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New power and a new model

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It’s that time again; after a decade of the same model the Toyota Tacoma is finally being redesigned and will show up in 2016 as a brand new truck.  If you take a look at it from the outside and even set it next to a 2015 model you might not see much that has changed, but quite a bit has.  A redesign was due, but in true Toyota fashion, much of the differences are subtle, under the hood, or performance oriented which makes it hard for the untrained eye to know what is going on to make the vehicle better.

Even though sales were up twenty percent last year over the year before, the inclusion in the market of two new midsized GM models made it necessary for Toyota to produce a new Tacoma.  This new version is actually twelve percent more aerodynamic than its predecessor, which may be a real surprise when you look at the two together.

One massive change is the new V6 engine that is found on the upper trim level.  This new V6 replaces the old 4.0-liter to have a new 3.5-liter to give you 278 horsepower which is up from the 236 previously  even though the torque is down to 265 lb.-ft. which is only one less than the 4.0-liter model.  The new six-speed automatic transmission also makes an appearance for this new truck.  With this new powertrain the towing capacity is as high as 6,800 pounds  to make this a viable work truck for you to get some stuff done in a truck that is a size that is fun to drive.

The base engine is a carryover in the 2.7-liter four-cylinder with 159 horsepower and 188 lb.-ft. of torque, but most will want to opt for the larger engine to gain the power and the towing that comes along with it.  The base engine does offer the six-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission depending upon how much shifting you want to do or if you want the truck to do it for you.

Back to the new engine, this power plant has the ability to change from Otto to Atkinson cycles seamlessly.  It also uses both direct and port fuel injection.  These changes make the engine powerful and efficient at the same time and this smaller block certainly increases the fuel mileage to 18 city/23 hwy mpg in the 4×4 model which is up from the 16 city/21 hwy mpg from last year.  Another cool feature that has been added is the self-cleaning process using the port injection which cleans the carbon off the spark plugs every so often, whenever the computer has calculated the likelihood of a buildup has occurred.  Overall, this new engine seems to be pretty smart in its design and function.

On the inside the Tacoma offers tow cab configurations, the Access Cab and the Double Cab.  The Double Cab will be preferred to haul more people and stuff as it has two real doors in the back, but if you like the Access Cab it’s available.  The Double Cab offers some comfort to those rear seat passengers to enjoy.   There is smooth and comfortable leather upholstery and hickory colored accents available at the Limited trim level but the fabric of the lower trims is excellent and smooth as well.

Depending upon the model chosen you have a choice of audio systems, but the base model even has six speakers and a full 6.1-inch touch screen with voice recognition, Bluetooth connectivity, Siri Eyes Free and a rearview camera.  Head up the trims and you get a JBL audio package which feels like a concert is playing in your truck.  The GoPro mount has been included on all models placed just to the right of the rear view mirror and all models include eight airbags for your safety.

On the outside you can choose from two bed lengths at 60.5 inches or 73.7 inches.  The rotary damper lowers the tailgate gently, a nice feature when trying to protect yourself and the truck.  The wheel sizes you can choose from are 16, 17 and 18-inches in size.  The four-wheel drive is electronically controlled and a Multi Terrain Select system allows you to choose the off road requirement you have which is between mud and sand, loose rock, mogul, rock and dirt and rock.  The Crawl Control is really useful if you are an outdoor enthusiast to keep you under control on downgrades to let you go slowly and focus on the drive ahead.

Overall the new Tacoma makes for a great work/ off road vehicle that is built to be tough enough for the light duty work at a jobsite or to be the perfect choice of a weekend warrior.  With 23 mpg on the highway you can enjoy driving this truck on a daily basis and have it set up to take you to your favorite fishing spot once Friday comes and the work bell rings.

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