Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma has been in our fleet for some time now, but we're still finding it pretty useful and, therefore, using it a lot. This month, we added well over 3,000 miles to the odometer, most of which were acquired during a trip to Portland, Oregon, to pick up a motorcycle and a shorter, unladen road trip to and from San Diego.
Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma's voyage in Death Valley and subsequent suspension issues happened several weeks ago. But due to the lead time of video production, you're only hearing about them now. In the meantime we had to keep a lid on the trek, so as not to spoil the surprise. So while the Death Valley trip is technically old news, we're going to make it official in this month's update.
For more insights into why the Tacoma's shocks went limp so readily, our own Dan Edmunds shared his thoughts here. Suffice it to say that you will probably learn something you didn't already know.
That's not all. Our Tacoma spent a portion of July with an editor who lives in a faraway land called Fresno, otherwise known as the farming capital of Central California. It also went for a hike in some local mountains, where it once again was subjected to the rigors of off-road use. Nothing as severe as Death Valley, but what is?
The fact we blew out both rear Bilstein shocks on our 2016 Toyota Tacoma has created a lot of consternation among pickup enthusiasts in general and the Tacoma community in particular. Among other things, the refrain "Bilsteins are crap!" is something I've been reading and hearing.
Not so fast. I'm not jumping on the "Blame Bilstein" bandwagon, even though I was as surprised as anyone else as our own shocks sat there smoldering in Death Valley. There's more to the story than what you've seen and read so far, and after thinking it through I've got a good grasp of what happened.
And I know more than a little something of the backstory. After all, I was the engineer at the proving ground who was responsible for tuning the suspension of the very first TRD Off-Road Tacoma when I worked at Toyota in the 1990s. No, really. It was me.
Where Did We Drive It?
We've kept our 2016 Toyota Tacoma in our long-term fleet for a year and a half now even though we typically just test for one year and 20,000 miles. While that means we've covered just about everything in prior updates, we are getting extra opportunity to evaluate our Tacoma from a maintenance and wear-and-tear standpoint.
We cleared 30,000 miles in June and had to take the Tacoma in for a scheduled service. It was our truck's first service not covered by Toyota's ToyotaCare free maintenance program since that program ends after 25,000 miles. I've also got reporting on how our Tacoma's tires are holding up.
There's a big sticker on both sides of the bed of our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. It says "TRD 4x4 OFF ROAD" in bold letters. It's impossible to miss, mounted high up on the bed. Yet, after just 6 miles on a washboard road in the desert, the high-performance Bilstein shocks on the rear of our Taco truck were toast. Oops.
Our Taco truck continues its road-trip streak with a drive to Colorado and back. Of course, it still handled some local commuter duty — such is the life of anything with wheels in the greater Los Angeles area. We also had a few first-time Tacoma drivers in May, and those fresh eyes reminded us that the Tacoma feels like an old truck. This was a rough month for the scrappy Toyota.
The Tacoma also went on a super-secret road trip to a place I cannot reveal to do things I cannot talk about, but we'll have a special feature coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled!
Where Did We Drive It?
April was another busy month for our 2016 Toyota Tacoma, with nearly 2,300 miles added to our double-cab TRD Off-Road 4x4 at the hands of at least four editors. Beyond our typical baseline level of commuting, the miles came from two road trips: a 1,100-mile midweek run to Yosemite and the central California coast and a 400-mile overnight trip to Borrego Springs that included some off-road exploring in the Anza-Borrego Desert state park and the Ocotillo Wells off-road recreation area.
Where Did We Drive It?
Edmunds normally tests a long-term vehicle for 12 months before either selling it or returning it to its automaker (depending on how we obtained it). Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma debuted back in January 2016. So one might wonder: Why is it still here?
Well, we did buy our Tacoma, and it's not unheard of for Edmunds-owned long-termers to stay longer than 12 months. We've also got a story idea kicking around that requires our Tacoma to linger longer. Like a veteran bullpen relief pitcher, it's still hanging around and contributing in limited fashion. Based on the comments this month, though, I don't think many of my co-workers will be heartbroken when we finally do sell it.
Where Did We Drive It?
Just over one year has passed since we added our 2016 Toyota Tacoma to the long-term test fleet. We know it pretty well by now and it has some quirks, but it stays active nonetheless. The truck spent a portion of this month as a city dweller before breaking free on a road trip to the snow.
Where Did We Drive It?
