Toyota found itself in an enviable position when Ford discontinued its Ranger pickup after the 2012 model year as the leading option for buyers of smaller (mid-size) pickups. Toyota's Tacoma became an immediate beneficiary from retail and fleet buyers.
In the fleet industry, the Tacoma snared Rollins Inc.'s Orkin as a commercial user that had yoked its vehicle branding to Rangers as the primary fleet vehicle since 1983. And in the year following the Ranger's exit, the 2013 calendar year, commercial fleets added 10,074 Tacoma trucks.
The landscape has changed since 2013, as General Motors re-introduced appealing versions of its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups. And Ford may re-introduce its Ranger sometime around 2018.
With this more competitive backdrop, Toyota has given the Tacoma a major update for the 2016 model year, after pushing the truck into its third generation with the 2015 model year.
For 2016, the Tacoma adds a more powerful V-6 engine, improved off-road capability, an updated infotainment system with touchscreen, and more aggressive body styling.
The Tacoma's nose now makes a more aggressive impression with its hard angles and slightly inset headlights. The 3.5L V-6 we tested replaces the 4.0L V-6 and adds 42 hp by employing Toyota's D-4S port- and direct-injection system.
Some additional updates for the Toyota Tacoma include:
- The 2016 Tacoma also increases towing capability. Buyers of the V-6-powered truck can add a package that allows the truck to tow 6,800 pounds for an increase of 300 pounds over the outgoing model.
- The 4x4 version of the Tacoma has been given EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined cycles.
- The Tacoma's rugged ride will be familiar to its acolytes, and other trim grades such as the TRD provide additional off-road capabilities.
However, the new truck offers less technology and safety features than the GM trucks, but still provides good value in the segment.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet