2016 Toyota Tacoma: More Comfortable on the Highway Than the Old Tacoma, But Still Not Great
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.
In our reviews and ratings of the previous-gen Tacoma from a few years ago (it technically ran from 2005-'15), we noted drawbacks of excessive wind noise, a loud engine, uncomfortable seating and a rough-riding suspension on some models.
I've driven our Tacoma a couple times now for some extended highway drives of about 250 miles. The good news is that I haven't been uncomfortable. The driver seat is fine, though you could still point to the driving position and hard door armrest as potential drawbacks. Wind, road and engine noise are noticeable, but not dramatically so. And for a pickup with an off-road suspension, our Tacoma TRD Off-Road rides respectably well over bumps and broken pavement.
It's about what you'd expect for a pickup. Still, I can't help but think of other pickups I've driven that seemed like they could keep me comfortable for days on end. Our long-term Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 were like that. They could consistently go 500 miles between fill-ups, too. I recently got our best range in our Tacoma, and that was just 351 miles from a full tank of gas. Oh, and there's the Tacoma's V6 and six-speed transmission combo, too, which I previously noted for its lack of low-end torque and overly shifty behavior when going over hills.
In our Tacoma's defense, it's a little unfair to compare it to those more expensive full-size trucks. Against the ancient Nissan Frontier, no question, the Tacoma's more comfortable for long drives. Compared to the Chevrolet Colorado? For the purpose of highway driving, I prefer the Colorado seats, driving position and V6/transmission. I suspect the ride quality is a little stiffer than the Tacoma's, though.
I do like our Tacoma. But for long-distance comfort, there's still room for improvement.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,745 miles