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2022 Toyota Hilux vs. Tacoma: Which One’s Best for Me?

Toyota Hilux vs Toyota Tacoma

The main difference between the Hilux and Tacoma is what market they are designed for. They are both light trucks, however, the Hilux is primarily designed for a global market, while the Tacoma is designed for the U.S. This causes them to exhibit many subtle differences.

For instance, the Hilux has larger lights and a sleeker body. The Tacoma is a bit blockier and has thinner headlights—a design that is popular in the United States. The Tacoma also has more power than the Hilux at 278 HP. On the other hand, the Hilux only has 177 HP.

The Tacoma is also larger overall, as are most American cars. The Hilux resembles an SUV as opposed to a big truck that Americans are used to.

car and road divider

At a Glance

Toyota Hilux vs. Tacoma
Image Credit: Left (Tacoma) John Dvorak, Shutterstock: Right (Toyota Hilux) Streetmetal, Shutterstock
Toyota Hilux
  • 4L 4-cylinder
  • 116 to 150 HP
  • 180 lb-ft torque
  • 22 city/27 highway MPG
  • 2800 towing capacity
Tacoma
  • 7L 4-cylinder engine
  • 159 HP
  • 180 lb-ft of torque
  • 20 city/23 highway MPG
  • 6,800 towing capacity

car and road dividerOverview of the Toyota Hilux

The Toyota Hilux is one of the best-selling trucks around the world—except for in America. However, besides its less-than-stellar performance in America, this truck is extremely popular. Since this line of trucks was released in 1968, about 18 million units have been sold.

The Hilux is known to be very dependable. It does feature some of the “fancier” options that are common in other trucks. For instance, the newest model has a backup camera and an LCD display. However, it is still quite rough. The interior is not as well-put-together and modern as some other trucks out there.

However, the new model does feature a new 2.8L engine option, which does help its performance when fully loaded. The truck isn’t the most drivable, though, and can get a bit cumbersome.

With that said, its primary purpose is as a working truck, and it does that quite well.

Pros
  • 8L engine option
  • Very durable
  • Accessible for most people
  • Improved riding capabilities
Cons
  • Not many comfort features
  • Interior is a bit lacking

car and road dividerOverview of the Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma
Image Credit: Paulino H, Shutterstock

The Tacoma is one of the most popular trucks in America. It is a medium-sized pickup truck with some off-roading capabilities. Furthermore, it is extremely reliable, which is a major selling point.

It has a four-cylinder engine that isn’t all that impressive, and the automatic transmission is known for a slip-up or two. However, it is quite good at off-roading, though not necessarily as good as some vehicles designed specifically for that purpose. The backseat is quite small, and the overall interior quality isn’t stunning.

However, it is packed with driver’s assistance technology that helps with just about everything. It is rugged and reliable, even when you aren’t sticking to the highway.

Pros
  • Rugged and dependable
  • Off-roading capable
  • Driver-assistance technology
Cons
  • Tiny backseat
  • Poor gearbox
  • Poor interior quality

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car and road dividerHow Do They Compare?

External Design

Edge: Tie

Because it is designed for an American market, the Tacoma is extremely large—much more so than the Hilux. However, in recent years, the difference has become less noticeable. For instance, the Tacoma is now just two inches wider in some areas, depending on the model that you get. Because American roads are slightly larger than those in other countries, this is to be expected.

Both designs have moved closer together over the past few years. Therefore, they actually look quite similar to each other. However, the Hilux is a bit sleeker and has larger lights. The wheels do appear a bit more rugged, but this depends on the exact package you purchase.

Internal Design

Edge: Tie

The Tacoma’s interior is a bit like the exterior—blocky. It looks very much like a truck. (Perhaps a bit too much like a truck.) It also features a standard 7” display screen, though this is only available on the US market truck. It also features a variety of safety features, such as adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking.Both cars are really lacking in interior design options. However, they are also very different. The Hilux has an 8” multimedia screen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the exact interior design depends on the model that you purchase.

Powertrains

Edge: Hilux

The Hilux has a powerful 2.8L engine. You can also choose from a range of gas and diesel options. Obviously, the more expensive options are more powerful. You can choose a manual or automatic transmission. Furthermore, the Hilux has an improved suspension system for driver comfort.

You can also choose from a few different options on the Tacoma. The engine options include a 159-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder gas engine or a 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6. You can purchase a manual if you have the V-6. However, this is only possible on higher package levels and certain body options. Two- and four-wheel drive options are also available.

The Tacoma also comes with different body styles. Extended-cab and four-door crew styles are both available, for instance.

MPG

Edge: Tacoma

The Tacoma appears to have a better MPG than the Hilux. However, it does depend on the model you choose and who you ask. The Tacoma officially has a 20 city/23 highway MPG, while the Hilux is slightly worse at 22 city/27 highway.

Of course, how you drive and what model you choose depends will greatly affect the MPG. Therefore, these are not the exact measurements that you’ll likely see on your truck. It varies. However, these do give you some idea of which car will perform better in this category.

What the Users Say

Both of these cars are considered good workhorses. If you’re looking for a truck that will work, then these options will both likely be suitable. However, they also are less refined than other common truck options. They have subpar interiors and aren’t very easy to drive. For the most part, it is these pros and cons that users pointed out.

Users liked that both of these cars are quite dependable. They are both from Toyota, which is known for its vehicle’s dependability.

Generally, Tacoma gets high reviews in America, where people are used to bigger trucks. However, the Hilux is extremely popular in Europe and throughout other countries. It is slightly smaller, making it more suitable for locations outside of America. The Tacoma isn’t even available in other markets, which just shows that it was designed for America first and foremost.

Neither of these cars is the best to drive. Their transmissions are known to be a bit strange, especially on automatic. However, the Hilux did get an engine upgrade (as an option). Therefore, it does pack a bit more power than it used to.

car and road dividerConclusion

Neither of these cars is the big “winner”. They are simply trucks that are built for different markets. The Hilux is made for an international market, which makes it smaller. However, the Tacoma is only available in America and is designed for Americans’ specific wants.

The Hilux has gone through more changes, including adding more technology to the car. The Tacoma has had many of these features for some time, though. We expect that it will keep up with the American market, which generally means more technology than other options.

Generally, the Tacoma outperforms the Hilux in some categories. However, most of it is a matter of personal preference. If you’re in America, you may want to select the Tacoma (as it was designed specifically for the usual wants and needs of America). However, the Hilux may suit you more if you’re looking for a more bare-bones model or want something a bit smaller (though it isn’t that much smaller).


Featured Image Credit: (Left) Streetmetal, Shutterstock (Right) Dusty Barnes, Unsplash

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