2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-road 4×4 Double Cab
July 21, 2016
The thing about the Toyota Tacoma is that it is built for banging around, and it is not sorry.
That is, there has been the, in effect, gentrification of pickup trucks. Theyâve gone upscale. To be sure, people like comfort and amenities. Seats that are easy on the posterior. Things like navigation and satellite radio. An interior that doesnât seem to have been put together from the Vinyl-o-Rama outlet mall.
However, it seems as though the proverbial pendulum has swung to a place where not only are crossovers and SUVs the new sedans, but pickup trucks are the new sedans, too.
This is not to say that pickups of any type have lost their capability, because they all still have beds on the back to handle stuff of various sizes, masses and consistencies. And all are offered with a 4×4 optional capability, so there is more than the average amount of capability, certainly more than in the family midsize sedan (with the 4×4 capability being about handling terrain, not getting away from stoplights with alacrity).
But Iâve certainly gotten the sense from several pickups that theyâve become the sorts of things that you donât want to climb into with dirty shoes, to say nothing of boots. Theyâre really nice inside. You might even wear a cravat while driving one. And break out the Grey Poupon.
Which is not to say that the interior of the Tacoma seems like a construction site trailerâs environs. In fact, whether it is the seat material or the thoughtfully designed (thoughtful, but ruggedly designed: weâre not talking eggheads here) instrument panel, the Tacoma is well done. But it is something that youâre going to clamber into after hunting or fishing or surfing or whatever and not give it a second thought, not think about how your mother once kept you off the furniture with your dirty jeansâeven if you thought they were clean.
Now the truck in question has the word âoff-roadâ in its name, so you know that theyâve done more than a little something that makes it capable of eating dirt. Like specifically tuning the suspension and adding Bilstein shocks.
The TRD stands for âToyota Racing Development,â and while TRD is most certainly involved in series like NASCAR Sprint Cup, it really made its bones in off-road racing.
Hmm. . . âTacoma TRD Off-roadâ. . . .
One thing that I found appropriate for the vehicleâand hell on my left calfâwas the clutch for the six-speed manual transmission. Letâs face it: If youâre going to go slamming and banging where there is no asphalt, chances are youâre also going to be slamming and banging a shift lever.
It features 4WDemand part-time 4WD with an electronically controlled transfer case and Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD). And for the Tacoma you can get a locking rear differential, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Clutch Start Cancel, Active Traction Control, and Crawl Control.
The truck has a 278-hp 3.5-liter V6 that provides 265 lb-ft of torque, so it has the muscle to move. The double cab truck can tow 6,400 pounds if you get the tow prep package (Class IV towing receiver hitch with transmission oil cooler with water and air cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4- and 7-pin connector, and Trailer-Sway Control).
Yes, there are amenities in the truck. Like Entune Premium Audio and the Integrated Navigation and App Suite thatâs shown on a seven-inch touch screen.
Crank the tunes and go. Like mad. But safely. (Yes, like even the more, ah, refined Toyotas the Tacoma comes with the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop brake override technology (SST).)
Bottom line is that there are cushier trucks that you can select. Heck, if youâre looking for plush, Toyota has a Tundra 1794 Edition that will make you feel like youâre back in the Wild Westâand happened to own the town.
But the Tacoma TRD Off-road 4×4 Double Cab is a blastâand the people at Toyota seem just fine with that.
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower: 278 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 265 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Steering: Rack-and-pinion power
Wheelbase: 127.4 inches
Length: 212.3 inches
Width 74.4 inches
Height: 70.6 inches
Seating capacity: 5
Curb weight: 4,445 pounds
EPA fuel economy: city/highway/combined: 17/20/18 mpg