You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2016 Toyota Tacoma First Look

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/12/2015 Manufacturer, Patrick M Hoey, Scott Burgess

Calling the 2016 Toyota Tacoma's redesign "overdue" qualifies as the biggest understatement of 2015. The Tacoma has always been a good truck -- it's been the best-selling midsize pickup for the past 10 years -- but in recent years, it earned that title more by default than through competition. American truckmakers gave up on the segment long before they discontinued the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, or Dodge Dakota.

But there's been a slight resurgence in the midsize segment with the return of the Colorado, and Toyota has no plans to give up its top spot without a fight. That's good news for everyone considering a small pickup. For 2016 Toyota has rebooted the Tacoma with a new powertrain, more efficient transmission, a new suspension, a new look, and loads of new features.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab TRD 4x4 Off Road© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab TRD 4x4 Off Road The anemic 4.0-liter V-6 is gone and will be replaced with Toyota's 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V-6. Power numbers have not been released, but this direct-injection/port-injection engine promises to outperform the 236 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of the 4.0-liter engine. Toyota will keep its 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, though it is unclear if power will increase from the 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque found on the current version.

Both engines will be mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission. The V-6 model will have an optional six-speed manual transmission, as well. We expect a jump in fuel economy, but numbers were not released.

Like previous generations, the Tacoma will come in five trim levels: the base SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and the top-of-the-line Limited. The two off-road models will include specific suspension adjustments and a Multi-Terrain Select system that will allow the pickup to adjust to different surfaces. The system adjusts throttle response, wheelspin, and brake pressure to make moving through different things easier. Additionally, the Tacoma will offer a limited-slip and locking rear differential, hill start assist, clutch start cancel, active traction control, and crawl control. For off-roaders, Toyota has even included a GoPro mount near the rearview mirror so you can quickly upload your escapades to YouTube.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab TRD 4x4 Off Road© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab TRD 4x4 Off Road Although the Tacoma has always been a great off-roading vehicle and around-town work truck, its interior left many customers wanting more. The outgoing model had more hard plastic points than a Fisher Price Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. Toyota has modernized the cabin, which can be either an extended cab, known as Access Cab, or a bigger Double Cab. There's leather, soft points, and a very user-friendly front that makes sense.

There is a smart key with push-button start, Qi wireless charging, a moonroof, dual climate control, a new audio system with a touchscreen, and safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and cross traffic alert. All of those features, as well as the newly styled cab, are certainly welcome.

As for the exterior, Toyota has tried to toughen up the Tacoma's looks with a new front end, LED daytime running lights, and a more chiseled hood. Honestly, it looks good, especially the Access Cab TRD model, with good proportions and a higher stance. The rear adds a locking tailgate with an integrated spoiler and a system to let it lower slowly. (Toyota will also offer a tri-fold tonneau cover for the first time.)

We can't wait to learn more about this pickup, and we know Toyota will tease us with more details as time rolls on.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab TRD 4x4 Off Road© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab TRD 4x4 Off Road

More from Motor Trend


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon