Ask TFL: Chevy Colorado or Toyota Tacoma – Which Midsize Truck Should I Buy?

The midsize truck segment is booming and with more choices than ever, you need to do your research before making a choice. 

Luckily for reader Eric Kiselewsky, we are here to help! Eric sent in the following question:

I’m considering a purchase of a mid size pick up truck after getting rid of my 2000 Nissan Frontier King Cab a while back. I’ve watched several videos on your You Tube Channel (I am a relatively new viewer) and have a list of wants/needs. Can you point me in the right direction?
My requirements include:
  • Crew Cab
  • 4×4
  • 6’+ bed
  • Budget of about $35k
My wife would also prefer leather seats and an automatic transmission but these are not requirements for me. Also, I have three boys; 15, 13, and 10. Will a mid-size truck be large enough for a family of five when needed?
Lastly, I really wanted to wait for the Ranger but since it does not appear that they will offer a crew cab long bed model, I am leaning towards Tacoma. My only hesitation with Tacoma is that the interior seems dated as compared to the competition.
My other concern is reliability, I would ideally like to get 15 years and 250k miles out of the truck I buy. Is this a reasonable expectation?

So it sounds like you are stuck between either a Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon or Toyota Tacoma. Both offer all the basic requirements you need in terms of bed length, 4×4, crew cab and leather seats.

With your family of five, interior space is definitely a factor, so lets compare legroom. In the rear seat of the Tacoma Double Cab model, you get 32.6-inches of legroom, while in the Colorado Crew Cab, rear seat passengers get 35.8 inches. Front seat passengers are also treated to more legroom in the Colorado, with 45 inches compared to the Tacoma’s 42.9.

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For overall interior comfort and space, the GM truck will be a better bet. The rear seat in the Colorado/Canyon is livable for even a full-size adult. The Tacomas rear seats are better suited for smaller children, so as your boys get even older, they will like it back there much less.

For around $35,000, both trucks get up to one trim below the top. In the case of the Tacoma, a TRD Sport would be around $35K, while the Colorado would be an LT model. From Chevy, that LT model gets you a body-color rear bumper, mirror caps and door handles, 17-inch aluminum wheels, Chevrolet infotainment with 8-inch diagonal color touch-screen, keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel and seats, HD rear vision camera and a 6-way power-adjustable driver seat.

Leather seats are available in the Tacoma as an option, which also gets push button start, three USB ports, wireless phone charging, Entune premium audio system, Gray grille with smoked finish and chrome surround and a 120V plug in the bed. So the options between the two trucks are not far off.

Finally, reliability. This is always a tough question for us to answer, as we don’t have the data. But yes, 250K miles is reasonable as long as you keep up with the maintenance. Toyota certainly has built a reputation for reliability, and even more so the Tacoma, which is why it consistently has the best resale value of any vehicle on the market. So from a resale stand point, the Tacoma will absolutely get you more money back when you are done with it.

So at the end of it all, I’d say pick the Colorado for a more modern interior with more space and overall comfort. Pick the Tacoma if you value having a high resale value and a truck that is known for lasting a long time.