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First Look: 2016 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma

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2016 Toyota Tacoma in Toyota Cruisers & Trucks magazine

You saw the new design last week and many have asked us about details. Will the 2016 Tacoma include a diesel engine, solid front axle, or front locking differential.

Well, no.

While Toyota USA is unlikely to meet every whim of the hard-core off road enthusiast, we believe that the 2016 Tacoma will continue the tradition of capable, reliable, and very fun to own-and-drive Toyota Trucks.

Other than the new, tougher design, the 2016 Tacoma includes several changes that are meant to make the best selling midsized truck more efficient, more fun, and better in just about every way, on and off road. The decade old second generation Tacoma was a bit long in the tooth in many key areas, so the changes in this new rig are welcome, and we can’t wait to get our hands on a tester!

Starting with the frame, the Toyota engineers have re-built the Tacoma from the ground up. They added high-strength steel to enhance strength & rigidity, and reinforced the body with UHS steel that strengthens while reducing weight. The suspension uses a similar design to previous generations, but has been fine tuned to deliver both a smoother ride on road as well as making the Tacoma more capable off road.

The big news though comes with the new 3.5-liter V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S Technology. This engine features both direct and port fuel injection, and delivers higher HP and better efficiency than the previous 4.0. The previous 2.7-liter four cylinder is also still available, although most of our readers will opt for more power.

There’s also a new six-speed transmission with electronic shift control, and the V6 Tacoma can be purchased with an all new six-speed manual transmission. The Tacoma will remain the only Toyota 4x4 vehicle available in M/T.

Design updates for the Tacoma are apparent from these initial photos. Similar to the Tundra, this new Toyota pickup features a chisled face and hex grille. The wheel flares not only look great, but they allow for greater wheel travel as well. At the back of the truck, the new locking tailgate includes a stamped Tacoma logo, and for the first time a tri-fold tonneau cover is available from Toyota.

Inside the truck are several enhancements to make life on the trail easier and more convenient. The ‘handlebar’ design instrument panel makes it easy for the driver to see what’s going on, and high-quality finishes inside are a great upgrade to the utilitarian second generation interior. The list of available upgrades seems more at home for a Lexus truck than a Tacoma, but are welcome additions for those looking to upgrade their driving experience. Wireless charging, push-button start, and a power moonroof are all available on higher-end trim packages. Yes, every new 2016 Tacoma also includes a GoPro mount on the windshield.

The new Tacoma will be available later in 2015 in five grades: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and Limited. We haven’t heard officially but we believe there will not be a TRD Pro edition for the 2016 model year.
For those interested in using their Tacoma in the dirt, the 2016 model brings a slew of electronics that we’ve seen in other models for years: Multi-Terrain Select, Automatic Limited Slip and Locking Rear Differential, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Clutch Start Cancel (manual transmission only), Active Traction Control, and Crawl Control are al available for the new truck.

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