rating.
It's a bit big, and the access cab doors help you feel that trying to get kids out of the back in parking lots, BUT, it doesn't feel much bigger than first generation Tacomas, and for me, the interior room pays the toll for the exterior room.
Oh, and one of the best parts... no need to go buying a bed liner or anything, the bed is actually "plastic"... some sort of composite bed. The entire inside is a very hard and sturdy resin or something. Pretty snazzy. Also adds little cubbies with doors in the bed that are just perfect for storing the standard adjustable tie down cleats and 4 ratchet straps.
OK.. MPG.. I'm getting just over 20mpg in mixed driving (mostly city). The window sticker says something like... nil-4. But that's the NEW window sticker guidelines. You SHOULD be able to get at least the high number (18 not really 4) if you can drive at all. The window sticker is telling you a worst case scenario. I would consistently get 30+ mpg in my 2008 Scion xB as well when the sticker said 25. It's a matter of style and skill. Though considering how close this truck is to being really "powerful", trying to drive like a maniac would probably burn some serious gas. It doesn't seem to like being rushed. I have a 6th sense for these type things, that's why my mileage is so good probably. Feel the power curve and stay in it till you're at speed. Then stay there and never ever ever tailgate. Hitting the brakes on the highway is wasting gas. There are super miler websites if you're interested in saving gas through technique.
I'm just saying, when you go to the dealer, he'll tell you the auto gets 1-2 mpg better. That auto transmission is A: no fun and B: about the only thing Toyota has consistent problems with. It drives for crap till it breaks. Get the 6 speed.
Will review/update/comment again if there's something more to be said.