“If you’ve gotten to know me through my motorized journeys, then you know that I admire easy-to-live-with vehicles that don’t pretend to be something they’re not. After all, why should a car make your life more difficult?”
2016 Toyota Tacoma – The Most Truck You’ll Ever Need
The midsize truck segment is a hot one right now, and there are new players in the ring trying to take down the established all-star—the Tacoma. That being said, it’s a segment that Toyota knows all too well, and has had on lock-down from the beginning of times
Fully aware of the Tacoma’s sales success, I anxiously awaited the arrival of our 2016 Toyota Tacoma Sport 4×4, not only because it’s a very important vehicle for the industry as a whole (think Toyota Camry or Honda Accord), but because Missi and I had a few “truck” things to do around the house. With spring cleaning in full swing at the Perez household, the Tacoma’s bed was being put to good use before it even arrived.
First of all, “What in the world is a midsize truck?” Missi asked. Well, it’s not a full-size truck, it’s smaller than your average Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, I answered. “Are there small-size trucks?” was the next question. In other parts of the world, yes, in the States, no.
Perhaps the best question was, “Why a midsize truck?” Well, midsize trucks are obviously smaller in size, have smaller and more efficient engines, drive more like a car than a “truck,” and typically cost less than its bigger siblings, although this last one isn’t nearly as true as it used to be. Another reason why midsize trucks have done so well, is because they empower individuals and families to get out there, haul stuff and stop feeling restrained. Maybe even help your friends haul their new refrigerator. They’re convenient, and live up to the saying “Better have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma Sport 4×4 we tested featured a 275 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel-drive, and four full-size doors (double cab). The rear bench seat is spacious enough for two adults, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, 7-inch touchscreen with navigation, Entune infotainment system, and awesome-sounding JBL speakers make up the interior amenities.
Exterior eye candy includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a larger-than-life hood scoop, a blinged-out front grille and muscular fenders all around. Overall, I believe it’s the best looking Tacoma to date.
Capability for Moms & Dads
I grew up with an artsy Mom that was always on the go. She often acquired furniture at antique shops, garage sales, and even dumpsters, which she then fixed and sold them for a profit. Nowadays, it’s Missi that often does similar DIY projects for our site, gardening, etc. Needless to say, they’re perfect candidates for a midsize truck.
On the other hand, my Dad is an avid sports and outdoor guy. Camping, biking, and tailgating at race events were his kind of activities. Which totally explains why he owned a midsize truck for a very long time.
If you catch my drift, this is where the 2016 Toyota Tacoma excels. Use its spacious 73.7 in. X 41.5 in. truck bed to move large items, off-road your way into a campsite, and look sharp for a company meeting. In more ways than one, the Tacoma is a car with a truck bed. It’s suspension feel is that of a sedan, as well as its brakes and steering feedback. It’s not until you really step on the throttle that you notice subpar acceleration, along with some unflattering truck-ish noises.
To make up for the lack of acceleration and noisy cabin, the Premium and Technology package ($2,360) adds dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, automatic headlights, and a sunroof. Although $650 for the folding tonneau cover and tow package (each), seems like a lot of money, it’s those features that give the Tacoma its midsize truck versatility.
It rained for 5 out of our 7 days with the Tacoma, and the folding tonneau bed cover saved our butts one too many times. Whether it was our bikes, donations to Goodwill, or groceries, the cover turned the Tacoma’s bed into a big and useful trunk.
There’s a slogan on Toyota’s website that says: “Built for the endless weekend.” While owning a Tacoma won’t grant you an endless weekend, it surely is a great way to describe the truck. Shall you need to load up the gear and getaway for the weekend, the Tacoma can do it. Shall you need to load up groceries, baby stroller, and transport kiddos in safety and comfort, the Tacoma can do that.
And perhaps the one capability I haven’t mentioned yet… Shall you want to go off-roading with a fully-stock truck, the Tacoma can also do that, and incredibly well. Trust me!
- Starts at: $23,300
- Price as tested: $38,920
- Practicality, convenience, versatility.
- Decent fuel-efficiency. 21 mpg combined average.
- Perfect size. Not too small – not too big of a truck.
The not so great:
- Lack of rear power outlets and AC vents.
- Poor interior build quality. Experienced a button falling off, another one getting stuck while depressed, and the door panel was rattling and felt unattached at door handle.
- Loud cabin, weird squeaks and sounds from the frame and body.