Toyota Tacoma Short vs. Long Bed (Full Comparison) - TacomaExplorer (2024)

Both short (5-foot) and long (6-foot) bed configurations are available on the Toyota Tacoma, meeting the needs of city commuters, frequent haulers, and off-road enthusiasts.

Researched and written by Art Michalik

Last updated: 8 November 2023

Toyota Tacoma Short vs. Long Bed (Full Comparison) - TacomaExplorer (1)

Key Points:

  • Short Bed is ideal for urban maneuverability and parking, potentially higher resale value in cities.
  • Long bed offers superior cargo capacity for work, recreation, or towing, enhanced stability when towing.
  • Long bed might have slightly lower mpg due to weight and size.
  • Both sizes offer bed covers, mats, extenders, toolboxes, dividers, and storage boxes for customization.
  • Consider your daily needs and hauling requirements before choosing a bed size.

Over the years, the Toyota Tacoma, a household name among pickup trucks, has won the hearts of many with its sturdiness, reliability, and versatility. These trucks are every bit the urban warrior as they are an off-road champion.

However, as any Taco fan would tell you, choosing the right bed length is essential. Let’s dive deeper into this choice.

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Defining Bed Sizes

Bed Length Measurements

Short Bed (SB): Typically, the short bed measures around 5 feet (60.5 inches). This size is perfect for those looking for more compactness without sacrificing too much of the truck’s utility.

Long Bed (LB): With a length of around 6 feet (73.7 inches), the long bed provides ample space for cargo, making it ideal for those with greater hauling needs.

Pros and Cons of Short Bed

Pros: Notably, the shorter bed grants the Tacoma improved maneuverability. This is especially beneficial in city landscapes, where navigating through traffic or parking in tight spots can be challenging.

Cons: While the short bed retains a good portion of Tacoma’s cargo-hauling prowess, it does come with reduced space, which can be limiting for bigger hauls or towing larger trailers.

Comments from Owners:

“VERY few people need more than a 5ft bed. I’ve moved furniture, hauled my camping gear, motorcycle and scooter. It’s all how to strap everything in,” wrote SubieToyotaNW on Reddit.

Pros and Cons of Long Bed

Pros: The added cargo space is the long bed’s primary strength. It allows for more equipment, materials, or recreational gear. Plus, the longer wheelbase can offer enhanced stability when towing.

Cons: Its size can be double-edged; larger dimensions can make parking or navigating tight streets more challenging.

Comments from Owners:

In their post on Reddit, Tacoma owner B0804726 wrote: “I have a long bed and love it. U turns often turn into 3 point turns on small roads, but it really isn’t that bad most of the time. Backing into spots is definitely your best friend. I love the utility of it. I can carry a full-size motorcycle in the bed with the tailgate up (parked at an angle in the bed).”

Toyota Tacoma Short vs. Long Bed (Full Comparison) - TacomaExplorer (2)

Usage Scenarios and Suitability

Work and Trade Applications

Tradespeople, particularly those in fields like construction or landscaping, often benefit from the long bed’s expansive space.

On the other hand, trades that don’t require large equipment transportation might find the short bed more maneuverable and practical.

Comments from Owners:

“A Tacoma would make a great work truck if it was just you. They can haul a pretty good load, light on its feet off-road. And it will hold its value pretty good,” according to a TacomaWorld post by Bebop.

Recreational and Outdoor Adventures

For outdoor enthusiasts, space might be essential for tents, bicycles, or other gear, making the long bed an attractive choice. However, with Tacoma’s towing capacity, a small trailer is always an option.

Those into off-roading might lean towards the short bed due to its superior approach and departure angles, which are essential when navigating uneven terrains.

Most off-road packages, such as TRD Off-Road, are available in both configurations. However, the weight distribution and wheelbase might slightly affect the off-roading dynamics, especially on narrow roads and trails.

Comments from Owners:

Tacoma Forum contributor Rock62 replied to an inquiry regarding camping with a Taco with this: “You could look to a folding camper to tow. Tacomas can pull more than they can carry. Here again, watch the maximum loaded numbers. Empty weights are meaningless, because no one goes camping with an empty camper. There are options for towables.”

I chose the short bed because I want to be as nimble as possible on the mountain trails… I’ve already had to do some turn around that we’re sketchy with my short bed,” wrote Reddit contributor Joelvva.

