“We started our drive in the 2016 Tacoma by taking it on the roads near Tacoma, Washington. Our Double Cab is powered by the new Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V6 with direct and port injection (Toyota's D4S system), which has a self-cleaning feature to remove deposits from the high-pressure fuel injectors. The V6 uses an all-new 6-speed automatic transmission and puts out 278 horsepower, 42 more than the previous 4.0-liter V6 did (with a nominal reduction in torque). Fuel economy is considerably better (the best is an estimated 19 city/24 highway versus the best 2015 V6's 17 city/21 highway). Acceleration is strong and linear, and while mashing the throttle won't snap your head back, there is a clear improvement in power over the 2015 model. The V6 is also available with a 6-speed manual. The 2.7-liter I4, still with 159 horsepower and fuel economy of 19 mpg city/23 highway, carries over. Most 4-cylinder Tacomas will come with the 6-speed automatic, but a 5-speed manual is also available.” -- KBB.com
2016 Toyota Tacoma: A notch or 2 above the fine '15 truck
“So how does the whole package work? Fine, but the 2015 Tacoma worked fine, too. We honestly could not tell a lot of difference in the old 4.0- and the new 3.5-liter V-6s. We only had a chance to measure 0 to 60 mph times in a 4WD Double Cab, and averaged about 8.9 seconds, which is -- fine. About 80 percent of customers will want the V-6, the same percentage of customers who prefer the Double Cab.
“The ride is good on smooth pavement, acceptable on rough pavement, and downright punishing on potholed roads, with little difference noted in 2WD and 4WD models, and Access and Double Cabs. The frame -- boxed up front, reinforced C-channel in the middle, C-channel in the rear -- is largely carryover, but is bolstered with more high-strength steel. In some serious off-roading, we saw no flex.
“In terms of ride and interior appointments, and probably styling, the new Tacoma seems a tick behind the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins. But the Tacoma wins in one huge category: Resale value. No pickup does better.” -- Automobile
“Plain wrap SR models still look lean and purposeful, while TRD Sport models grow scoops and vents. All models benefit from a desert racer theme that works with the illusion of more ground clearance and a higher stance than before. I’ve never been thrilled with the unbalanced profile of the Double Cab/Short Bed configuration -- I much prefer the way a 6’ bed looks vs. 5’ bed. Both bed styles have been increased in depth by 7% to 19.1”, and both maintain a solid 53.4” of width at the tailgate (41.5” between the wheel wells). So, you can carry a stack of 4’x8’ plywood in the pickup bed on top of the wheel wells, hanging out of the open tailgate. Standard speed rails and fixed tie down points make it easy to secure that load of plywood, and a new locking easy lower tailgate simplifies loading and unloading. Payload ranges from 1,120 lbs to 1,620 lbs, depending on truck configuration. All Tacoma models are rated to tow 3,500 lbs, and with an optional V6 Tow Prep Package installed, some can tow up to 6,800 lbs.” -- Forbes.com
“The old V6 had torque aplenty down low, but would run out of breath as engine speed climbed. The new V6 is smooth, pulls strongly to redline and sounds much sweeter. Move the cool console shifter over to ‘sport’ and it locks out fifth and sixth gear and really wakes up the trans. We don’t have hard acceleration times, but the new Tacoma feels noticeably quicker than the old one.
“Oddly, Toyota retained the rear drum brakes. They say one main reason is Tacoma owners don’t tow frequently enough to need disc-brake performance. Still it seems like a cheap move to have drum brakes on a 2016 truck with a top-trim level approaching $40K. Regardless of those drums, the truck’s braking power felt acceptable on our drive.
“Though this truck rides on a relatively tall suspension, it feels composed in the corners. That’s especially true of the firmer TRD Sport model. It’s also quiet, making the Tacoma easy to live with.
“Since so many Tacoma owners venture off-road, we tested it over rutted, bumpy and dusty forest roads on private land in Black Diamond, Wash., about 40 miles from Seattle. The TRD Off-Road trucks with their fatter 16-inch tires and Bilstein shocks were the best at filtering out both small and larger bumps. So good, you end up driving harder just to see if the suspension can take the abuse. We can confirm -- it can.” -- Autoweek
“The hydraulically assisted power steering could be a dead ringer for the 2015 truck’s. The steering ratios are identical (17.3-17.4:1) and the snap back to center continues to be strong and fast. The previous model’s steering effort would increase as it returned to center, but it’s slightly less noticeable with the new model.
“Now structurally more rigid and better sealed against the elements and noise, the Tacoma conveys a much greater sense of solidity and refinement on the road. The cabin is certainly quieter. The new V-6 doesn’t grunt along as coarsely as the old 4.0-liter V-6 with its 236 hp and 266 lb-ft did.
“Speaking of ringers, even the brake pedal engagement is familiar. The bite point is near the top of the pedal’s travel, making the brakes feel overly sensitive. A midgrade SR5 isn’t as touchy.
“An off-road venue turns into demo periods for the TRD Off-Road’s new Crawl Control, as experienced before in the Land Cruiser, 4Runner, and (R.I.P.) FJ Cruiser. Activate the four-wheel-drive system’s low range, choose the Crawl Control creep speed of 1-5 mph, and let the truck control the throttle and brakes (but not the steering). At this point, the truck’s mpg readout is showing 12 mpg, but EPA fuel economy values are expected to range from 19 to 21 mpg combined. (Forty-five percent of Tacoma owners self-identify as off-roaders, but the degree of off-pavement seriousness is a mystery.)” -- Motor Trend
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.