This month our 2016 Toyota Tacoma spent more of its time in town instead of out on the trail. That means plenty of tight traffic and even tighter parking spots, both of which highlighted the Tacoma's advantages over full-size trucks.
Where Did We Drive It?
Our one-year test of our 2016 Toyota Tacoma is nearing its end. Yet December was one of our truck's busiest months thanks to a few road trips. Editor Cameron Rogers drove from Southern California to Las Vegas and back, and I loaded up the Tacoma for 1,000 miles' worth of holiday-related driving. Want to know what happens when you put a family of five in a Tacoma, pack the bed full of presents and luggage, and then drive hundreds of miles ... in the rain? Fun times, let me tell you. We also posted Dan Edmunds' full report on using the Tacoma to its fullest off-roading potential this month.
Specific highlights and commentary from the 2,500 miles we put on our Tacoma this month follow.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on December 29, 2016
There's nothing that compares to our 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road when it comes to price versus trail-busting performance. The TRD Pro should do as well or better, but it costs over $8,000 more than this truck. Chevy Colorado ZR2 pricing has not yet been announced, but it's likely to compete with the TRD Pro. And its wide-fendered, Raptor-esque bodywork might not be well-suited to the narrow trails that a TRD Off-Road can master.
But that test will have to wait. In this case, my wife and I simply hopped in the Tacoma for a weekend in Big Bear, a mountaintop resort town that sits just below 7,000 feet. Once we settled into our B&B, I persuaded her to join me in tackling Gold Hill Road, a Jeep trail that's fairly difficult and intended for modified Wranglers.
Where Did We Drive It?
With the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the LA Auto Show happening around the same time, I spent two straight weeks in our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. We're often limited to evaluating a vehicle on our comprehensive 120-mile test loop or driving it to and from the test track, so this was exceptional. I treated the Tacoma like I owned it.
Dan Edmunds also put in some seat time, taking the Tacoma up and over a mountain (more on that in an upcoming post), but I had the full spectrum of Tacoma experiences. I got stuck in gridlock traffic, roamed empty highways to see family and even got the chance to take it to my local off-road park. Here are the impressions from the entire month.
Where Did We Drive It?
Ever been to Joshua Tree National Park? Travis Langness drove our 2016 Toyota Tacoma there this month. It's a relatively short freeway drive with the crowded bustle of the L.A. basin on one end and desert camping and rock climbing on the other. You can get there and back on one tank of gas. The Tacoma works well for this sort of duty, with plenty of bed space for dusty gear and enough underbody clearance to get you most anywhere on the desert's network of washboard roads.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on November 7, 2016
Every 2016 Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a touchscreen infotainment interface. The base system is a 6.1-inch screen, and an upgraded 7-inch screen is optional or standard, depending on the trim level. Our Tacoma TRD Off-Road long-termer has the upgraded system, which includes integrated navigation and Toyota's "Entune App Suite."
Let's check out what you get with this system, shall we?
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on November 1, 2016
You buy a pickup to haul stuff. That's the idea, at least, unless you're hoping that Pickup Man is true. But I have to say that our 2016 Toyota Tacoma is especially handy for moving bulky and/or dirty items. Why? Because it's easy to load said items into the Tacoma's bed.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on October 25, 2016
We've had our 2016 Toyota Tacoma in our test fleet for about nine months now. That's ample time to figure out a truck's strengths and weaknesses. We've also introduced another pickup to our fleet recently: a 2016 Nissan Titan XD (a.k.a. King Banana).
The combined seat time has given me greater clarity as to why I think a shopper looking at trucks would want a Tacoma.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on October 20, 2016
The last time I spent significant time with our 2016 Toyota Tacoma was back in May of this year. I wrote the fuel update for the month and wrapped it up with: "I do like our Tacoma, but the expectation of getting dramatically better fuel economy than a full-size truck probably isn't going to be realized during this test."
Commenter bohio replied with: "... ya think? How about restating the objective to getting even slightly better fuel economy, because 'dramatically' is — aside from being the wrong choice of words — not easily defined. Would a 2 mpg improvement over the F150 or a Tundra be 'dramatically' better?"
Fair enough. Sure, I'd take 2 mpg better. But as you can likely guess, our Tacoma's fuel economy hasn't budged over the summer.
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on September 2, 2016
When a song like "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes on the radio during my commute home, I do the only responsible or sensible thing I can think of. I turn the volume up as high as it will go and sing along. In our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma that meant I cranked the knob to 62. Seriously, that's the maximum.
by Alistair Weaver, European Correspondent on August 31, 2016
For most Europeans, the idea of travelling over a thousand miles in ten days in a pickup truck would sound like a punishment. Put simply, we just don't get why anyone would want to chug around in a utilitarian tool with leaf springs and an open bed. American culture might have convinced us to spend five dollars on frothy coffee (thanks Starbucks), but we don't do truckin'.
