2009 Toyota Tacoma V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD 5.0 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I needed a truck that could seat three people (including booster seats) in the back, have strong safety features, and still be able to handle off-road conditions for camping and hunting. I ruled out the Honda Ridgeline because its undercarriage is more vulnerable. The Tacoma is designed for high clearance, and low roll-over risk, which means the floor is high and the roof is low. The transmission and transfer case are well protected. Everything else, including Tacoma's flaws, derive from these design goals. The fronts seats are low. Toe room is bad in back. With side airbags and stability control, it is the safest thing out there. The roof meets 2010 IIHS standards for a "good" rating.
Safety features. Braking. Low end torque of engine. Acceleration. Light weight for what it is. Red panel lighting at night. Transmission is quick to lock up the torque converter after shifts, thus very efficient. Steering.
Should add lighting to the 4WD selector switch. If you hit snow in the dark, you have to find it by feel. Add height adjustment to front seats. Kill the beep when remote locking. Transmission downshifts two gears after going around turns, causing engine to race. Very annoying and unnecessary.
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