The Tacoma remains Toyota’s top-selling pickup, outdoing the full-size Tundra by a fair margin.
The 2016 redesign displays a bolder hexagonal grille and the fenders show more flair. Without the regular-cab Tacoma in the lineup the extended Access Cab and four-door Double Cab are your only choices.
The restyled interior environment benefits from a sound-absorbing headliner, a “floor silencer pad,” thicker door seals and multilayer acoustic windshield.
Returning for base-engine duty is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a new 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, which replaces the 4.0-liter V-6 with its 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet.
The four-cylinder Tacoma is paired with a five-speed manual transmission, while the V-6 gets a six-speed unit. An available six-speed automatic is common to both power plants.
Ramone Gray, salesman at Las Vegas-based Centennial Toyota, said the new engine was a welcomed change.
“It’s more responsive as far as when you step on the gas pedal,” he said. “You also get better gas mileage.”
According to Gray, the 2016 Toyota Tacoma has new features.
“People really like that blind-spot monitoring is now an option as it wasn’t offered in the older one,” he added. “The push-button start is also a great feature because you don’t have to fumble for your keys anymore.”
Four-wheel-drive can be added, regardless of engine or cab choices; however, manual-transmission-equipped Tacomas will automatically come with 4×4.
At a starting price of $24,200, including destination fees, the base SR Access Cab — the work truck of the bunch — is understandably thin on comfort/features but does include air conditioning, a 6-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system and a windshield mount for your GoPro-brand video camera.
The SR5 adds a sliding rear glass panel, cruise control, remote keyless entry and an enhanced audio/communications package while the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Sport and Off-Road trims put a rough-and-tumble spin on the Tacoma.
You’ll get sport-tuned or off-road Bilstein-brand shocks, a Multi-Terrain Select system, which regulates the transmission, throttle and brakes for mud, rock or sand conditions, and locking rear differential as well as a crawl control for taking it slow and easy for extreme trail conditions.
The Limited lives it up with, literally, a truckload of luxury items ranging from leather-covered seats, navigation system and a power moonroof to chrome trim with 18-inch polished wheels.
Overall, many adventure seekers and working folks alike have an inclination for smaller pickups, which is a niche that the Toyota Tacoma has dominated for years.
— Reporter Ann Friedman contributed to this report.