Full 2006 Toyota Tacoma Review
What's New for 2006
For 2006, a tire-pressure monitor is now standard on all Tacomas. Revised SAE testing procedures have dropped horsepower and torque ratings.
Long known for their durable nature, Toyota trucks have been on sale in the U.S. market since 1964 (remember the Stout, anyone?). Toyota introduced its sixth-generation truck, and anointed it with the "Tacoma" nameplate, in 1995. The first-generation Tacoma consistently attracted some of the youngest buyers in its class thanks to sharp styling, a bulletproof reliability record and its image as the perfect complement to a pair of dirt bikes or WaveRunners. It wasn't always the biggest or most powerful truck in its class, but when it came to delivering a complete package, the Toyota Tacoma rarely let its buyers down.
Just last year, an all-new Tacoma debuted 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 truck comes in regular, extended-cab (Toyota calls it an Access Cab) and crew-cab (Double Cab) body styles in both two- and four-wheel drive. The 2006 Toyota 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.
Also available is a long-bed version of the crew cab and the high-performance access cab X-Runner street truck. All regular and extended-cab models are available with either four- or six-cylinder engines, while the crew-cab models use the V6 exclusively. The X-Runner 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 extended cab only with a lowered suspension and additional structural bracing underneath that gives the truck its name. Even the least expensive 4x2 regular cab is outfitted with the essentials, including antilock brakes, a CD stereo and multiple power points.
Even more impressive than the Tacoma's standard features is the overall design and comfort of the interior. With plenty of room in every direction, the Tacoma has lost much of the claustrophobic feeling so typical of most compact trucks. A composite cargo bed comes standard on all models and incorporates built-in storage units, adjustable tie-down anchors and even an optional 400-watt electrical outlet. The compact truck category has seen a rekindling of interest over the last couple years, as manufacturers court younger buyers with vehicles that are as functional as they are fashionable. With it's excellent revamp, the 2006 Toyota Tacoma is now firmly planted in the upper echelon of its class.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2006 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 on these Toyota trucks 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 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 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. The 4.0-liter V6 engine serves up 236 hp and 266 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 6,500 pounds.
Antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist are standard on all Toyota Tacoma trucks. A stability control system is optional 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 offered on 4WD models equipped with an automatic transmission, stability control and the off-road package.
Interior Design and Special Features
The design of the dashboard controls and instrument cluster of the Toyota Tacoma mimics the 4Runner, 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 easy, thanks to dual rear doors that open wide, and the backseat of the Double Cab is 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 of the 2006 Toyota Tacoma is of a truck that is well planted at every corner, predictable when pushed and surprisingly agile considering its size.