2016 Toyota Tacoma: One Way To Haul 8-foot Items
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.
I opened the pass-through window and let them poke into the cab. Stupid, right?
It's not that dumb. I was alone. The center-mounted window would force them to point away from my delicate cranium if I jammed the butt ends into the rear corner of the bed on the driver's side.
But this would only work if they were restrained from moving, and I had a strap for that.
I folded the rear seatback and found a couple of loops — one for the seatback itself, the other for a child restraint. Each would be robust enough so long as I didn't ratchet the strap very tight. I figured the friction between the rough wood and the coarse webbing would do the job if the strap was merely snug.
Besides, this would only have to work for three miles.
The Tacoma's long bed is just over 6 feet long — 73.7 inches, to be exact. But putting that bed behind a crew cab would force me to deal with the reduced maneuverability and diminished off-road clearance of a long-wheelbase truck. No thanks.
There is another way: buy the extended cab and get the utility of the longer bed on the more maneuverable short wheelbase. I could go for that.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 8,215 miles