Mr. Truck: New truck, needed changes
March 1, 2016
New look, new body, new engines, new transmissions and it's about time for the Toyota Tacoma. It's been 11 years since any big change. The 2016 truck I tested was a loaded double cab TRD Off-Road 4×4. The new 6 speed automatic replaces the 5-speed auto. A 3.5L V-6 with 278 horsepower and 265 torque, replaces the 4.0 L V-6 with 42 more horsepower now. New direct fuel injection and one port injector for 7 injectors on a V-6. Quieter cab, less road noise, doors and glass have improved seals. The new frame has more high strength steel.
New axles with Bilstein shocks, as part of the TRD Off-Road package, makes it almost impossible to get stuck. With automatic limited slip, traction control and in low range a locking rear diff with multi-terrain select, will keep the rear axle going. Going down the mountain in 4×4, control is given by Crawl Control. Multi-select, terrain select Crawl Control is speed adjustable for hill decent, located in the overhead console. Twist the knob for mud, snow, sand, rock and mogul for truck skying. Hill-start assist holds the truck with the ABS until you move forward.
A comfortable truck with heated cloth seats, a smart phone charger pad to set your phone on, moon roof, auto headlights and more for a MSRP $37,610. It has a simple dash with usable knobs. Climb in and immediately you know to adjust climate and radio. Tilt and telescope steering wheel and push button start are my favorite features. Orange stitching on the seats match the inferno orange paint and dash trim — Bronco colors. It's a midsize truck with a midsize composite bed that's 3.5 feet between fenders, 5 feet long — a lifestyle truck to haul mid-size ATVs. Very usable 110 volt outlet is in the bed and second row seats, ready for tailgate parties. Inside the windshield has a GoPro bracket if you want to record your off-road adventure.
The 2016 Tacoma has a 6800-pound maximum towing capacity with a 4500 pound curb weight. The V6 tow package has a class four receiver hitch, ATF cooler, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, bigger alternator with trailer harness and trailer sway control but no trailer brake controller. Fuel economy combined EPA rating is 20 mpg, 18 city, 23 highway with a 21 gallon fuel tank. For more on the 2016 Tacoma see http://www.MrTruck.com. ❖