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 Travis Langness, Automotive Editor
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.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
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.
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?
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on September 2, 2016
When a song like "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes on the radio during my commute home, I do the only responsible or sensible thing I can think of. I turn the volume up as high as it will go and sing along. In our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma that meant I cranked the knob to 62. Seriously, that's the maximum.
Unfortunately, it simply wasn't loud enough.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 25, 2016
I know it's there, but I keep forgetting about it. Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup has a factory-installed Go-Pro mount bonded to the top edge of the windshield. It's easy to overlook because this unobtrusive bit of plastic is positioned high up on the glass where it's out of sight, out of mind.
It's just a clip, the receptacle half of a standard Go-Pro mount, the part you would stick to your motorcycle or bicycle helmet. The camera and the mating half of the buckle-style snap are not included, of course, but anyone who owns a Go-Pro has those.
Count me in that group.
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on June 6, 2016
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.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on May 24, 2016
It isn't perfect, but I generally like the EnTune touchscreen audio system in our 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup. It's clearly better than the touchscreen systems that the Honda Pilot and Civic use, and one of the main reasons boils down to a feature that the Honda systems lack: physical volume and tune knobs.
But Toyota's knobs are smallish, a bit slippery and — worst of all — they don't project far enough away from the touch-sensitive radio faceplate. In the course of using them your fingers skim the surface of the radio, which often leads to false contact with nearby touch-sensitive areas — especially when a moving car is jostling around. On the volume side, you might accidentally trip the number-six preset. On the tuning side, you'll trigger the fader and balance sub-menu.
This weekend I had an idea that's more of a proof-of-concept design change proposal than a permanent solution. It's a suggestion I'd give to the Toyota radio design team if I ever got five minutes of their time. And there's much to be gained because this is not just a Tacoma issue. Our Prius and Mirai have the same knobs, along with every single current Toyota that's fitted with the EnTune touchscreen audio system.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on March 17, 2016
Toyota is the last major automaker with no announced plans to support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. With this in mind, I was curious to see how the infotainment system in our long-term 2016 Toyota Tacoma handled voice commands.
What happens when you press the button? The first thing I saw on the screen was an option to train the system to recognize my voice. Of course I pressed it.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 8, 2016
Toyota introduced keyless ignition and entry (Toyota's "Smart Key") as a new feature for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. The good news: it's pretty easy to get on a Tacoma. If you pick the midgrade TRD (Sport or Off-Road) or top level Limited, you get it as standard equipment.
The bad news: "entry" only works on one door.
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.