Full 2005 Toyota Tacoma Review
What's New for 2005
The 2005 Toyota Tacoma has been completely redesigned.
Having made pickups for the U.S. market since 1964 (remember the Stout, anyone?), Toyota introduced its sixth-generation truck, and the Tacoma nameplate, in 1995. An all-new Tacoma debuts this year with across-the-board improvements. Whether it's engine power, interior room or safety features, the newest Tacoma has more of everything than it had before and even a few things it didn't. Like most trucks in its class, the new truck comes in regular, extended cab (Toyota calls it an Access Cab) and crew cab (or Double Cab) body styles in both two- and four-wheel drive. The Tacoma also continues with the popular PreRunner models that offer the look and suspension of the four-wheel-drive trucks sans the actual four-wheel-drive running gear. New styles for 2005 include a long-bed version of the crew cab and the high-performance access cab X-Runner street truck. All regular and access cab models are available with either four- or six-cylinder engines, while the crew cab models use the V6 exclusively. On the low end, an all-new 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine replaces both the 2.4-liter and 2.7-liter engines used previously. Producing 164 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque, the new 2.7 offers a significant boost in horsepower. All V6 models now use a larger 4.0-liter engine in place of the previous 3.4-liter power plant. With 245 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque, the 2005 Toyota Tacoma measures up to every six-cylinder truck in its class and nearly matches the power of the Dodge Dakota's High-Output 4.7-liter V8. Off-road junkies will also be happy to know that the Tacoma now offers both Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) on all models (X-Runner excepted) equipped with an automatic transmission. The X-Runner essentially picks up where the old S-Runner left off, offering a sport-tuned pickup for those who want some utility without giving up the fun. It comes as a six-speed V6 access cab only with a lowered suspension and additional structural bracing underneath that gives the truck its name. Toyota also upgraded the base Tacoma to give it a better value proposition -- never the strongest aspect of the previous model. The least expensive 4x2 regular cab in now outfitted with the kind of standard features you would expect, such as antilock brakes, a CD stereo and multiple power points. Even more impressive than the newly standard features is the overall design and comfort of the interior. With more room in every direction, the 2005 Toyota Tacoma has lost much of the claustrophobic feeling so typical of most compact trucks. There's also a new composite cargo bed that comes standard on all models and incorporates built-in storage units, adjustable tie-down anchors and even an optional 400-watt electrical outlet. Toyota seems well apprised of the fact that while the compact truck category has seen little movement in the last five to 10 years, 2005 marks a rekindling of interest in this segment, with major redesigns for most of the major players. With Toyota's excellent revamp, the Tacoma is now firmly planted in the upper echelon of its class.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2005 Toyota Tacoma comes in three body styles: Regular Cab, Access Cab (extended cab) and Double Cab (crew cab). Each is available with two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Toyota also offers Tacomas with a "PreRunner" designation. PreRunners are 2WD trucks that have the looks and heavy-duty suspension of 4WD models. Toyota also offers a special 2WD X-Runner access cab sport truck equipped with the V6, a six-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension and additional structural bracing underneath that gives the truck its name. Standard features on the regular cab include a CD player, a full-size spare tire and a tachometer. Access Cabs add bucket seats, air conditioning and a pair of rear access doors. On top of that, the Double Cab receives keyless entry and power windows, locks and mirrors. An optional SR5 package features color-keyed and chrome trim, intermittent wipers and upgraded interior trim. A JBL audio system with seven speakers is optional on Double Cabs. An available TRD Sport package includes performance suspension and upgraded tires, and a TRD Off-Road package features meaty white-lettered tires and heavy-duty off-road suspension.
Powertrains and Performance
All regular and access cab models are available with either four- or six-cylinder engines, while the crew cab models use the V6 exclusively. Standard is a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 164 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque. The 4.0-liter V6 engine serves up a generous 245 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic for the four-cylinder, while V6 buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic. Equipped with the V6 engine, the Tacoma's maximum tow rating is now 6,500 pounds.
Antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist are standard on all Tacomas. A stability control system is available on all models, except the X-Runner. Crew cab models also offer optional front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) are optional on all models (X-Runner excluded) equipped with an automatic transmission. The 2005 Toyota Tacoma has not yet been crash tested.
Interior Design and Special Features
The design of the dashboard controls and instrument cluster mimics Toyota's 4Runner SUV, which isn't a bad thing. The quality of the materials sets a new standard for the class, and the seats have the kind of firm, supportive bolstering not typically found on trucks of this type. Getting into Access Cabs is easier now, thanks to dual rear doors that open wider than before, while the backseat of the Double Cab is now comfortable for full-size adults.
While the standard four-cylinder is certainly adequate, the 4.0-liter V6 is a terrific all-around performer, with plenty of guts down low and a willingness to spin into the upper rev ranges without getting thrashy. In terms of handling, the feeling behind the wheel is of a truck that is well planted at every corner, predictable when pushed and surprisingly agile considering its size.