2016 Toyota Tacoma Long-Term Road Test - Performance

2016 Toyota Tacoma Long-Term Road Test

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2017 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for October 2017

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2017 Toyota Tacoma

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.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for September 2017

by Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?
Unlike last month when our 2016 Toyota Tacoma went on multiple road trips that racked a considerable number of miles, September's numbers were far less extreme. This month the Tacoma supported a couple of photo shoots, sat in an airport parking garage for a week, and took several editors from the office to their far-flung abodes throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Needless to say, the Tacoma's ultra-rugged nature went untested in September.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for August 2017

by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor

2016 Toyota Tacoma

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.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for July 2017

by Jason Kavanagh, Senior Road Test Engineer

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma's voyage in Death Valley and subsequent suspension issues happened several weeks ago. But due to the lead time of video production, you're only hearing about them now. In the meantime we had to keep a lid on the trek, so as not to spoil the surprise. So while the Death Valley trip is technically old news, we're going to make it official in this month's update.

For more insights into why the Tacoma's shocks went limp so readily, our own Dan Edmunds shared his thoughts here. Suffice it to say that you will probably learn something you didn't already know.

That's not all. Our Tacoma spent a portion of July with an editor who lives in a faraway land called Fresno, otherwise known as the farming capital of Central California. It also went for a hike in some local mountains, where it once again was subjected to the rigors of off-road use. Nothing as severe as Death Valley, but what is?

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Suspension Breakdown in Death Valley

by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor

2016 Toyota Tacoma

There's a big sticker on both sides of the bed of our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. It says "TRD 4x4 OFF ROAD" in bold letters. It's impossible to miss, mounted high up on the bed. Yet, after just 6 miles on a washboard road in the desert, the high-performance Bilstein shocks on the rear of our Taco truck were toast. Oops.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for May 2017

by Will Kaufman, Associate Automotive Editor

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?

Our Taco truck continues its road-trip streak with a drive to Colorado and back. Of course, it still handled some local commuter duty — such is the life of anything with wheels in the greater Los Angeles area. We also had a few first-time Tacoma drivers in May, and those fresh eyes reminded us that the Tacoma feels like an old truck. This was a rough month for the scrappy Toyota.

The Tacoma also went on a super-secret road trip to a place I cannot reveal to do things I cannot talk about, but we'll have a special feature coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for March

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?
Edmunds normally tests a long-term vehicle for 12 months before either selling it or returning it to its automaker (depending on how we obtained it). Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma debuted back in January 2016. So one might wonder: Why is it still here?

Well, we did buy our Tacoma, and it's not unheard of for Edmunds-owned long-termers to stay longer than 12 months. We've also got a story idea kicking around that requires our Tacoma to linger longer. Like a veteran bullpen relief pitcher, it's still hanging around and contributing in limited fashion. Based on the comments this month, though, I don't think many of my co-workers will be heartbroken when we finally do sell it.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for February 2017

by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?
Just over one year has passed since we added our 2016 Toyota Tacoma to the long-term test fleet. We know it pretty well by now and it has some quirks, but it stays active nonetheless. The truck spent a portion of this month as a city dweller before breaking free on a road trip to the snow.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for January 2017

by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?
This month our 2016 Toyota Tacoma spent more of its time in town instead of out on the trail. That means plenty of tight traffic and even tighter parking spots, both of which highlighted the Tacoma's advantages over full-size trucks.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Rock On

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on December 29, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

There's nothing that compares to our 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road when it comes to price versus trail-busting performance. The TRD Pro should do as well or better, but it costs over $8,000 more than this truck. Chevy Colorado ZR2 pricing has not yet been announced, but it's likely to compete with the TRD Pro. And its wide-fendered, Raptor-esque bodywork might not be well-suited to the narrow trails that a TRD Off-Road can master.

But that test will have to wait. In this case, my wife and I simply hopped in the Tacoma for a weekend in Big Bear, a mountaintop resort town that sits just below 7,000 feet. Once we settled into our B&B, I persuaded her to join me in tackling Gold Hill Road, a Jeep trail that's fairly difficult and intended for modified Wranglers.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Monthly Update for November 2016

by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?
With the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the LA Auto Show happening around the same time, I spent two straight weeks in our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. We're often limited to evaluating a vehicle on our comprehensive 120-mile test loop or driving it to and from the test track, so this was exceptional. I treated the Tacoma like I owned it.

