2016 Toyota Tacoma: Seat Folding Maximizes Cargo Capacity
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.
The seat bottoms flip up and forward, which allows for a lower hinge point that enables the seat backs to fold down about six inches lower. And they fold flat and level, with a hard surface that makes a stable platform on which to stack your stuff.
I'm taller than 6 feet and when I'm driving, I need to slide the front seat most of the way back. No problem. I didn't have to scoot my seat forward to make room for the flip-and-fold process.
A fairly generous cubby is revealed when the setback is down. A tow hitch could fit in here, maybe a recovery strap or some motorcycle tie-downs.
And, yes, there's a cubby underneath the seat bottoms. It's similar to what you get in the Colorado, only a fair bit wider. And it does not depend on the seat to be its lid; it has one of its own, with a latch.
Folding the seat bottoms up and down could make it easy to lose track of the seat belt buckles, but Toyota has engineered a solution for that. Stuff the buckle-ends into these pockets and they'll be easy to find after you fold the seat bottom back into the sitting position.
Don't remember what the Colorado looked like? I could have sworn I took a picture with the rear seat folded, but a search of my hard drive turned up nothing.
This GM-supplied image will have to do, even though it has been optimized to improve on reality. The door post is magically absent, for one, and the front seat has been slid at least six inches farther forward that it would have been if I'd have set it to accommodate my lanky frame for an apples-to-apples comparison.
None of that matters. Focus instead on the additional height of the folded stack.
This one is indeed a picture of our long-term test truck, taken with the seat bottoms folded up to reveal the bin below.
It should be no surprise that my vote goes to the Tacoma's backseat folding strategy. The resulting flat surface and considerably lower loading height makes it much more functional. And it's hard to argue with two types of hidden bins that add up to more total cubby storage. Midsize trucks don't have as much interior space to work with as full size trucks do. It pays to make every cubic foot count.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,948 miles