Is 2016 Toyota Tacoma a game changer?

Aug 17, 2015, 08:01 ET from INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "I am rarely impressed," says Linda Water Nelson, of  INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks, and sport vehicle editor of both Texas Fish & Game and Gaff magazines.  "Journalists drive so many vehicles that we're immune to the manufacturers' hype.  That said, my first drive of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma blew me away."

"I've always been tough on the Toyota truck team for not going the extra mile, but with Tacoma they went there and then some," she added.

Nelson drove the Tacoma at a vehicle launch event near Seattle.  "We put the V6-equipped Tacoma through a breath-stealing 40-degree double drop, a massive rock crawl and an unpaved trail course that was so narrow it was barely passable.  These were among the most ambitious that I've experienced with any manufacturer and this truck aced them all."

The Tacoma was also buried up to its wheel hubs in loose sand. In reverse, the driver was able to completely extricate the truck and drive out… "something I have not seen done before. It's a risky move," the auto writer said.

Two new features made the challenges possible. A multi-terrain select system adjusts the throttle and brake pressure for maximum traction on mud, sand and loose rock; but more amazing was the crawl control which allows the driver to select a speed of 1 to 5 mph, take his foot off of both the brake and the accelerator and let the system take over for ascent and descent, and crawling over massive boulders.  The driver need only concentrate on steering.

"In the morning we drove several hours on highways and city streets and were impressed with the quiet ride and improved interior amenities making this a good daily driver, too," said Nelson.

The Tacoma is an important vehicle for Toyota since it owns about 60% of the mid-size truck market, which had been stagnant for about a decade.  In 2014, GM changed the landscape with the introduction of the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon, both of which have been very well received.

"This fall GM will introduce diesel versions of the Colorado and Canyon – a segment first.  All three trucks are very capable and distinctive.  Best of all, a truck lover can buy them for under $40,000 and they fit in most garages," Nelson added.

For additional information please contact Linda Water Nelson, 901-326-7887,


SOURCE INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks