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Toyota Tacoma: Modern Midsize Mauler

March 2015, by Tariq Kamal - Also by this author

Something had to be done to put the Toyota Tacoma back in contention after the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon returned to shake up the midsize pickup segment in the 2015-MY.

Like the new Colorado/Canyon, the re-designed 2016 Tacoma comes loaded with new technology, fashion-forward styling and driver-friendly refinements.

The Tacoma’s 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder base engine returns for another tour after delivering 159 horsepower (hp) at 180 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque in the 2015 model. That engine delivered 21 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles on the highway in the outgoing model; Toyota has pledged to beat those numbers in the new truck.

The OEM will also add an available, purpose-built, 3.5-liter V-6. Output and fuel economy numbers have yet to be determined, but Toyota’s engineers were likely tasked with meeting or beating the 305 hp and 26 highway miles provided by the Colorado/Canyon’s V-6.

As in previous model years, rear-wheel drive will be standard on most trim levels and four-wheel drive will be available with any configuration. Fleet buyers can opt for a six-speed manual transmission on the V-6; a six-speed automatic is the only option for the four-banger.

Specs for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.
Specs for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

The new truck’s proportions will align with the outgoing model, but it will be built with ultra-high-strength steel to save weight and increase stability. A limited-slip and locking rear differential will be available across the lineup; hill-start assist will come standard.

The 2016 Tacoma’s exterior has abandoned the Camry-like façade of its predecessor in favor of a chunky, three-tiered grille and headlights borrowed from the recently discontinued FJ Cruiser. The new truck’s cargo area is secured by a locking, damped tailgate and a multipanel, folding tonneau cover.

The cabin was redesigned, as well, completing the work begun by a 2015-MY refresh. New accoutrements include dual-zone climate control, push-button start, a Qi phone-charging pad and a GoPro camera mount on the dashboard.

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma will be available in the TRD trim levels as well as base SR, midrange SR5 and fully loaded Limited editions. The new truck is expected to roll into showrooms this fall with prices starting at or near the 2015’s $23,905 base MSRP.

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