When automakers went the ??little bit bigger?? route for their latest entry pickup lines, Toyota knew not only would a new Tacoma have to achieve segment success but also pave the way for an all-new fullsize model as well.
What Toyota came up with is a Tacoma truck platform that is ??right-sized?? for North American consumers and is as comfortable onroad as it is capable offroad ?? and boasting some of the best power and performance numbers in the segment.
The new Tacoma offers an extensive variety of body-and-bed configurations ?? 18 variations by Toyota??s count ?? with substantially more passenger room, cargo volume and towing capacity than before.
Tacoma offers a choice underneath the hood as well. Customers choose between a base 164hp, 2.7-liter VVT-i four-cylinder or gutsy 236hp, 4.0-liter VVT-i V-6 ?? each with electronic throttle control with intelligence for improved performance and fuel economy.
The six is backed by either six-speed manual gearbox or five-speed automatic while the four offers five-speed manual or four-speed automatic choice.
We most recently enjoyed the V-6/five-speed automatic combination in a Tacoma 4×2 PreRunner Double Cab tester that gave us 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.
Designers have matured the styling of this latest Tacoma giving it a big, bold grill and headlamps up front with broad shouldered fenders in PreRunner and 4×4 models. Interior amenities and materials are much more refined and modern while offering greater ??spread?? room for occupants.
In addition to a smoother onroad feel, the new Tacoma offers a much quieter ride over previous models thanks to added sound absorption material wrapping the cabin and exterior design improvements to reduce wind noise.
Double Cab models are still the only cab design that will ??comfortably?? accommodate rear passengers.
Out back, Toyota engineers have given Tacoma a composite inner bed that features sheet-molded compound deck and walls that are lighter than steel yet tougher and more durable. An integrated deck rail utility system enhances cargo carrying options and an available 115-volt power outlet at the rear of the bed adds to the work capability of the Tacoma. There is also a roof rack system available on the Double Cab models.
Four wheel ABS is standard on all Tacomas complete with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist. Enhanced ride quality is thanks to Toyota adopting the design concept of moving rear shocks outside of the frame rails as Ford first did on its recent F-150s.
All new Tacoma models offer Vehicle Stability Control as well as TRAC traction control and 4×4 models can be outfitted with Hill-start Assist Control and Downhill Assist Control, greatly enhancing off-roading capabilities. Tacoma 4×4 models are equipped with the 4WDemand electronically-controlled two-speed transfer case activated by a turn of a dash mounted knob.
Pricing for our test model Tacoma begins at $23,500. Fully loaded (including SR5 package, security system and tow hitch) the PreRunner 4×2 Double Cab comes to $26,618.
Standard safety items include front, side impact and side curtain airbags along with driver and front passenger active headrests, and the tire pressure monitoring system is thrown in as well.