January 8 , 2016 /

Toyota Tacoma

Overall: NEW_for_2016_3Many adventure seekers and working folks alike have an inclination for smaller pickups, which is a niche that the Toyota Tacoma has dominated for years.

Drivetrain: Both four-cylinder and V6 engines return, the former with a standard automatic transmission; pptional 4×4 for those not wanting to be stuck-in-the-muds.

The Tacoma remains the automaker’s top-selling pickup, out-doing the full size Tundra by a fair margin. The 2016 redesign displays a bolder hexagonal grille and the fenders show more flare/flair. Without the regular-cab Tacoma in the lineup the extended Access Cab and four-door Double Cab are your only choices. The restyled interior environment benefits from a sound-absorbing headliner, a “floor silencer pad,” thicker door seals and multi-layer acoustic windshield. Returning for base-engine duty is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a new 3.5-liter V6 that produces 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, which replaces the 4.0-liter V6 with its 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet. The four-cylinder Tacoma is paired with a five-speed manual transmission, while the V6 gets a six-speed unit. An available six-speed automatic is common to both powerplants. Four-wheel-drive can be added, regardless of engine or cab choices, however manual-transmission-equipped Tacomas will automatically come with 4×4. At a starting price of $24,200, including destination fees, the base SR Access Cab — the work truck of the bunch — is understandably thin on comfort/features, but does include air conditioning, a six-inch touch-screen, six-speaker audio system and a windshield mount for your GoPro-brand video camera. The SR5 adds a sliding rear glass panel, cruise control, remote keyless entry and an enhanced audio/communications package while the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Sport and Off-Road trims put a rough-and-tumble spin on the Tacoma. You’ll get sport-tuned or off-road Bilstein-brand shocks, a Multi-Terrain Select system (that regulates the transmission, throttle and brakes for mud, rock or sand conditions), locking rear differential and a crawl control for taking it slow and easy for extreme trail conditions. The Limited lives it up with, literally, a truckload of luxury items ranging from leather-covered seats, navigation system and a power moonroof to chrome trim with 18-inch polished wheels.

Base price (incl. destination): $24,200
Type: Two-/four-door mid-sized pickup
Base engine (hp): 2.7-liter DOHC I4 (159)
Optional engine (hp): 4.0-liter DOHC V6 (278)
Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel drive
Transmissions: Five-speed manual; four-speed automatic (opt. on I4); six-speed manual (std. on V6); five-speed automatic (opt. on V6)
MPG (city/highway): 19/24 (2.7, MT, 4×2)
Weight (lb.): 3,980

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