URBAN LEGEND 3.0
The new Toyota Tacoma
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Dec 13, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
The reputation of Toyota trucks is the stuff of urban legends. The Brits from Top Gear famously took a used Toyota truck and rammed it through a storage shed, hit it with a wrecking ball, tossed it in the ocean, torched it, and then placed it on top of a high-rise building, only to have the building demolished. The truck refused to die. Most recently, there was a flurry of press reports that the U.S government was asking Toyota why ISIS was using so many of its trucks. We asked our Senior Contributing Editor Harold Osmer to find out why the truck is so popular, and Toyota obliged with a sampling of the newest, third-generation Tacoma.
By Harold Osmer
Toyota's venerable Tacoma has been a staple for pickup drivers since coming ashore in 1995. Originally wedged into the "compact" range, Tacoma now fits nicely into the "mid-sized" category. Whatever you decide to call it, Tacoma is a proven winner many times over.
Always a top seller among younger buyers, Tacoma consistently ranks high in overall sales and is tops in its class in quality. Toyota offers too many different variations to count, giving a buyer any number of ways to fill their particular need. Our Tacoma Limited tipped the scales with a tested price of $36,504. On the entry end, $24,200 will get you started.
Toyota has modified Tacoma for 2016. Updates include a more pronounced front end assembly, new LED wraparound headlight arrangement, and grill. A lower chin spoiler helps direct airflow under the truck at highway speeds resulting in a quieter ride. Interior appointments include a newly designed dash and gauge cluster. Everything is where it should be and the switches generate positive tactile responses.
A new 3.5-liter, 24-valve DOHC V6 produces 278hp and 265lb.-ft. of torque. The engine pulls steadily without effort but we found the engine/transmission tuning lacking in anything we'd call thrilling acceleration. This is doubtless the result of maximizing MPG ratings (19 street 24 highway). When rhomped on, the V6 exhibits a willingness to go though it showed itself tiresome to drive over undulating Woodland Hills terrain with upshifts in the 6-speed automatic coming much too soon and downshifts occurring only on heavy demand. The rugged Tacoma is tow rated at 6800 pounds.
Trucks in general have adopted a more car-like ride and Toyota has done a fine job of bringing the 2016 Tacoma along. Cruising up the 101 and along Mulholland Highway was effortless and enjoyable. Our Premium JBL sound system was easy to use and I don't know how they did it, but hats off to the engineer who figured out how to minimize fingerprint smudges on the entertainment/navigation system. All interior pieces were tight, felt good, and were where they should be. Sounds simple, we know, but that's still overlooked and we're happy to report on the positive side.
Our test truck has four seats though only the fronts are actually useable for people. Drivers over six feet tall will have to wiggle into position and will not be able to raise or lower the seat. Once in, the seats are accommodating, comfortable over long drives, with ample headroom. Folding down the rears gives loads of secure cargo room.
Given Toyota's record, it's safe to assume the 2016 Tacoma will outlast the average pickup on the market. Owners of older Tacomas we encountered during our test were impressed by the changes and all said they'd get another Tacoma when (if) their current one finally gives up the ghost. That kind of loyalty can only be bought over time
Toyota faced a tough road when upgrading to the 2016 Tacoma. An engineering battle cry of "It's not broke, we can fix it!" too often pervades our modern world. Tacoma is a proven platform with well-deserved and popular following. 2016 changes are for the better with an improved powerplant, interior design, and more aggressive external features.
A Go-Pro camera mount comes standard on Tacoma and is stuck to the windshield. This bit of encouragement dares the owner to embark on an adventure, video the fun, and submit it to Toyota for broadcast. That's exactly the type of person this pickup is for. As Toyota says: "Lets go places."
We came away impressed with the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Those pickups are all over the place for good reason. Though a bit of a tight fit for guys over six feet tall, average size people can expect to find a durable, comfortable, capable pickup in the Tacoma. As for Toyota, "average" is pretty big market.
- Harold O.
Harold Osmer reviews the new Tacoma on YouTube (LA Car, Capulet Life and World Class Motoring) Got something to say? Add your Facebook comment regarding this article here. To view "Killing a Toyota, Part 1" click here. To view "Killing a Toyota, Part 2", click here. To view "Killing a Toyota, Part 3", click here. For more information about Toyota products, go to toyota.com. SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited 4X2 Double Cab Price: $34,745 (base) $36,504 (as tested) Options: V6 Towing Package ($650) Carpet Floor Mats w/door sill ($209) EPA fuel economy ratings (miles per gallon): 19 city/24 highway Engine type: 3.5L V6, Direct Injection, Variable Valve Timing Horsepower: 278 @ 6000 rpm Torque: 265 lb.-ft @ 4600 rpm Transmission type: 6-Speed Automatic Drive configuration: Rear Wheel Drive, Automatic Limited Slip Differential, Trailer Sway Control Suspension Front: Coil spring Double Wishbone Rear: Leaf Spring Wheels and tires: 18" Alloy Wheels, P265/60R18 Tires Brakes: Power Assisted ventilated front disk Drum rear with tandem booster Dimensions Bed length/height: 60.5 inches/19.1 inches Overall length/wheelbase: 212.3 inches/127.4 inches Overall width: 75.2 inches Overall height: 70.6 inches Curb weight: 4230 pounds Towing Capacity: 6800 pounds Performance: 0-60 mph: 7.3 seconds Warranty: 3 Years/36,000 miles Bumper to Bumper 5 Year/60,000 miles Powertrain 5 Years Rust-Through Coverage