Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Heralded by fresh styling, the 2016 Toyota Tacoma boasts a new cabin structure, a new V6 engine, new transmissions, retuned suspensions, improved noise insulation, and an improved feature set.

The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. Though redesigned, Tacomas mission and concept is the same as before, that of a highly capable midsize/compact pickup with a high floor and low roof, and a reputation for durability. The Tacoma TRD Off-Road model continues as the hot setup for a rugged, highly capable off-road pickup.

A choice between four-cylinder and V6 engines remains. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard, rated at 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, with an EPA rated 19/23/21 mpg for a two-wheel-drive automatic. We think the four-cylinder is best used for basic work trucks. Its real-world fuel economy is not significantly better than that of the V6.

The new 3.5-liter V6 generates 278 horsepower, an increase of 42 over the previous 4.0-liter V6, and 265 pound-feet of torque at 4600 rpm. Fuel economy is improved: 2016 Tacoma V6 44 automatics are EPA-rated at 18/23/20 mpg City/Highway/Combined. The new V6 appears to maintain its performance off road, while revving more freely for improved passing-performance on the highway.

2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road models are the equipped with an off-road suspension, Bilstein shocks, and Multi-Terrain Select system. With their suspension travel, underbody protection, Crawl Control and other technology, there are few places one of these trucks cannot go. Just as important, their rugged construction and underbody protection offer durability for drivers who routinely drive over rough terrain. They excel at hauling a dirt bike into the back country or towing a drift boat over a boulder-strewn river bank. As an everyday vehicle, however, they are a bit rough.

While the styling has been completely updated, the 2016 Tacoma does not look like a new truck. It looks like its been around for a couple of years.

Double Cab models feature a full-size rear seat, with underseat storage. Access Cabs have small fold-out seats that are better for cargo than people. Short Beds are about five feet long, Long Beds are about six feet long. Standard cabs do not exist.

2015 Toyota Tacoma

An all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma goes on sale fall 2015.

Until then, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma is available, a second-generation product launched as a 2005 model. Tacoma is unchanged for 2015, although there is a new Tacoma TRD Pro model available. TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development.

Toyota has been off-road racing for three decades and has more than 300 victories, and the 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro continues that heritage. There are also TRD Pro models for the Tundra and 4Runner.

Tacoma TRD Pro has its own suspension geometry with fat Bilstein dampers, tuned stainless twin exhaust, unique interior color, big BF Goodrich offroad tires, black bead-lock 16-inch alloy wheels, TRD trim and badging, and more.

Tacoma has been the most popular pickup in its class for a decade, with many awards over that time. Its main rivals are the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Tacoma dominates the segment with more than 100,000 sold each year, while some competitors have left the stage, namely Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota.

Tacoma offers a comfortable cab, refined ride, responsive handling, and quality construction with proven offroad capability and durability. It comes in many configurations to meet a wide range of needs, from 2WD work truck with four-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual transmission, to a loaded V6 4WD Double Cab Long Bed with rear seats that offer sedan-sized room. Properly equipped Tacoma V6 models can to tow up to 6,500 pounds.

The tried-and-true no-frills bench-seat Regular Cab Tacoma has been dropped, long may she live. Even the base Tacoma has rear seating and three doors.

Toyota Racing Development offers parts to sharpen the performance, both on and off road. The Off Road Package includes much of the equipment on the TRD Pro models, including Bilstein off-road shocks, locking rear differential, advanced ATRAC traction control and other electronic off-road assists, an engine skid plate, tow hook, many luxury and convenience items and special graphics.

2014 Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma is the most popular compact pickup in the U.S. market and has been since 2005. Or call it a mid-size, as the Tacoma and its competition are hardly compact anymore; it's still Number One. Along the way the Tacoma has collected its share of awards. Moreover, New Car Test Drive considers the Toyota Tacoma the best pickup in its class and the best for rugged terrain, durability and reliability.

Tacoma offers a comfortable cab, a refined ride, and quality construction. Its on-road handing is responsive; its off-road capability is proven. The Tacoma Double Cab delivers rear-seat comfort for two additional passengers with enough room to rival a small sedan. Properly equipped Tacoma V6 models can to tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Tacoma not only owns the segment but practically is the segment. While Toyota sells more than 100,000 Tacomas a year, many manufacturers have abandoned the small pickup business in America. Nissan Frontier remains and all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models have been introduced, but Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota have exited the stage. The Honda Ridgeline, a much more expensive vehicle, offers carlike handling, strong performance and good fuel economy, but it doesn't offer the off-road capability or toughness of the Tacoma.

For 2014, the Tacoma adds Toyota's Entune as standard equipment on all four available audio systems. Entune is a media-savvy technology that links with your smart phone and allows you to access its apps through the Tacoma's audio controls. Accordingly, all Tacoma audio systems now come with a 6.1-inch touch screen, where, incidentally, the view from the optional backup camera is now also displayed, rather than in the rear-view mirror as before.

Also new for 2014 is the SR Package, which lends a sporty, monochrome look with color-keyed overfenders, door handles, bumpers, grille surround and mirrors; plus smoked headlight lenses and black-finish 16-inch Baja wheels.

Or choose the top-of-the-line Limited Package, featuring 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, chrome grille trim, chrome rear bumper, SofTex-trimmed front sport seats with heat, metallic tone instrument panel trim, leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, dual sun visors with mirrors and extenders, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with outside temperature gauge and HomeLink universal transceiver.

The 2014 Toyota Tacoma comes in a wide range of configurations to meet a wide range of needs, ranging from basic work truck with four-cylinder engine and 2WD to a loaded V6 4WD Double Cab Long Bed. The base Tacoma excels at durability and reliability and is among the few regular-cab pickups still available.

All Tacomas come with air conditioning. Audio systems begin with six-speaker AM/FM/CD display audio (four speakers on Regular Cab) with USB Port, auxiliary input, Bluetooth phone connectivity and now Entune; and range all the way up to a premium JBL GreenEdge system with navigation, Entune, and App Suite.

Also standard on all models is Toyota's Star Safety System, which includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC). An Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto-LSD), which uses brake intervention in place of a mechanical-type limited-slip to help reduce wheel-spin, is standard on all Tacoma models with the exception of those fitted with TRD Off-Road package; those have conventional, mechanical-locking differential.

Toyota Racing Development, or TRD, offers myriad accessories to further improve on-road performance or off-road capability, including a comprehensive Off Road Package featuring high-performance Bilstein off-road shocks, locking rear differential, advanced ATRAC traction control and other electronic off-road assists, an engine skid plate, tow hook, many luxury and convenience items and special graphics.


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