Urban Commuting and Everyday Use

The shorter bed shines in urban settings. Its size makes daily commutes less hassle, especially when dealing with the challenge of finding parking or squeezing through tight streets.

Comments from Owners:

“As far as a commuter vehicle you put high miles on and tow with, I think the Tacoma is your best bet,” wrote PackCon on TacomaWorld.

Potential Trade-Offs, Considerations, and Alternatives

Fuel Efficiency and Range

The slight increase in weight and size of the long bed can potentially affect fuel efficiency negatively, though the difference isn’t often significant.

Efficient driving practices can help offset this.

Future Resale Value and Market Demand

Short beds might fetch a higher resale value in urban areas due to their city-friendly size. Conversely, long beds might have the edge in areas where Toyota Tacomas are commonly used for hauling.

Popular Accessories

Both short-bed and long-bed Tacoma configurations have an array of accessories available, enhancing the truck’s functionality, aesthetics, and protection.

These accessories not only offer practical solutions but can also represent one’s style and requirements.

Short Bed Tacoma Accessories

Tonneau Covers: A favorite among Tacoma owners, these covers protect your cargo from the elements and can improve fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag.

They come in various styles – roll-up, fold-up, and retractable. We looked at 18 tonneau covers and believe the Leer Rollitup is an excellent choice for short-bed Tacomas.

Bed Mats & Liners: A durable bed mat or liner is crucial to prevent scratches and dings. They provide a cushioned surface that’s easy to clean and provides protection.

After reviewing 13 bed liners, we suggest the Genuine Toyota bedliner or the more budget-friendly GEEVOL bedliner.

Bed Extenders: Useful when the short bed’s space isn’t enough. An extender can provide that extra length needed for longer items.

We looked at 17 different bed extenders for the Tacoma and agreed the X-Terrain Bed Extender wasn’t just a great choice but an excellent value.

Long Bed Tacoma Accessories

Tool Boxes: Given the extra space, many long-bed owners opt for sturdy toolboxes. They are great for professionals who need to transport equipment.

We appreciate the DeeZee Red Label toolbox for its aluminum construction and stainless steel hardware. Not cheap, but how much are your tools worth?

Bed Dividers: With more space comes the need for better organization. Dividers help segregate the cargo area efficiently.

We reviewed 14 bed dividers, and our best suggestion is the pricey Genuine Toyota bed divider. A less-expensive option is a net-style divider from TN Truck Nets.

Side Storage Boxes: These provide additional storage solutions, ensuring tools and equipment are easily accessible yet out of the way.

In our review of 22 different bedside storage solutions for Tacoma, we like the SwingCase from UnderCover as they swing 180 degrees for easy access.

Frequently Asked Questions

These questions address common concerns and provide insights into both configurations, aiding prospective buyers in their decision-making process.

Due to its increased cargo space, the long bed is the preferred choice for hauling oversized items. Towing capacities, on the other hand, are more dependent on the Tacoma’s powertrain and package options rather than bed length. However, a longer wheelbase (associated with the long bed) can offer more stability when towing.

Yes, the choice of bed length doesn’t impact the interior seating space directly. The Double Cab configuration with a long bed still provides ample rear seat room for passengers. The Access Cab has less rear seating space, regardless of bed length.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Short Bed:

The Short Bed Tacoma offers enhanced maneuverability, especially in urban environments, and easier parking due to its shorter overall length. Some might consider the short bed more aesthetically balanced. The primary disadvantage of the short bed is its limited cargo space compared to the long bed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Long Bed:

The long bed offers Increased cargo space, suitable for hauling larger items, while its longer wheelbase can provide added stability, especially when towing. The primary Disadvantage of the Long Bed is that it Can be more challenging to park and navigate tight spaces.

Yes, while the short bed provides less space than the long bed, it can still carry a variety of large items. Accessories like bed extenders can also help accommodate longer items.

Due to its shorter wheelbase, the short-bed Tacoma has a better breakover angle, giving it a slight advantage in tough spots. Approach and departure angles are the same.

Conclusion

The choice between short and long bed boils down to individual needs. One isn’t universally better; it’s all about what suits your lifestyle.

We urge enthusiasts to engage in test drives, consult experts, and visualize their everyday scenarios before making the final call.

Remember, a truck is not just a vehicle; it’s an extension of your lifestyle. Choose wisely!

Toyota Tacoma Short vs. Long Bed (Full Comparison) - TacomaExplorer (2024)

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