2016 Toyota Tacoma: Touchscreen is OK, but Smartphone Integration Lags
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?
Seven inches of touchscreen real estate is midpack for a 2016 vehicle. Toyota's graphics, color choice, menus and fonts are looking at little dated in my opinion, but overall it's a useful and functional interface. The decently sized virtual buttons don't require much concentration to find or push, and the system responds quickly to your inputs.
Voice commands (includes Siri Eyes Free) are included for phone, audio and navigation, and these have worked fine in my limited testing. I've also been pleased with the integrated navigation system. It has quick processing times and accurate directions, though you can't manually enter info while on the move, so you either use the voice controls or pull over. As for the digital music interface, it's easy to find the content you want and get it playing.
Smartphone integration, however, is an area where the Tacoma's interface comes up short. The Entune App Suite aspect of the premium 7-inch system is powered by an Entune app that you download on your smartphone. (Getting started with this app takes a bit of wrangling; check out an update I wrote for our long-term Toyota Highlander SUV to learn what's required.)
Once you have that, you can operate certain apps on your phone through the Tacoma's system, such as Pandora, iHeart radio, Slacker Radio, Yelp, Open Table and Facebook.
This is fine, but I've found the Entune app to be unreliable and glitchy at times. In comparison, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is easier and more straightforward. Many automakers are now including CarPlay and Android Auto with their infotainment systems. But for now, Toyota's sticking with Entune.
As was the case more than a year ago with our Highlander, it would seem consumers aren't too happy with the Entune app. As I write this, Entune has rating of 1.5 stars (out of five) on the iTunes store and three stars (out of five) on Google Play. Typical comments include: "Can something be free and not worth the price?" "This app is very frustrating." "Was mediocre at best before update — completely useless now." "What's the point of this app? Everything is faster using your phone."
Yep, pretty much. Overall, I think the Tacoma's 7-inch touchscreen is OK. But if smartphone app integration is a big priority for you, you'll likely be disappointed.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor