2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review (3 of 11)

2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review (3 of 11)

We review the revamped 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab – the four-wheeled icon gets even better

russell-purcellReview and Photos by Russell Purcell

The Toyota Tacoma is somewhat of a fixture here on the West Coast, and this very capable light truck has long been one of the most popular vehicles in Canada since its initial introduction way over two decades ago. The Tacoma has established itself as the go-to vehicle for those individuals with active lifestyles and a penchant for the outdoors as Toyota’s venerable pickup offers rugged construction, proven reliability, and outstanding handling.

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Revamped for 2016

For 2016, Toyota has totally revamped the Tacoma. This third generation variant continues the platform’s evolution and adds a new level of refinement to the build quality and overall look of the truck, while still retaining the go-anywhere ruggedness that has helped make the Tacoma a four-wheeled icon.

2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review

Design: More Aggressive Look

This all new truck’s styling borrows many of its styling cues from its sister, the 4Runner SUV, and now sports a larger grille and strong character lines that give the truck a more aggressive appearance than that of the outgoing model. Add to this the welcome addition of advanced lighting systems (including LED daytime running lights and Halogen projector beam headlamps) which enhance safety and help bring the truck into the modern age. 

With this thorough redesign much work has been focussed on improving the aerodynamic efficiency of the Tacoma to maximize fuel economy and reduce wind noise. Toyota claims that the combination of a restyled front bumper, smooth rear deck, integrated tailgate spoiler, and an underbody air dam combine to reduce drag by 12 percent when compared to the previous model.

It’s pretty easy to find the perfect Tacoma to suit the needs, tastes and budget of those individuals looking for a pickup truck as there are eight models of Tacoma available- offering Canadian consumers a choice of drivetrains, transmissions, passenger cabs, and bed sizes.

2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review

Under the Hood: Two Engine Choices

Under the hood you will find either a peppy four-cylinder engine or a smooth revving V6, although the former unit is only available in Access Cab models (the entry level rear-wheel-drive model, as well as 4×4 SR+ and 4×4 SR5 models). The 2.7-litre four-cylinder produces 159-horsepower and 180 foot-pounds of torque, while the more popular 3.5-litre V6 delivers 278-horsepower and 265 foot-pounds of torque.

Transmission

The majority of Tacoma models come fitted with the company’s new six-speed automatic transmission, but there are three four-wheel-drive models available fitted with a short throw six-speed manual (Access Cab SR+, Access Cab V6 TRD Off-Road, and Double Cab V6 TRD Sport) should you wish to row your own gears.

There are two cab designs available. The smaller Access Cab features seating for four, while the four-door Double Cab offers a fifth position and is the obvious choice for individuals who tend to carry passengers on a regular basis.

Hauling Cargo

Trucks are designed to haul cargo, so the Tacoma’s box is fitted with a durable double-walled composite bed liner complete with an integrated rail system, four tie-down cleats, and a 400 Watt (120V) accessory outlet. The lockable, flip-down tailgate is removable, and a rear step bumper helps provide easy access when loading or unloading cargo. Interestingly, the Tacoma Double Cab automatic features a six-foot bed, while manual models come with a five-foot bed.

2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review

2016 Tacoma Trims

The rear-wheel-drive Access Cab unit fitted with Toyota’s proven 2.7 litre four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic is the entry model priced at just over $28,000, and this four-passenger rig comes well-equipped with such standard niceties as a backup camera, air-conditioning, remote locks, power windows, and cruise control.    

Our test vehicle was a top-tier Double Cab model fitted with four-wheel drive and the Limited trim package. As such, this five-passenger truck featured enough comfort, safety, and infotainment equipment to satisfy all but the most demanding consumer, and would be well suited for use as a daily driver.

Driving Dynamics

Acceleration from the well-sorted V6 is strong and power delivery is linear, but the engine seems to generate quite a bit of noise when pushed hard. However, at no time during our week long evaluation period did the truck ever come across as sluggish or underpowered, even when loaded will a full complement of passengers and gear. In an effort to improve on fuel efficiency the V6 engine utilizes Atkinson cycle technology, another segment first, which features a longer power stroke resulting in more efficient combustion and fewer emissions.

The truck’s on-demand 4WD has an automatic limited slip /automatic disconnecting rear differential, two-speed transfer case, and one-touch 4WD control. With the twist of a simple dash-mounted dial, the driver can switch from rear-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive in short order, and even on the fly.

Toyota’s design team knows from experience that buyers of their trucks tend to use them in adverse (read dirty) conditions, so it came fitted with heavy rubber mats to help contain the dirt, water and debris that will no doubt track in on your boots whenever you saddle up in the Tacoma.

Our test vehicle proved to be an agile handler as the truck’s suspension system delivers a comfortable ride on the highway as well as the stability and durability needed to tackle off-road driving. I suspect that the driver will feel confident in this truck’s ability in all but the most severe off-road environments, as the beefy independent double wishbone front suspension features gas shock absorbers, coil springs and a heavy stabilizer bar. The Tacoma’s steering is well weighted, and the truck steers with a level of precision unexpected in a pickup truck. The rear suspension is a leaf spring design, also with heavy-duty gas shocks, and it also tracked true during our evaluation albeit with a little wheel hop when it encountered larger bumps at speed.

Stability Control

The product planners at Toyota have equipped all 2016 Tacoma models with the company’s Star Safety System as standard equipment. This suite of state-of-the-art accident avoidance technologies includes Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Having this arsenal of equipment onboard helped inspire driver confidence as the Tacoma seemed able to plow over, through or around everything and anything I put before it.

The Cabin: More Premium

The look and feel of the Tacoma’s interior has moved decidedly upmarket, and the quality of the materials used throughout the cabin is top-notch. The list of standard features on our test vehicle was impressive and Toyota offers a host of upgrades and options for those buyers looking to further enhance the level of safety or convenience.

2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review

Tacoma Limited Interior

The Tacoma Limited was fitted with the latest in navigation technology, including a vibrant 7-inch touchscreen display and a premium seven-speaker JBL engineered audio system. Other welcome niceties included premium leather seating surfaces, a built-in wireless charging station, power moon roof, Blind Spot Monitor System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a GoPro action camera mount. This latter addition is the first of its kind in any production automobile, and is affixed to the windshield of every Tacoma model. 

Climbing up into the Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 can be a challenge for individuals with shorter legs, but once planted in the seat it is immediately evident that the tall seating position gives passengers a commanding view of their surroundings. Our test unit came equipped with chrome side-step bars as part of the Limited package, which greatly facilitates ingress and egress, but on the downside, they can get hung up on things when off-roading.

In the Driver’s Seat

The dash layout is decidedly simple with surprisingly few switches and controls. However, those that are present fall readily to both hand and eye and quickly become intuitive to use. The large dials for the HVAC system are also glove friendly, which is a bigger deal than you might think in some parts of this country.

2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review

Up front there is more than enough head and legroom for individuals well over six-foot tall, but I did find a lack of legroom in the rear seating area for my long limbs (I stand 6’2”) when the front seats were slid back to the rearmost position of the seat rails.   

Toyota’s design team knows from experience that buyers of their trucks tend to use them in adverse (read dirty) conditions, so it came fitted with heavy rubber mats to help contain the dirt, water and debris that will no doubt track in on your boots whenever you saddle up in the Tacoma.

Customizable

Toyota dealers offer a variety of options packages and accessories to allow customers to outfit their truck to best meet their individual needs, and given the many uses a truck like the Tacoma can be called upon to perform, it is easy to see why it has proven to be such a hit with Canadian buyers for so many years. 

2016 toyota tacoma 4x4 double cab review

2016 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab Gallery:

 

Technical Specifications: 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab

Base price (MSRP): $44,275

Price as tested: $46,136.97

Type of vehicle: Four-wheel-drive, front-engine, compact pickup

Engine: 3.5-litre, DOHC, 24-valve V6

Horsepower: 278 @ 6,000 rpm

Torque (lb.-ft.): 265 @ 4,600 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Brakes: Front ventilated disc, rear disc

Towing capacity: 2,720 kg (6,000 lbs)

Fuel economy (L/100km): City 13.1 L (22 mpg); Hwy 10.5 L (27 mpg)