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Detroit 2015: Toyota’s all-new Tacoma

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Toyota is no stranger to the truck. It started selling them some 50 years ago in the U.S. In this period of time, Toyota has sold over 7 million of its pickups. 

The Tacoma was born 20 years ago, designed and built in America. Since then, 3 million have been sold, and 75% of those are still on the road today.  More stats? The Tacoma owns 60% of its market share; it is unrivalled, and Toyota wants to keep it this way. 

Although the new looks much like the old, the extensive use of high-strength steel for the frame and what lies beneath the raised bonnet are entirely new. 

Design-wise, the consistent Toyota-truck DNA is unmistakeable when comparing the current 4Runner to the new Tacoma. The resemblance to the current Tundra is also obvious. 

Aesthetically, there are new 16” to 18” wheels, and a very cool stamped Tacoma logo on the tailgate that is nod to the Tundra, as well as some vintage Toyota trucks. Said tailgate also features an easy-lowering system. 

Mechanically speaking, the 3.5L Atkinson cycle V6 is the big news: it features a combination of new-era direct fuel injection and legacy "port" injection for improved performance and better fuel economy. Output numbers are not available, however, we expect that horsepower will hover around the 300 mark. A 4-cylinder mill will be standard. Both engines will be mated to either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.

According to Toyota, this latest Tacoma is the most refined ever thanks in part to a newly tuned suspension for street work that doesn’t sacrifice off-road capability. 

On that subject, the 2016 Tacoma can be equipped with CRAWL control and Multi-terrain Select. In other words, this compact Toyota truck can still conquer the wilds of the outdoors. 

The interior has more content and is quieter than ever thanks to a new acoustic windshield.  It includes a GoPro camera mount behind the review mirror and a slew of technological bits including wireless charging, Push Button Start, and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM).

Five grades will be available, and all feature their own personalities:

  • SR -- entry-level work truck
  • SR-5 -- the staple
  • Limited -- for maximum truck luxury
  • TRD -- rugged good looks 
  • TRD Off-Road -- unstoppable

Sure, the 2016 Tacoma looks like little more than an updated version of the previous truck, but I’m still excited about it. 

It will be available this coming fall.