Maybe that's why the Edmunds editors threw me the keys to the 2016 Toyota Tacoma for a sojourn from L.A. to San Francisco and back, via Yosemite National Park. I've been Edmunds' European Correspondent for more than a decade and it was time for a fresh injection of Americana, with a Japanese twist.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 29, 2016
Not that it ever rains here much. But there are those times that you've got a bit too much grime buildup or some morning dew. Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup had a bit of each one recent morning, but all I got was a big smear when I triggered the wiper/washer function. I tried cleaning the blades off, but they were toast.
Toyota uses the fairly common J-hook style of blade mount, so they go on and off rather easily. The driver's side blade is longer than the passenger side one, and the guy behind the counter at Autozone said I needed 22- and 21-inch blades. I took him at his word and bought a pair.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 25, 2016
I know it's there, but I keep forgetting about it. Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup has a factory-installed Go-Pro mount bonded to the top edge of the windshield. It's easy to overlook because this unobtrusive bit of plastic is positioned high up on the glass where it's out of sight, out of mind.
It's just a clip, the receptacle half of a standard Go-Pro mount, the part you would stick to your motorcycle or bicycle helmet. The camera and the mating half of the buckle-style snap are not included, of course, but anyone who owns a Go-Pro has those.
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on August 17, 2016
Over the last few months with our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma, I've noticed quite a few reader comments about the price of this truck. In general, the comments have focused on the comparison between midsize trucks like the Tacoma and more capable full-size pickups.
The general sentiment seems to be that with a truck like the Tacoma, you're paying a very similar amount for a truck with less space, less hauling capability, similar fuel economy and a lower tow rating. And sure, in some cases this is true. Equipment levels aren't the same, but for the roughly $35k we spent on our Tacoma, you can get a Silverado, Ram 1500 or Ford F-150. Spend just a little bit more and you'll have a bigger, badder truck that's also nicely equipped. So why go with the midsize Taco?
Because this is a truck you can actually live with in the city.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on August 12, 2016
July was a relatively slow month for our 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Kurt went offroading in the Mojave and European Correspondent Alistair Weaver took a few friends up Pacific Coast Highway (his account of the trip is forthcoming). But the Tacoma spent most its time sitting in our garage or running errands around town, and that didn't help its cause.
We averaged 18.5 mpg over the course of 1,500 miles, which didn't move the overall needle from 18.1 mpg. Check out the rest of the stats below.
When work dictated that I bring our 2016 Toyota Tacoma to the High Desert, north of Mojave, I did not argue. I'd been wanting to sample our Tacoma in a more appropriate environment ever since it showed up in our garage. And because I could, I strapped my 1976 Yamaha DT400 into the bed and took it along for the ride.
By the end of the day, I'd learned that one of these things has good low-end grunt and is light on its feet but generally awful, while the other is a little high-strung and unsurprisingly capable but has terrible brakes.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on July 15, 2016
I carpooled home with Dan Frio yesterday. He drove us to his house at which point I left to take our 2016 Toyota Tacoma back to my place. Shortly after we parted ways the fuel light came on, so I found the nearest gas station. I was 10 miles from Casa de Frio.
There was nothing remarkable about the fuel stop, yet. I shut off the truck, filled up, started the truck again and merged onto the freeway. My phone rang, "Hey, it's Dan. Is the truck still running? Don't turn it off. I just found the key in my pocket."
We added nearly 1,500 miles to our 2016 Toyota Tacoma in June, much of it urban and suburban commuting. We're a little soft in southern California, and no one wants to go out and four-wheel during a spell of heat waves like we had recently (although James got out and chopped it up on the trail in a truck identical to ours), so the Tacoma continues to suffer the indignity of too many pavement miles.
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on June 21, 2016
It isn't large (OK, it's large compared to a Fiat 500 or a first-gen Taco truck, but it's not as big as a Tundra) but our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma has a few storage tricks up its sleeve. Specifically, the rear seats have these useful little cubbies behind each seat. Just pull the strap on the seat, the seat leans forward and there are hard, plastic storage areas.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 17, 2016
It's interesting to think about where our 2016 Toyota Tacoma ranks for comfort and quietness while driving on the highway. If you were to compare it to a BMW 340i, you'd probably come away thinking "Jeez, this Tacoma is really bouncy and noisy!" But if you were to compare it to a soft-top Jeep Wrangler, you'd probably think "Hey, this isn't so bad. I could drive to Alaska in this thing!"
