The natural progression gives way to a meaner grille, shaper body lines that really slim down the whole package, and a whole new lineup of wheels and tires capable for both on and off road.
Sleek and Stylish
From the rugged exterior comes an interior that feels more like a mainstream truck. Where the previous-gen Tacoma was built with a more blue-collar buyer in mind, the interior of the new Tacoma feels well-thought out, equipped with quality materials, Toyota’s new Entune audio system, and even wireless charging .
.capabilities—a first in the segment. Buttons were easy to find and use, especially locking differential and crawl control settings (we’ll get to more of that later).
The seats were nice; fitted with either leather or cloth depending on the spec, it was a comfortable ride, all the while Toyota engineers reduced wind noise and gave it a more comfortable suspension. Space is surprisingly limited, though. My 6-foot frame didn’t fit as well as it should have in the front seat while trying to leave room for passengers in the rear. And don’t even think about fitting four people comfortably in the extended cab.
Willing and Able
Now let’s talk about the best part: the driving capabilities. The great thing about the new Tacoma—which can also be said about the old—is that when it comes to mid-size trucks, Toyota usually knows what its doing in the off-road department. Naturally, the 2016 Tacoma didn’t disappoint.
Opt for the TRD Off-Road package and you get 16-inch wheels wrapped in a set of off-road capable Michelin tires. On a simple backroad, the Tacoma proves to be a sporty little performer, enthusiastically taking on bumps and tossing gravel haphazardly all the while. Not once did it feel like it was struggling to actually be a truck.
When you get to the tough stuff, though, that’s when it really shines. Toyota fitted it with a Crawl Control system that—describing it in the best way possible—feels almost like autonomous off roading. Put it in gear best suited to that terrain, simply push the Crawl Control button, set your speed, and the truck does all the work. No gas, no brake—just make sure you steer it in the right direction. That’s what’s happening in the video below.
If that system sounds familiar, it’s because Toyota was one of the first marques to offer it on its lineup of trucks and SUVs. The 2016 Tacoma being the latest. Other features include a hydraulic lift gate, plenty of 12 volt plugs (including one in the bed), a standard GoPro mount, and some nifty storage compartments under the back seat.
The 2016 Tacoma really impressed in a segment that’s filled with some pretty impressive vehicles already. With a little bit of wheel play and a bouncy suspension, it may not be perfect on the road. But off the road, the Tacoma outshines all other mid-size trucks.
Pricing starts at just $23,300, going all the way up tot $37,820. The TRD Off-Road package—my personal favorite—starts at $30,765, which isn’t bad all things considered.
For that cash, you can choose either a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder version that delivers a respectable 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft torque. Or, opt for the new 3.5-liter V6 that grunts out 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft torque (we’d go with the latter).
Expect to see the new Tacoma in dealers starting next month.
Engine: 2.7L Inline-4 / 3.5L V6
Horsepower: 159 / 278
Torque: 180 lb-ft / 265 lb-ft
Price: $23,300 (base)
Best off-road truck in the segment
Loaded with new technology
Too soft on the road
Not all that spacious