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VOL. 39 | NO. 50 | Friday, December 11, 2015

Toyota Tacoma adds power, towing capacity for ’16

By Ann M. Job | For the Associated Press

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Toyota’s 2016 Tacoma is a tough, capable pickup with new interior, more power than ever, better fuel efficiency than its predecessor and a built-in GoPro camera mount next to the rearview mirror to capture every adventure.

In fact, with Toyota’s new V-6 generating 278 horsepower – an increase of 42 horsepower from last year’s V-6 – the Tacoma compact truck can now tow up to 6,800 pounds worth of camper, trailer or boat.

At the same time, the new V-6’s Atkinson cycle operation, which optimizes fuel efficiency, improves gasoline mileage noticeably.

A test-driven 4,000-plus-pound 2016 Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab averaged 21 mpg in combined city, highway and country road travel, which was better than the federal government’s estimate of 20 mpg. That translated to more than 440 miles on a single 21.1-gallon tank of fuel.

The test-driven V-6 was paired with a new six-speed automatic, but a manual transmission also is available in 2016 Tacomas with either the V-6 or the base, 159-horsepower, four-cylinder engine that is a carryover from the 2015 Tacoma.

Both Tacoma engines run on gasoline, and diesel isn’t an option.

Perhaps most important to Tacoma’s fans is the Tacoma’s long-running reputation for holding its value.

Early this year, industry journal Kelley Blue Book said the Tacoma topped all other vehicles, including cars, by retaining nearly 75 percent of its value after three years of ownership.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited 4X4 Double Cab

BASE PRICE: $23,300 for SR 4X2 Access Cab; $24,825 for SR 4X4 Access Cab; $25,385 for SR5 4X2 Access Cab; $26,275 for SR5 4X2 Double Cab; $31,560 for SR4 4X4 Double Cab; $34,745 for Limited 4X2 Double Cab; $37,820 for Limited 4X4 Double Cab

PRICE AS TESTED: $40,020

TYPE: Front-engine, four-wheel drive, five-passenger, compact pickup truck

ENGINE: 3.5-liter, double overhead cam, Atkinson cycle V-6 with dual VVT-iW

MILEAGE: 18 mpg (city), 23 mpg (highway)

TOP SPEED: NA

LENGTH: 212.3 inches

WHEELBASE: 127.4 inches

CURB WEIGHT: 4,480 pounds

BUILT: San Antonio, Texas

OPTIONS: Tonneau cover $650; V-6 towing package $650

DESTINATION CHARGE: $900

The Associated Press

The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for a base 2016 Tacoma is $24,200. That model is rear-wheel drive and includes an SR Access Cab with rear seats standard, 6-foot-long pickup bed, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission.

The lowest starting retail price for a 2016 Tacoma with four-wheel drive is $25,725 for an SR Access Cab with rear seats, 6-foot-long bed, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission.

While the Access Cab has clamshell-like side doors and reduced-size rear seats, the Tacoma Double Cab - often called a Crew Cab by other manufacturers - has four full-size side doors and a full-size bench back seat.

The starting retail price for the 2016 Double Cab is $25,030 for an SR model with rear-wheel drive, a 5-foot-long short bed, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission.

Buyers can select from among 29 versions of the Tacoma for 2016.

The new Tacoma has a taller hood, more muscular fender flares, new wheel designs and a grille that more closely resembles that on Toyota’s full-size Tundra truck, but the changes aren’t that noticeable.

The new Tacoma’s name is now stamped into the tailgate as it is with the Tundra.

The interior changes are more apparent, as a new 6.1-inch touchscreen dashboard display operates with ease and includes a useful backup camera.

Also standard on every Tacoma are Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming connectivity, Apple’s Siri Eyes Free software and at least one USB 2.0 port.

But the Tacoma’s seats still sit close to the high floor, so it’s a big climb to get inside, and the front passenger and driver sit with legs splayed out onto the floor.

The front seats of the test-driven Tacoma Double Cab were trimmed in leather, but they didn’t provide as much support as needed for a long-distance trip. The seat cushions for front and back seats also were short and didn’t give a lot of thigh support.

While horsepower increased from last year, the V-6’s peak torque is reduced by 1 foot-pound, to 265 at 4,600 rpm.

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