You'd also find it more pleasing to drive than the previous-generation Tacoma.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 13, 2016
May was a fairly quiet month for our 2016 Toyota Tacoma. We added about 1,000 miles, and much of that was amassed during commutes to and from our Santa Monica, California, offices. The good news is that the city-heavy driving didn't impact our lifetime fuel economy much. The bad news is that our truck is still underperforming compared to what the EPA says to expect.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 9, 2016
I'm not all that fond of the driver seating position in our 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Relative to many other vehicles, the Tacoma's seats are mounted closer to the floor. I'm 5-foot 10-inches tall, but my legs are proportionally long. So in order to get enough thigh support and have my feet in the right places for the pedals, I need to slide the driver seat back. But then my arms are extended out more than I prefer to reach the steering wheel.
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on June 6, 2016
Despite a decade in the biz, I haven't exactly spent a lot of it off road. Perhaps it's because I don't like driving slowly, perhaps it's because I don't like getting dirty. Either way, getting a chance to take a 2016 Toyota Tacoma off road is a worthwhile experience, as unlike other trucks, its modus operandi seems to be venturing beyond where the pavement runs out. This is especially true of our TRD Off-Road trim level (shared with the test truck I also drove above) that benefits from a variety of features supposedly designed to help out experts and novices alike.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on May 30, 2016
When an editor begins rating cars for Edmunds.com, we are trained to take note of the smallest shortcomings, whether that be an errant noise in the cabin, an unsightly panel gap or poorly engineered cup holder. We do this not to be annoying nitpickers, but rather to identify things that could possibly be irritants or cause issues for a long-term car owner down the road.
On a recent mini road trip, I discovered something about our 2016 Toyota Tacoma that would certainly cause me perpetual discomfort if I were the owner. Surprisingly, it's not the Tacoma's brakes.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on May 26, 2016
A couple of the new trees in my front yard are growing quickly, and I needed to re-stake them. So I pointed our 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup toward the nearest Home Depot for a pair of tree stakes.
The rack they were stacked on said they were 8 feet long, which I should have expected, but didn't. Our crew cab Tacoma rides on the standard wheelbase, which means it has a 5-foot bed — 60.5 inches, if you want to split hairs. My new stakes were destined to hang out more than 2 feet.
I first loaded them in straight. It could have worked, but I wasn't a fan. Then I put them in diagonally, which was better from a hanging-out-the-back standpoint but introduced a side overhang that had the potential to snag a lane-splitting motorcyclist.
Then I had a third idea, but it wasn't perfect, either. I went with it anyway.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on May 24, 2016
It isn't perfect, but I generally like the EnTune touchscreen audio system in our 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup. It's clearly better than the touchscreen systems that the Honda Pilot and Civic use, and one of the main reasons boils down to a feature that the Honda systems lack: physical volume and tune knobs.
But Toyota's knobs are smallish, a bit slippery and — worst of all — they don't project far enough away from the touch-sensitive radio faceplate. In the course of using them your fingers skim the surface of the radio, which often leads to false contact with nearby touch-sensitive areas — especially when a moving car is jostling around. On the volume side, you might accidentally trip the number-six preset. On the tuning side, you'll trigger the fader and balance sub-menu.
This weekend I had an idea that's more of a proof-of-concept design change proposal than a permanent solution. It's a suggestion I'd give to the Toyota radio design team if I ever got five minutes of their time. And there's much to be gained because this is not just a Tacoma issue. Our Prius and Mirai have the same knobs, along with every single current Toyota that's fitted with the EnTune touchscreen audio system.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on May 19, 2016
Whether you're out kicking up sand in the desert, climbing up mountain trails, or swimming through a sea of shopping mall traffic, it's important to be well-hydrated while driving your 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Or at least that's the subliminal message I received poking around the cabin the other day.
Pop quiz: Can you correctly guess the total number of cup holders in the Tacoma's cabin?
Here it is fast and hard. I loved our long-term Chevy Colorado and up to this point I've hated our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. I've hated the Taco's weird arms-out seating position, its touchy brakes and its lazy throttle response.
But here's the thing, I was wrong.
Not about the Colorado, great truck. I was wrong about the Tacoma. Like me, it's an acquired taste.
