2016 Toyota Tacoma: An active lifestyle vehicle
Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Double Cab V6 TRD Sport is the perfect truck for those who want to play in the rough stuff, but if you drive in the city majority of the time, this truck is not for you.
The 2016 model is all new, and is only the third generation model of the Tacoma nameplate, which was first introduced in 1995.
While most cars get a complete do over in five years, Toyota trucks tend to hang around for much longer, essentially fully changing once every 10 years.
Since the 2016 Tacoma is an allnew model and also since it has been about five years since I last featured a test on the Tacoma, it was about time I spent some time with the mid-size Toyota pickup.
So, how is it?
Upon approaching the vehicle, you’ll notice that it looks a lot more aggressive than the previous model, which is a good thing. It looks less like a utility vehicle, and more like an active lifestyle vehicle. However, don’t for one moment think it cannot handle the rough stuff, because it can.
Getting in is not any easier than the last Tacoma; this is a high vehicle that requires some heft to climb into it. Once in, you’ll admire the new interior, which is a lot better than before. The fit and finish is always great in Toyota products, but now there is style, too. It’s not lagging in technology either, since my tester had a touchscreen infotainment system and a reversing camera.
On cold winter mornings, the heated seats came in handy, but I wish it also had a heated steering wheel. My tester, which was the 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Double Cab V6 TRD Sport had the optional “Upgrade Package” which included a power moon roof, wireless charging for your Android cell phone and a blind spot monitoring system. In other words, this was no bare bones pickup.
My tester didn’t come with the standard motor either, which is a 2.7 litre, four-cylinder motor. The one I tested had the upgraded motor, which is a 3.5 litre, V6 that features Toyota’s D-4S technology that allows it to run on both direct and port fuel injection cycles. This is breakthrough technology, and the 2016 Tacoma is the only vehicle in its segment to offer this technology.
The purpose behind it is improved fuel economy; however, in my testing week, I averaged 14.8 litres per 100 kilometres, which is not as good as I was expecting from this vehicle.
I wasn’t impressed with its getup- and-go either, considering my V6 tester is rated at 278 horsepower and 265 pounds per foot of torque, but it felt a lot less than that.
This vehicle requires a lot of effort to get it moving at a decent pace, which can be tiring. You can improve things by engaging the “ECT Power” button.
With this feature engaged, the Electronic Controlled Transmission holds onto each gear a bit longer, and allows you to pick up speed faster. This button makes an improvement, but it still doesn’t feel like a “Sport” truck, despite the decals on its side.
Without that feature engaged, its pace is actually quite annoying, and several times at parking lot speeds, it felt like the vehicle had lost all drive and didn’t react to my inputs as I’d want; this is not a fun vehicle to drive.
However, pickup trucks are not really about fun, they are about work and the Tacoma does an admirable job at that, being able to tow 2,900 kilograms and carry 430 kilograms in its bed.
What I found really impressive was its ability to hop over curbs. The Ford F-150 I tested recently, had a really hard time doing that, and would only do it in 4WD mode. The new Tacoma would do it in just 2WD mode, and when you ran it in 4WD mode, it was a lot more refined than the Ford.
So, here’s the thing, if you play in the rough stuff a lot, the Tacoma is really quite good. However, if you spend most of your time, driving around in the city, and using paved tarmac, most of its competition is better at coping with the urban jungle.
Pricing for the 2016 Tacoma starts at $28,345, but my tester was priced at $36,840.