by Rex Tokeshi-Torres, Vehicle Testing Technician
Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma was rejuvenated after we installed new Bilstein shocks. We should have done it a few months ago because the new shocks seem to have resolved a couple of our nagging issues with the Tacoma, including the extreme nosedive under braking. The Bilsteins have also improved the truck's ride quality.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma has been in the fleet longer than most, but it's still popular enough to generate another decent hunk of mileage. In October, we added 2,206 miles. Some of those were commuting miles, but our trusty Taco was also pressed into hauling duty and was taken on a couple of short desert excursions.
I blame the arrival of our Honda Ridgeline. With the Honda on one end and the Tacoma on the other, we've taken full advantage of the chance to compare what amounts to the bookends of the midsize pickup segment. The Chevrolet Colorado, which we hosted in the fleet some years ago, falls somewhere in between, and the ZR2, which we've just bought, is an off-road special.
That said, at the beginning of summer we'd had our fill. We were getting ready to sell off the Tacoma, but then the Ridgeline unexpectedly outperformed our TRD Off-Road 4x4 in Death Valley on a relentless washboard dirt road that was a lot more punishing than it looked.
We didn't want to end things on such a down note, so we decided to do what an owner might do in the same circumstances: Upgrade the Tacoma's shocks to something better optimized to our local terrain and style of usage. We selected and installed those Bilstein upgrade parts midway through the month, so we're only now learning how they've changed the Tacoma's on-road and off-road driving character.
Spoiler alert: Our fortified Tacoma returned to Death Valley's Racetrack Playa this month, but that will be the subject of a separate post.
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.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Our one-year test of our 2016 Toyota Tacoma is nearing its end. Yet December was one of our truck's busiest months thanks to a few road trips. Editor Cameron Rogers drove from Southern California to Las Vegas and back, and I loaded up the Tacoma for 1,000 miles' worth of holiday-related driving. Want to know what happens when you put a family of five in a Tacoma, pack the bed full of presents and luggage, and then drive hundreds of miles ... in the rain? Fun times, let me tell you. We also posted Dan Edmunds' full report on using the Tacoma to its fullest off-roading potential this month.
Specific highlights and commentary from the 2,500 miles we put on our Tacoma this month follow.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on November 1, 2016
You buy a pickup to haul stuff. That's the idea, at least, unless you're hoping that Pickup Man is true. But I have to say that our 2016 Toyota Tacoma is especially handy for moving bulky and/or dirty items. Why? Because it's easy to load said items into the Tacoma's bed.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on July 25, 2016
This weekend I used our 2016 Toyota Tacoma to do what trucks do — make it easy to move stuff around. What began as a casual play date between my kids and their friends took a turn for the plastic.
"Look, the kids are having so much fun on that slide."
"They sure are. Do you want it? We have a sandbox we don't use anymore. Want that too?"
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on June 21, 2016
It isn't large (OK, it's large compared to a Fiat 500 or a first-gen Taco truck, but it's not as big as a Tundra) but our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma has a few storage tricks up its sleeve. Specifically, the rear seats have these useful little cubbies behind each seat. Just pull the strap on the seat, the seat leans forward and there are hard, plastic storage areas.
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.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on May 2, 2016
Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma is a pickup. Of course a mountain bike will fit. Duh. It's more a question of whether or not the tailgate will close without the need to load the bike in diagonally.
Mostly, I needed an excuse to share this picture of my bike's 29er front tire leaning up against the Taco's 31-inch off-road tire. I don't know why it makes me grin, it just does.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on April 25, 2016
The bed of a pickup truck is what makes a pickup truck a pickup truck. On that basis, the 2016 Toyota Tacoma is a pickup truck among pickup trucks, or words to that effect.
There's a lot to like back here, is what I'm saying, and much of it is standard. All of it comes gratis on all Tacomas except for one item that is exclusive to the TRD and above.
Let's take a brief tour of eight things that make a Tacoma's bed pretty great.
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.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on January 14, 2016
The Toyota Tacoma has history. It's a workhorse with a reputation for reliability and durability that's known the world over. And it earned that reputation with the easygoing nature offered only in a smaller pickup. As midsize trucks go, it is the standard-bearer.
That reputation is one reason why the redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma isn't drastically different from the previous model. There's a new V6 and an improved six-speed automatic. The interior is updated to modern standards that were desperately lacking in the 11-year-old outgoing version. Dimensionally, however, the new truck is almost identical to the one it replaces. Its track width, wheelbase and suspension remain the same as before. It's still very much the same midsize truck it's always been.
That's a good thing in many ways, as we have always liked the Tacoma's rugged nature and considerable capabilities. Our initial drive of the redesigned model suggested that it was a slightly more high-tech version of the truck we already knew. We decided to find out if that was enough of a leap to keep it at the head of the class, so we bought a crew cab V6 of our own.