We are seeing some really huge announcements this year from the NAIAS, including the all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma. The truck has been re-engineered from the ground up, inside and out. Tacoma’s have a long-standing legacy for being worthy off-road, highly modifiable, great to drive and extremely reliable. I’ve owned, built and raced a number of them, they’re great trucks.
The new 2016 Tacoma was primarily developed by the Toyota engineering team at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Starting with the frame, they added high strength steel to enhance rigidity and overall strength. Ultra-high strength steel was integrated into the body shell using a new hot stamping process that reduces weight.
The new Tacoma will be powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and an all-new, segment-first 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, featuring both direct and port fuel injection. Both engines will be paired to a new six-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift delivering quick and easy shifting. The V6 can also be mated to a new six-speed manual transmission. The new powertrain makes the Tacoma more powerful and fuel efficient than ever before.
Inspired by desert racing, CALTY designers in Newport Beach, Calif. and Ann Arbor, Mich. made the new Tacoma all about recreational action and athletic agility. To achieve this, the new Tacoma’s wheel flares are strong and muscular for greater wheel travel and the high-lift image reflects its purposeful capability. Four new wheel designs range from 16 to 18 inches.
From behind, the new locking tailgate emphasizes Tacoma’s wide stance and tough image. The tailgate features an integrated spoiler for improved aerodynamics and a stamped Tacoma logo. The tailgate also adds an easy lowering feature, which allows it to slowly retract, preventing it from slamming down. For the first time ever, Tacoma is available with a tri-fold hard tonneau cover for securing gear when you’re away from the truck.
Tacoma’s tough exterior is complemented by an interior that conveys a sport truck image reflecting an athletic, go anywhere, off-road feel. Once inside, drivers will notice a “handlebar” design theme in the instrument panel for a more driver-focused experience. Soft-wrapped trim and metallic accents set the stage for a high-quality look and feel that is a starting point for an array of available premium features, including:
- Qi wireless charging
- Smart key with push-button start
- Leather-trimmed seats
- Power moonroof
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Enhanced touchscreen audio
- Blind-spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
In addition to offering more premium features, Toyota engineers also made the new Tacoma quieter than ever. To accomplish this, all seals were enhanced and a multi-layer acoustic windshield and sound-absorbing headliner were added. Finally, a floor silencer pad further reduces road noise. The new Tacoma will be available in five grades in both 4×2 and 4×4 configurations. Each grade will have its own personality and unique look. Tacoma grades include:
- Work-ready SR
- Iconic SR5
- Athletic TRD Sport
- Tough-as-nails TRD Off-Road
- Top of the line Limited
The two TRD grades are inspired by Toyota Racing Development’s more than 35-year history in desert off-road racing and a heritage of vehicles that have helped off-road enthusiasts conquer the toughest terrains in the most remote locations around the globe. Tacoma buyers will now have the opportunity to capture their global adventures on video as every Tacoma will come standard with a GoPro® mount located near the rear-view mirror.
Traveling Off the Beaten Path
Tacoma off-roading adventures will reach new levels of fun in the TRD Off-Road grade thanks to the addition of incredible technology. A Multi-Terrain Select system allows the driver to choose between different types of terrain such as loose rock, or mud and sand. Each input regulates wheel spin by adjusting throttle and brake pressure to provide maximum traction on almost any terrain.
Additional off-road technology includes Automatic Limited Slip and Locking Rear Differential, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Clutch Start Cancel (manual transmission only), Active Traction Control, and Crawl Control. Engaging Crawl Control allows the driver to select a speed of 1-5 mph. The Crawl Control system takes over the acceleration and braking, allowing the driver to focus solely on steering.
All Tacoma’s will continue to come standard with the Star Safety System. More at Toyota.
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