Toyota’s Tacoma pickup has been one of the mid-size truck segment’s most popular sellers almost since its introduction ten years ago. Toyota looks to continue that segment leadership role with the all-new 2016 Tacoma. Toyota engineers and designers have almost completely rebuilt it inside and out.
It’s got a completely revamped V6 powertrain to keep it at the top of the mid-size pickup market for towing and hauling capacity. Suspension engineers have re-tuned the suspension, making it an even better performer off-road than previous models. These two improvements alone should make it an even better performer than previous editions and make it more popular than before.
Those previous editions were nothing to shake a stick at either, considering they’ve built a respectable legacy of off-road racing victories and helped drive the brand to over seven million units, both compact and mid-size trucks, sold since 1964. All in all, this is the best Tacoma ever.
According to group vice-president and general manager of Toyota Division Billy Fay “For more than 50 years adventure-seeking Americans have relied on Toyota trucks to take them places, on and off-road. The all-new homegrown Tacoma is a tough truck designed, developed, and built for lifestyles of the young and young-at-heart.”
Tacoma’s Motto: Built Tough
The Toyota engineering team at Toyota’s Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan helped develop the new 2016 Tacoma. The changes these engineers are responsible for start with the frame where they helped increase rigidity and overall strength of the truck by adding high-strength steel. Another addition that helps enhance vehicle strength, as well as reducing the weight of the truck is the addition of ultra-high strength steel into the body shell as well as a new hot stamping process.
Toyota engineers also gave the truck a smoother on-road ride while making it even more capable off-road with the suspension improvements. This means that the truck is more able to meet the needs of a variety of active drivers no matter where they want to take it.
Available with a Choice of Two Engines
Toyota says buyers of the 2016 Tacoma will be able to choose from two engine options: Economy with power or power with power. For those looking for fuel economy, Toyota will offer a 2.7-liter DOHC four cylinder, with VVT-I producing a respectable 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque at 4000 RPM. This engine is estimated to deliver a combined fuel economy of 21 MPG. City and highway estimates are 19 and 23, respectively for the 4Z2 model with automatic transmission. Highway and combined ratings both drop by only 1 MPG for the 4X4 with manual transmission.
For those that want more get up and go, Toyota is offering a first in its class 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake). This engine will deliver 278 horses, which is an increase of 42 horses over the previous generation V6 engine, and 265 lb-ft of torque at 4600 RPM.
These improvements come by way of Toyota’s D-4S technology which features hybrid direct and port fuel injection. Even with this increase in horsepower and torque, the 3.5 liter still delivers 19/24/21 city/highway/combined in 4X2 automatic and 17/21/19 in 4X4 manual. This engine package will also be available in 4X4 automatic and deliver 18/23/20 MPG.
The automatic transmission slated to back up both engines is a six-speed with electronic shift for quick and easy shifting. The manual transmission backing the four cylinder will be a five-speed, while the V6 will get a six-speed manual. These combinations will make the Toyota more powerful and fuel efficient than ever before. Toss in the V6 Tow Package and the all-new Tacoma will be able to tow up to 6,800 pounds, which is an increase of 300 pounds over the previous V6 models.
Exterior Styling changes are borrowed from Tacoma’s big brother, the Tundra. Buyers will see a new hex grille giving the Tacoma a more chiseled face. Other than that Tacoma is its own truck. The overall design and appearance of the truck will have buyers and bystanders thinking that the Tacoma is both serious and fun at the same time. After a test ride, that first impression will be strengthened thanks to the suspension tuning it received.