Dan Edmunds also put in some seat time, taking the Tacoma up and over a mountain (more on that in an upcoming post), but I had the full spectrum of Tacoma experiences. I got stuck in gridlock traffic, roamed empty highways to see family and even got the chance to take it to my local off-road park. Here are the impressions from the entire month.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road: Monthly Update for October 2016

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Where Did We Drive It?
Ever been to Joshua Tree National Park? Travis Langness drove our 2016 Toyota Tacoma there this month. It's a relatively short freeway drive with the crowded bustle of the L.A. basin on one end and desert camping and rock climbing on the other. You can get there and back on one tank of gas. The Tacoma works well for this sort of duty, with plenty of bed space for dusty gear and enough underbody clearance to get you most anywhere on the desert's network of washboard roads.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: A Transatlantic Perspective

by Alistair Weaver, European Correspondent on August 31, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

For most Europeans, the idea of travelling over a thousand miles in ten days in a pickup truck would sound like a punishment. Put simply, we just don't get why anyone would want to chug around in a utilitarian tool with leaf springs and an open bed. American culture might have convinced us to spend five dollars on frothy coffee (thanks Starbucks), but we don't do truckin'.

Maybe that's why the Edmunds editors threw me the keys to the 2016 Toyota Tacoma for a sojourn from L.A. to San Francisco and back, via Yosemite National Park. I've been Edmunds' European Correspondent for more than a decade and it was time for a fresh injection of Americana, with a Japanese twist.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Midsize Truck, Big City

by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on August 17, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Over the last few months with our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma, I've noticed quite a few reader comments about the price of this truck. In general, the comments have focused on the comparison between midsize trucks like the Tacoma and more capable full-size pickups.

The general sentiment seems to be that with a truck like the Tacoma, you're paying a very similar amount for a truck with less space, less hauling capability, similar fuel economy and a lower tow rating. And sure, in some cases this is true. Equipment levels aren't the same, but for the roughly $35k we spent on our Tacoma, you can get a Silverado, Ram 1500 or Ford F-150. Spend just a little bit more and you'll have a bigger, badder truck that's also nicely equipped. So why go with the midsize Taco?

Because this is a truck you can actually live with in the city.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Desert Sessions

by Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor on July 21, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

When work dictated that I bring our 2016 Toyota Tacoma to the High Desert, north of Mojave, I did not argue. I'd been wanting to sample our Tacoma in a more appropriate environment ever since it showed up in our garage. And because I could, I strapped my 1976 Yamaha DT400 into the bed and took it along for the ride.

By the end of the day, I'd learned that one of these things has good low-end grunt and is light on its feet but generally awful, while the other is a little high-strung and unsurprisingly capable but has terrible brakes.

Place your bets.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: A Little Novice Off-Roading

by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on June 6, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Despite a decade in the biz, I haven't exactly spent a lot of it off road. Perhaps it's because I don't like driving slowly, perhaps it's because I don't like getting dirty. Either way, getting a chance to take a 2016 Toyota Tacoma off road is a worthwhile experience, as unlike other trucks, its modus operandi seems to be venturing beyond where the pavement runs out. This is especially true of our TRD Off-Road trim level (shared with the test truck I also drove above) that benefits from a variety of features supposedly designed to help out experts and novices alike.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: The More You Drive It the More You'll Like It

by Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief on May 16, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Here it is fast and hard. I loved our long-term Chevy Colorado and up to this point I've hated our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. I've hated the Taco's weird arms-out seating position, its touchy brakes and its lazy throttle response.

But here's the thing, I was wrong.

Not about the Colorado, great truck. I was wrong about the Tacoma. Like me, it's an acquired taste.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Sedona Road Trip Impressions

by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on April 4, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Sedona, as you are likely aware, is more than just a current member of the Edmunds long-term fleet. It's also a town in Arizona, one that incidentally was named after the wife of its first postmaster, a man called Theodore Carlton Schnebly. My wife and I went there for vacation last week, accompanied by the long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma. We left town as auspiciously as possible, taking rock-strewn Schnebly Hill Road (pictured above) to Interstate 17, and found ourselves bursting with impressions when all was said and done.

Here are three that stood out (plus bonus off-road video action!).

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: V6/Automatic Transmission Combo Doesn't Impress Much

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 15, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

If you're buying a 2016 Toyota Tacoma you can choose either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or a new 3.5-liter V6, which replaces the Tacoma's previous 4.0-liter V6. The V6 is the obvious choice, mostly because if you're going to tow or haul, you'll want the extra grunt.

