The Tacoma has jokingly been called the “gateway drug” to small truck ownership. It’s true that over the last 20 years of Tacoma history – not to mention the previous years when the trucks were called merely “Pickup” – the company has done its level best to addict buyers to their products through an enviable mixture of toughness, durability, and value. The pickup is what sold the world on the brand, drawing customers to Toyota car dealerships everywhere.
An All-New Tacoma
For 2016, the company offers an entirely redesigned Tacoma. It retains the virtues people expect in a truck, while introducing some welcome refinements:
- The long-lived 4.0 V6 in last year’s Tacoma is history. The all-new V6 powerplant features variable valve technology that allows it to leverage the advantages of the Atkinson cycle. A considerable percentage of a traditional engine’s power is used to compress the fuel-air mixture in the cylinders. The Atkinson cycle allows the intake valves to stay open until the moment of ignition, reducing wasted energy. The end result: a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 that produces a hard-charging 278 horsepower, with noticeably improved fuel economy.
- The V6 also now features a D4S fuel injection system. D4S combines both direct and port injection, thus keeping the intake tract cleaner than direct injection by itself would, while still delivering improved power and efficiency over a port-only setup.
- A new electronically-controlled 6-speed automatic transmission will likely be the choice of most Tacoma buyers, and for good reason: The top two ratios are deep overdrives, making for increased fuel economy and relaxed highway cruising.
- The improved structure features extra use of sound-deadening materials and high-strength steel, putting this pickup truck closer to most new cars in terms of comfort and noise level.
- A crawl-control system on the automatic-equipped 4X4 models enables amazing feats of off-road mastery, even in the hands of a novice.
- The interior has been entirely redesigned for maximum comfort in line with what drivers of new cars expect
The GoPro Advantage
The feature that’s most likely to gain attention from visitors to car dealerships seems minor, but illustrates what’s kept Toyo at the top of the pickup game for decades: All Tacomas now feature GoPro camera mounts as standard equipment. Toyota executives noticed many users mounting GoPro cams on their trucks during off-road adventures. They figured they could do it better, with more attention to safety and function. It was an opportunity to offer customers increased value.
That one example of attention to detail and responsiveness to customer needs is why Tacoma will continue addicting people to Toyota trucks, just as it has in decades past.