2016 Toyota Tacoma Driving Impressions

We have only driven Tacoma TRD Off-Road models.

These trucks excel off road or on primitive trails or in any kind of rugged terrain. Only Jeeps and Land Rovers offer superior off-road capability, and they don’t have open beds. They also work well in desert environments, and ours came with large 265/70R16 Goodyear Wranglers. Being able to handle rugged terrain day in and day out is the Tacoma TRD Off-Road’s forte.

A new Multi-Terrain Select system, like the one in the 4Runner, works similarly to Land Rover and Ford systems. With it, modes for driving conditions from mud to sand to slick rock alter throttle and braking to aid in traction. A new electronic limited-slip and locking rear differential along with hill-start assist are included, plus crawl control that manages the brakes and throttle from 1 to 5 mph when coming down extreme grades or traversing rugged terrain, leaving the driver free to steer around obstacles. The Tacoma provides the driver with excellent outward visibility and sightlines for spotting hazards off road.

On the road and around town, the ride has the feel of an off-road truck on big all-terrain tires, with vague, imprecise handling. Throttle response is a little edgy and the brakes are very sensitive, making them difficult to modulate for smooth, routine stops at intersections.

The all-new 3.5-liter V6 uses an Atkinson cycle with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake) and D-4S direct and port fuel injection. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19/24/21 City/Highway/Combined for a V6 4×2 automatic; 17/21/19 for a 4×4 manual, 18/23/20 for a 4×4 automatic.

The 2.7-liter DOHC four-cylinder with VVT-i is EPA rated at 19/23/21 mpg for the 4×2 automatic; 19/21/20 for a 4×4 manual; 19/22/20 for a 4×4 automatic.

The new 6-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift does a good job, with quick and easy shifting. The V6 can be ordered with a new 6-speed manual transmission. The four-cylinder is available with a 5-speed manual.

With an optional tow package, a Tacoma is rated to tow up to 6,800 pounds, but we would recommend a full-size pickup for anything close to that much weight.

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