2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for August 2017
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor
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.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Despite several tanks of gas being added this month, the Tacoma's needle didn't move an inch. Its lifetime average remains at 18.6 mpg. Same as last month, same as the month before that and the month before that. I think it's safe to say next month's number will be 18.6 as well. For perspective, that lifetime fuel economy average is about 1.5 mpg lower than our long-term Ridgeline's lifetime average and 0.3 mpg higher than our long-term Colorado's, which was 18.3 mpg after 20,000 miles.
Average lifetime mpg: 18.6
EPA mpg rating: 20 combined (18 city/23 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.0
Best range: 455.7 miles
Current odometer: 35,243 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"With a motorcycle in the bed, I was hoping ride quality would improve — that there would be less bounce from the rear or less float over big highway undulations, but it just didn't happen. Same ol' unrefined Tacoma stuff going on here. The motorcycle I was transporting only weighs about 300 pounds, so it didn't get anywhere near the Tacoma's payload limit but there was definitely a difference in power availability too. Every time a hill came up, I had to tip into the throttle a bit more than I'd have liked, but that seems to be a bit characteristic for the six-speed automatic. I feel like the Ridgeline is so good that it casts a giant shadow over this truck, especially when it comes to road trips." — Travis Langness, automotive editor
"There isn't a single comfortable surface in the cabin of this truck. The area where you lean your left knee, the center console, the door panel where you lean your elbow, and, most importantly, the flat, unsophisticated seat — all of them are tough to interact with. After just a few hundred miles, my legs hurt, my back is starting to feel some radiating pain, and I'm already dreading the 1,700 miles I have left in this trip." — Travis Langness
"On the 16-hour drive from Los Angeles to Portland, the Tacoma was generally uncomfortable. Between Portland and Sacramento on day two, things were even worse. The amount of stretching, squirming, readjusting and stopping for breaks that this truck requires are deal breakers for me. I just spent 1,800 miles in our long-term Ridgeline, and it did all the comfort-related stuff better much than this truck." — Travis Langness
"While the seats in the Tacoma are OK as a driver, they were horrible as a passenger. Maybe it was just me being tired and a little too picky, but that passenger seat cushion was just too hard. I liken it to sleeping in another bed that isn't your own. You know that feeling? Like you can't sleep because it's just a little stiffer than your bed or it doesn't have that cozy, familiar spot. I just couldn't get comfortable. I kept shifting around in my seat — scooting up, slouching down, moving toward the left side, then favoring the right side — it seemed like there was no comfortable position to be had at all. I just gave up." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician
"The Tacoma's stereo has way too many volume adjustments. It goes from 1 all the way up to 62. Since the volume knob is thin and made with smooth, slick plastic, it's hard to grab, so I find myself resorting to the steering-wheel buttons, which take forever to change the volume during a song." — Travis Langness
"I understand that this is aimed toward an off-road-focused audience, but would it hurt to add some soft-touch surfaces to the dash? When I touch a majority of the surfaces in this Tacoma's cabin, I feel like I'm at a Tupperware party." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres
"The Tacoma's bed is just barely long enough to hold a motorcycle with the tailgate open. For some extra security, I attached a ramp/tailgate extender and the bike's rear tire bumped right up against the back. Tie-downs are abundant and it was easy to get this thing strapped down, but if it were any shorter, I'd have had a problem. This is definitely the sweet spot if you're hauling a motorcycle around a lot." — Travis Langness
"I believe Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds stated this in May, but this truck really likes to whistle while it works. While driving around in San Diego this weekend, we experienced some crosswinds while driving up to Point Loma Nazarene University. I thought it was a fluke at first, but the more that we drove on this windy day, the more that I heard it. It's a very subtle 'whooooop' sound. It's not severely annoying, but it is noticeable." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres
"I wrote a lot of negative comments in the Tacoma's log this month. That will happen on a 2,000-mile road trip in three days. I don't want to come off like I have the opinion that the Taco is useless or hateful. It's not; it's just a stark contrast to the Ridgeline, which I enjoy so much. Seat comfort, powertrain refinement, interior materials, highway ride, hell even payload, the Ridgeline wins all of those battles. The Tacoma is certainly no daily driver, especially not in a city like Los Angeles." — Travis Langness