When my daughter slid into the back seat of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma the first thing she did is request a Bluetooth connection. Once that was established, she proceeded to complain about the lack of legroom. Is it really that tight in back of the Tacoma?
Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma is getting a healthy amount of miles on its odometer, so this month we brought it in for its first scheduled service. It was just a check up for the most part as an oil change wasn't even part of the suggested maintenance.
I hate to stop for gas. Hate it. Takes time. Costs money. Yada yada. So I avoid it. Wait til the last minute. Or mile. Drives my wife crazy. My kids too.
And that's why I like cars and trucks that don't just suggest you go for some go-go juice but get aggressive about it. I like cars with bongs and beeps. Cars with bright lights and big messages. I like cars that grab me by the throat and scream STOP FOR GAS STUPID!
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on April 20, 2016
Our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma calls for its first service at 5,000 miles. It's a relatively simple service compared to some other vehicles in our fleet.
The maintenance log lists the following:
- Check installation of the driver's floor mat
- Inspect and adjust all fluid levels
- Inspect wiper blades
- Rotate tires
- Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
All in all, the tire rotation seems to be the most labor intensive service. Additional service is recommended if you drive frequently on dirt roads or dusty roads, tow often, or a few other situations that don't apply to our truck. No oil change is called for in the first service unless the truck idles extensively or is driven at low speeds in freezing weather.
With just the simple service, I hoped we could get the Tacoma in and out of the dealer in a few hours.
Sedona, as you are likely aware, is more than just a current member of the Edmunds long-term fleet. It's also a town in Arizona, one that incidentally was named after the wife of its first postmaster, a man called Theodore Carlton Schnebly. My wife and I went there for vacation last week, accompanied by the long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. We left town as auspiciously as possible, taking rock-strewn Schnebly Hill Road (pictured above) to Interstate 17, and found ourselves bursting with impressions when all was said and done.
Here are three that stood out (plus bonus off-road video action!).
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on March 17, 2016
Toyota is the last major automaker with no announced plans to support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. With this in mind, I was curious to see how the infotainment system in our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma handled voice commands.
What happens when you press the button? The first thing I saw on the screen was an option to train the system to recognize my voice. Of course I pressed it.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 15, 2016
If you're buying a 2016 Toyota Tacoma you can choose either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or a new 3.5-liter V6, which replaces the Tacoma's previous 4.0-liter V6. The V6 is the obvious choice, mostly because if you're going to tow or haul, you'll want the extra grunt.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 10, 2016
Here's the setup: You're going to buy a new vehicle. You want something that can stomp around in the wilderness for recreation (hiking, camping/fishing, off-roading). But this will also be your daily-driver.
Ideally it's also versatile as well as easy and comfortable to drive.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 8, 2016
Toyota introduced keyless ignition and entry (Toyota's "Smart Key") as a new feature for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. The good news: it's pretty easy to get on a Tacoma. If you pick the midgrade TRD (Sport or Off-Road) or top level Limited, you get it as standard equipment.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on March 4, 2016
Our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma is a midsize truck with serious off-road capability, and I like that. It seems to compromise some city-driving refinement though, and that I cannot abide. Don't get me wrong, the ride quality is okay for daily driving, but there's a big issue when it comes to the brakes.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 2, 2016
Want versus need. Keep an eye on what's out on the road and it's immediately obvious that full-size trucks rule the sales charts. And considering that for the price of a new 2016 Toyota Tacoma you can often get within budget range of a discounted or rebated new full-size pickup, going for "more" of what you want certainly makes a lot of sense.
At the same time, you can also make an argument for just getting what you need.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on February 29, 2016
We're a little overdue but here's our first fuel economy report on our 2016 Toyota Tacoma.
For reference, we've got a 4WD TRD Pro with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and automatic transmission. The EPA says to expect 20 mpg in combined driving. Care to guess what we're averaging so far after the first 2,000 miles?
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on February 10, 2016
One of the things that irked me about our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado was the simplistic way its 60/40 rear seat folded. The seatback simply folded down on top of the seat bottom, leaving a slanting surface that was a fair ways up from the ground. The seat bottoms flipped up to reveal a hidden bin, but the available space was laughably small.
I had forgotten most of this until I drove our 2016 Toyota Tacoma to a local store to pick up a few groceries. The Tacoma's rear seat folding strategy differs from that of the Colorado, and it's a difference that makes a difference.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on February 8, 2016
Like many trucks, our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma shouldn't be judged by its on-road performance alone. The Kevlar-sidewall tires, skid plates and beefed-up suspension are no help here, but there is a reason we chose the TRD Off Road over the TRD Sport.
While we've briefly tested the Taco's off-road capabilities, it's time to see how it performs at the track.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on February 4, 2016
The thing about off-road potential is that you can often simply look at a vehicle, or study certain fundamental specifications, and size it up pretty accurately. Ground clearance is a good one, along with the clearance angle triplets: Approach, departure and breakover. Tire size and the general knobbiness of the tread pattern are plain to see, of course. Gearing is invisible to the casual observer, but you can readily look it up.
One of the things you cannot see or easily look up is Ramp Travel Index, a measure of the maximum articulation of a given suspension. We had the same problem, so we built a 20-degree test ramp of our own. It was only a matter of time before we pointed our 2016 Toyota Tacoma up the ramp.
We did the same with our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado soon after we bought it last year - or tried to. But the Colorado scored a zero because its comically low and unexpectedly rigid chin spoiler frustrated our attempts to even drive up the 20-degree RTI ramp in the first place.
The story is quite different when it comes to the new Tacoma.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on February 1, 2016
Although there have been various versions of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma in the office over the last few months, I never managed to get behind the wheel. This weekend, I got my first chance to get acquainted with our new long-term Tacoma. Here's what I found:
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on January 26, 2016
My head moved as if on a swivel as I wheeled our 2016 Toyota Tacoma into the parking lot of my local Costco and scanned for the nearest open spot. As luck would have it, the first and best one I saw was alongside my truck's doppelganger.
Crew cab? Check. Magnetic Gray Metallic paint? Uh-huh. 3.5-liter V6? Present. Optional 2-inch receiver hitch? Ditto. Brand-spanking new with temporary tags and no license plate? Yes, even that, too.
TRD Off-Road? Hang on a second. That one's a TRD Sport.
Together they represent at least 40 percent of Tacoma sales. The two are identically-equipped as far as interior trimmings go. And they cost exactly the same when the cab, engine, transmission and drive-type selections match. The differences boil down to things we can see here in the parking lot — mostly.
The rear bumper end caps jump out immediately. They're chrome on our TRD Off-Road and painted body-color on the Sport. The fender flare difference is subtle, owing to the particular color of these trucks. They again match the body color on the Sport, but a TRD Off-Road wears textured and unpainted black ones that are more resistant to stone chips and better at concealing the "desert stripe" you get from driving on narrow brush-covered trails.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on January 22, 2016
That didn't take long. I headed for the local mountains the very first weekend I got my mitts on the keys to our brand new 2016 Toyota Tacoma. And it was good.
No, it was excellent.
I'm talking about the TRD Off-Road suspension, which impressed me more than it had during my drive at last summer's launch event near Seattle. Here on my rougher local terrain, it was even better than expected at smoothing out awkward bumps and the sort of rough cross-grain erosion grooves you get on forest service fire roads that haven't seen a grader for a few seasons.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on January 21, 2016
I've seen the ECT Power switch in Toyota trucks since I was in junior high. I've driven plenty of trucks with the switch. And before this Tacoma, that switch has never made any discernable difference. Now that's changed.
The switch resides on the center stack of our 2016 Toyota Tacoma. I had driven the truck for a day or so before I even noticed it. Then I drove up the longest hill in my neighborhood. We live in the foothills of Orange County's Santa Ana mountains and the houses are built into some real inclines. The one in question rises 450 vertical feet in just over a mile.
Just enough, it turns out, to throw the Tacoma into shift-fits. Be careful how you say that.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on January 14, 2016
The Toyota Tacoma has history. It's a workhorse with a reputation for reliability and durability that's known the world over. And it earned that reputation with the easygoing nature offered only in a smaller pickup. As midsize trucks go, it is the standard-bearer.
That reputation is one reason why the redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma isn't drastically different from the previous model. There's a new V6 and an improved six-speed automatic. The interior is updated to modern standards that were desperately lacking in the 11-year-old outgoing version. Dimensionally, however, the new truck is almost identical to the one it replaces. Its track width, wheelbase and suspension remain the same as before. It's still very much the same midsize truck it's always been.
That's a good thing in many ways, as we have always liked the Tacoma's rugged nature and considerable capabilities. Our initial drive of the redesigned model suggested that it was a slightly more high-tech version of the truck we already knew. We decided to find out if that was enough of a leap to keep it at the head of the class, so we bought a crew cab V6 of our own.