Having 278 horsepower is nice and all, but so far our Tacoma's V6 hasn't inspired me to do any Toyota "Oh What A Feelin'" leaps.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Steady On the Brakes

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on March 4, 2016

22016 Toyota Tacoma

Our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma is a midsize truck with serious off-road capability, and I like that. It seems to compromise some city-driving refinement though, and that I cannot abide. Don't get me wrong, the ride quality is okay for daily driving, but there's a big issue when it comes to the brakes.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Performance Tested

by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on February 8, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Like many trucks, our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma shouldn't be judged by its on-road performance alone. The Kevlar-sidewall tires, skid plates and beefed-up suspension are no help here, but there is a reason we chose the TRD Off Road over the TRD Sport.

While we've briefly tested the Taco's off-road capabilities, it's time to see how it performs at the track.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Off-Road Clearance and Suspension Flexibility

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on February 4, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

The thing about off-road potential is that you can often simply look at a vehicle, or study certain fundamental specifications, and size it up pretty accurately. Ground clearance is a good one, along with the clearance angle triplets: Approach, departure and breakover. Tire size and the general knobbiness of the tread pattern are plain to see, of course. Gearing is invisible to the casual observer, but you can readily look it up.

One of the things you cannot see or easily look up is Ramp Travel Index, a measure of the maximum articulation of a given suspension. We had the same problem, so we built a 20-degree test ramp of our own. It was only a matter of time before we pointed our 2016 Toyota Tacoma up the ramp.

We did the same with our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado soon after we bought it last year - or tried to. But the Colorado scored a zero because its comically low and unexpectedly rigid chin spoiler frustrated our attempts to even drive up the 20-degree RTI ramp in the first place.

The story is quite different when it comes to the new Tacoma.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: First Impressions — Better Ride, Touchy Brakes

by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on February 1, 2016

2016 Honda Pilot

Although there have been various versions of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma in the office over the last few months, I never managed to get behind the wheel. This weekend, I got my first chance to get acquainted with our new long-term Tacoma. Here's what I found:

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: TRD Off-Road vs. TRD Sport

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on January 26, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

My head moved as if on a swivel as I wheeled our 2016 Toyota Tacoma into the parking lot of my local Costco and scanned for the nearest open spot. As luck would have it, the first and best one I saw was alongside my truck's doppelganger.

Crew cab? Check. Magnetic Gray Metallic paint? Uh-huh. 3.5-liter V6? Present. Optional 2-inch receiver hitch? Ditto. Brand-spanking new with temporary tags and no license plate? Yes, even that, too.

TRD Off-Road? Hang on a second. That one's a TRD Sport.

Together they represent at least 40 percent of Tacoma sales. The two are identically-equipped as far as interior trimmings go. And they cost exactly the same when the cab, engine, transmission and drive-type selections match. The differences boil down to things we can see here in the parking lot — mostly.

The rear bumper end caps jump out immediately. They're chrome on our TRD Off-Road and painted body-color on the Sport. The fender flare difference is subtle, owing to the particular color of these trucks. They again match the body color on the Sport, but a TRD Off-Road wears textured and unpainted black ones that are more resistant to stone chips and better at concealing the "desert stripe" you get from driving on narrow brush-covered trails.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Baptism by Fire Road

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on January 22, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

That didn't take long. I headed for the local mountains the very first weekend I got my mitts on the keys to our brand new 2016 Toyota Tacoma. And it was good.

No, it was excellent.

I'm talking about the TRD Off-Road suspension, which impressed me more than it had during my drive at last summer's launch event near Seattle. Here on my rougher local terrain, it was even better than expected at smoothing out awkward bumps and the sort of rough cross-grain erosion grooves you get on forest service fire roads that haven't seen a grader for a few seasons.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: ECT Power Switch - The Relic That Makes a Difference

by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on January 21, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

I've seen the ECT Power switch in Toyota trucks since I was in junior high. I've driven plenty of trucks with the switch. And before this Tacoma, that switch has never made any discernable difference. Now that's changed.

The switch resides on the center stack of our 2016 Toyota Tacoma. I had driven the truck for a day or so before I even noticed it. Then I drove up the longest hill in my neighborhood. We live in the foothills of Orange County's Santa Ana mountains and the houses are built into some real inclines. The one in question rises 450 vertical feet in just over a mile.

Just enough, it turns out, to throw the Tacoma into shift-fits. Be careful how you say that.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Introduction

by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on January 14, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma

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.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests