By on January 20, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

2017 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 TRD Off-Road

3.5-liter V-6, DOHC 24-Valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle, (278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 265 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm)

Six-speed Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i)

19 city / 24 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

17.5 mpg (Observed)

Base Price: $22,405

As Tested: $38,625

As tested price includes a $940 destination charge in the United States.

If you want a new midsize truck, you have four-and-a-half options. The geriatric but delightfully trucky Nissan Frontier, the recently reintroduced unibody Ridgeline, the insipid GM Colorado/Canyon twins, or the relatively fresh Toyota Tacoma. Each of these trucks has something to recommend it, but the midsize segment is not the dynamic space it once was. There are more station wagons available to American consumers today than mid-size pickups.

Amid the thin field of competition, the Toyota Tacoma is the undisputed sales leader. In 2016 it outsold its next closest rival by 46,000 units on its way to a 43 percent market share. And despite the lack of choice, consumers acquired 25 percent more midsize trucks in 2016 than they did in 2015. Thankfully, growth ensures that this highly visible yet under-served corner of the market will soon offer a selection more like Amazon than a Soviet-era grocery store. The Ford Ranger returns to the market in about two years, along with the much-anticipated Wrangler pickup. Nissan will soon update the prehistoric Frontier. And both Volkswagen and Mercedes are contemplating midsize entries.

Sales are robust for Toyota’s mid-sizer, but is it ready for tomorrow’s competition?

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

The Tacoma, like many Toyota products, has a no-nonsense, practical point A to point B appeal. Such market positioning may lack excitement, but it speaks to vast portions of the market, as evidenced by Toyota’s position as the number two brand in the land. But unlike — for example — Corolla and Camry, Tacoma has a more challenging remit. It must also move people and things between points A and B, but in order to do so it must be capable of leaving the pavement. And according to Toyota, a refreshing 45 percent of Tacoma owners do just that.

Exterior

Trucks possess limitations inherent to their class that inhibit designer creativity. Load carrying, towing, and footprint requirements constrain ingenuity in design and elevate the importance of styling in the pursuit of product differentiation (Ridgeline is the exception that proves the rule). Toyota compromised none of the mandatory truck elements, and to this reviewer’s eye nailed the Tacoma’s styling.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

From afar, Toyota’s traditional high-riding 4×4 stance provides the truck with a confident presence. Drawing closer, the front end portrays strength in a straightforward workmanlike manner. The headlights do not resemble boomerangs, nor are they bedazzled with LEDs. The grille also eschews over-styling with a hexagonal evolution of the previous generation’s facade. Its prominent wheel arches make no excuses, and in some trims a skid plate peeks out from under the front bumper — underlining that this truck promises more than just a poised appearance.

[Get new and used Toyota Tacoma pricing here!]

The 2017 Tacoma is a dimensional doppelganger for the previous generation, with one exception. In the common double-cab, short-bed configuration, the 127.4 inch wheelbase is unchanged. However, the new truck grows four inches longer overall. Drivers and front passengers get 1.1 inches of extra leg room and 0.2 inches have been added to the length of the bed. The incremental stretch will be immaterial to most consumers. But shoppers in California — where garages skew small and more mid-size trucks are sold than any other state — are advised to verify their garage depth before bringing a new Tacoma home.

2016_toyota_tacoma_trdsp_21_a7087047cdbdfe1b43b5067e158f69984d1a87f5

Interior

Unlike an SUV striving to shroud its truck-based origins, or a car-based crossover attempting a butch appearance, Tacoma is not trying to be anything other than a truck. And for that I applaud Toyota. My tester came well equipped with all kinds of comfort and safety items: blind spot warning, dual zone climate controls, power moonroof, Qi wireless phone charging, touch screen navigation, cruise control, and heated seats. It did not have leather or power seats. And, as a truck traditionalist, I neither want nor appreciate such extravagances in my truck, anyway.

The instruments and most controls are found where one would expect, though the dashboard, center stack, and center console appear to have been designed by three separate teams. The fit between each element is Toyota-solid, but the controls lack alignment, the USB charging port has a rubberized button of odd fragility, and the assorted off-road related switch gear is divided between the dash and overhead console. Transitioning from the aesthetic to the practical, there are several ambiguously labeled buttons. Unable to identify them, I visited the owner’s manual to decode their purpose.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

I now know that the “ECT Power” button mounted in the lower echelon of the center stack stands for Electronically Controlled Transmission. When activated, it alters shift points to hold gears longer. Okay, no problem. How about the limited-slip rear differential, known as Auto LSD? I must discover how to activate that little off-road magic maker. Answer: there is no LSD button. Instead, you turn on the diff lock by turning off VSC (Vehicle Stability Control). The owner’s manual explains how to interpret the dashboard lights when LSD is tripped: “If the rear wheels spin, the slip indicator flashes to indicate that the AUTO LSD system has been controlled the spinning of the rear wheels.

Much of the manual is written in Google Translate — do not attempt to read it before your first cup of coffee.

Driving

The base Tacoma engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder producing 159 horsepower. However, most Tacomas receive Toyota’s modern, direct-injected 3.5-liter V6. The new 2GR-FKS code V6 is found across the Toyota and Lexus range, whereas the outgoing 4.0-liter was exclusive to trucks and SUVs. Horsepower and torque peaked lower in the 4.0-liter and provided a correspondingly lower redline than the new V6.

In the Tacoma, the 3.5-liter delivers 278 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 265 lb-ft of torque. That’s 42 slightly more refined horses than in the 4.0-liter.  And although the 3.5-liter provides torque equal to the retired 4.0, it arrives 600 RPMs higher. Acceleration is on par with the previous generation truck but is delivered in a rather un-truck-like fashion.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

Toyota’s decision to realign its high-volume Tacoma engine with the rest of its product range, regardless of application type, is consistent with industry trends. Trading engine production volume for fit with application has undeniable operating and financial efficiencies for Toyota. The realignment does deliver one significant benefit for Tacoma owners, however. In spite of no material weight reduction and its being mated to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, the new generation truck offers real fuel economy gains, increasing from 16 city/21 highway to 19 city/24 highway. Observed fuel economy was 17.5 mpg across a city- and off-road-heavy 210-mile test cycle.

This truck does not invite stop light challenges nor does its top-heavy feel make it a canyon carver, but the Tacoma provides a composed ride on-road. The hydraulically assisted power steering is all but an exact facsimile of the previous generation, providing adequate road feel. Brake feel is similarly unchanged and will be familiar to the 1.8 million 2004 to 2015 Tacoma drivers. And Tacoma continues to operate with off-road ready rear drum brakes.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

Off-Road

This truck is equipped with a litany of tools intended to make it a legitimate off-pavement machine right out of the box. And although it took some frustration with the owner’s manual to sort out the various systems, once dialed in, it exceeded expectations. This truck includes the fundamental tools prerequisite to off-road success, including a low-range transfer case (first-gear crawl ratio 36.2:1), the aforementioned limited-slip rear end, and four grippy P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar reinforced tires. In TRD Off-Road guise it also includes the latest generation of electronic wizardry, such as Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control. This rig can turn Joe Consumer into Ivan Stewart, almost.

The Taco was a confidence-inspiring companion over deeply rutted, rock-strewn single tracks, through virgin sand-filled washes, and up and down 45 degree loose banks. The 23-degree departure angle was the only aspect of the truck that came in for criticism, but if one cannot tolerate the rear overhang they will need to omit a bed altogether and get a Wrangler. There are very few places I would refuse to take this Tacoma.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

Conclusion

The most basic Tacoma, a 4×2 SR Access Cab (the regular cab died in 2014) carries an MSRP of $22,405. According to Toyota, 40 percent of Tacomas are of the TRD variety, of which there are three flavors. The TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road are similar to the retired PreRunner trim in that they sit high but can be had in two or four wheel drive, whereas the range topping 2017 TRD Pro is only available as a 4×4.

The TRD Off-Road reviewed here started at $34,705. The Premium & Technology Package that includes the previously mentioned safety and convenience items adds $2,330. The comprehensive $650 tow package includes a Class IV receiver hitch, transmission, oil, and power steering coolers; 130-amp alternator, and trailer sway control. Including a $940 delivery fee, the MSRP totaled $38,625.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

Aside from various aesthetic differences, the most significant advantage the TRD Pro enjoys over the TRD Off-Road are its FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass shocks and front springs with a 1-inch lift. The rear is also equipped with Fox shocks and the rear leafs are progressive units tuned for more aggressive off-road use. Their 1,175 lb payloads and 6,500 lb tow ratings are identical.

The Tacoma TRD Off-Road absolutely looks the part of an off-road-ready machine. And its appearance is backed not only by legitimate hardware and a truck-appropriate spec sheet, but by five decades of truck experience. It can haul your toys or be your toy, all while serving as a family friendly daily driver. This truck may not impress with its power or sound, but it possesses an undeniable charisma. This is a truck’s truck that will continue to acquit itself just fine against today’s and tomorrow’s competition.

[Images: © 2016 Seth Parks/The Truth About Cars; Garrett Martin; Toyota Motor Corporation]

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80 Comments on “2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Review – Toy in Waiting...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    Are Ford and Toyota working off the same matrix? – http://www.2017pickuptruck.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2017-Ford-Ranger-Diesel.jpg

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “the insipid GM Colorado/Canyon twins”

    I’m no GM fanboy but what exactly makes them insipid? I’d wager they are much more of a fresh clean sheet design than the current gen Taco.

    The biggest thing to recommend a Tacoma in my mind is the insane resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I was curious about this as well. Not as good off road but very capable otherwise and it sounds like they are nicer to drive day-to-day.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I’ve talked to some guys who’ve had Canyoneros issued to them by their fleets. They detest them in a manner usually reserved for FCA junk.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Which contradicts most magazine and online comparisons plus most any owner I have questioned about there 2016/2017 Canyon/Colorado says they love them. The poor driving position and lack of any kind of power seat in the Taco are often complaints along with it’s dated styling, lackluster underpowered base engine and it’s inability to fend off rust and alloy wheel corrosion in the Winter belt areas.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      Fair enough PrincipalDan. And of course opinions on aesthetics are just that, opinions. Mine happens to be that the GM rigs are boring, poorly packaged, unimaginative trucks. On the other hand, they offer a diesel, so big props to GM for that. And I agree that the new generation Tacoma is hardly revolutionary, but I think I communicated as much in the article.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Toyota is the king of insipid. I like the looks of the Colorado and Canyon more. The front part of the cabin is much nicer than the Tacoma. My boys liked the back seats of the Tacoma better.
      Tacoma has taken a hit in the durability studies with the current truck.

      At what speed does the “Auto LSD” disengage. I read that it stays locked at speeds of 3 mph or less. That is totally unacceptable for an “off-road” truck.

      Oh and when did Good Year Wrangler “All Terrains” become grippy?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The Colorado doubled Tacoma’s one year in in sales by the Toyota. And that is competition from the Canyon cousin and faster selling Silverado/Sierra.

      The Colorado has been winning comparisons over the Toyota since it was introduced:

      http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2015-chevrolet-colorado-lt-crew-cab-4wd-vs-2016-toyota-tacoma-trd-off-road-double-cab-4×4-final-scoring-performance-data-and-complete-specs-page-4

      The new GM V6 finishes this Japanese and is now quicker than the Ridgeline.

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-chevrolet-colorado-v-6-8-speed-automatic-4×4-crew-cab-test-review

  • avatar
    Not_a_luddite

    At any point during your review did the frame rust out and collapse?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Don’t worry, it will be replaced on the extended warranty

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Here in Upstate, NY where they use salt the Toyota Tacoma’s are often seen with rusted frames, peeling and corroded alloy wheels and rusted rear bumpers. I have even seen models as late as 2012 with the base painted steel wheels that are starting to rust! The Colorado/Canyon have only been out a few years now so it will be interesting to contrast the two down the road.

  • avatar
    ranchero_collectivo

    Kinda tragic they couldn’t be bothered to get a properly translated driver’s manual. As someone who spends a fair bit of time translating and proofreading statements and papers by non-English speakers, it would seriously bother me to know that my truck has such a poorly translated manual if I were to buy one.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    1. It looks like someone kicked it in the butt
    2. It has same switch gear as 2009 Highlander

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Very nice review Seth, thanks.

    If offroad capabilities are your priority, this truck is worth every bit of truckishness you must endure in exchange. The GM twins and Ridgeline exist for buyers who prioritize towing/hauling and carlike manners, respectively. There may not be many offerings in the midsize field, but they span a surprising range of intended use.

    I had wanted a Tacoma for a long time and considered one of these when shopping for the 4Runner. Both are capable off road, both have excellent resale, both have 4 doors, and both are about the same price. But there’s a huge difference in day-to-day livability. The Tacoma’s cabin has very little headroom, very little rear legroom, and the seats are mounted too close to the floor. The 3.5 V6 is getting unenthusiastic reviews for its peaky power delivery.

    The 4Runner has oodles of cabin space, a standard power driver seat, better shaped front seats, a far better driving position, a spacious rear seat, and notably nicer interior materials on the common contact points, and the torquey old 4.0 V6. It’s just a better balance of daily driver family vehicle and offroad adventurer. The 7-year old 4Runner platform won out.

    Glad Toyota still kept the rough and tumble Tacoma formula, but a bit more interior polish and a more suitable powertrain probably isn’t too much to ask for $35K.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth Parks

      I Absolutely agree. Of the 4.5 mid-sizers available, each addresses a unique niche even though they share a segment. The Taco skews trucky with an off-road orientation. And that 3.5L is certainly not helping.

      For someone seeking a daily driver who does not need the truck bed, I would go with the 4.0L powered 4Runner as well. Solid choice.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      I shopped the Tacoma and the 4 Runner as well. I thought the 4Runner would be perfect for me but I found the handling to be bad and didnr like the dash. I drove the Tacoma and liked the dash and ride/handling better. It didn’t wallow in the turns as much. But the 3.5 was too little motor for it. I could live with it but what you couldn’t live with was getting into it. It has a weird combination of being high off the ground with a low roof. So you have to step up and bend down at the same time to get in. I’m only 5 10 and on the fat side so not easy. Price was good though. So I think I’ll be getting a 4 Runner too. One with KDSS would probably be perfect for me but I can’t find one to drive and I don’t want to pay for it or add the complexity

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Completely agree on the jump-n-duck entry procedure for the Tacoma. Very few vehicles are set up this way and it feels odd.

        The KDSS on the 4Runner apparently cuts down on the body lean in turns, but once equipped it was beyond the price I was willing to pay for this kind of vehicle so I skipped it as well. I’ve become calibrated to the body lean and it doesn’t bother me much anymore. The dashboard design is a generation behind the Tacoma but I found the nicely padded armrests and power seat more than made up for it.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The KDSS 4runner drives much nicer on road than the non-…-version.

        Overall, in the US outside of dense cities, and it surprises me to say this, I’m still surprised how much more I liked the whale-like Sequoia. Ditto for the Tundra vs the Taco. Both Taco and 4r have seemingly half their “exterior volume” taken up by big, offroady truck frames and running gear. In the Sequoia and Tundra, the underpinnings are not much larger, so all the added 25% of size, goes directly to the interior bottom line. Making for a much less space compromised feel.

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    what about the driver’s seat height? everyone seems to complain about the seat height.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      A colleague is quite tall and a bit long torso-ed but a long time Tacoma TRD owner. He went to look at the new Tacoma and claimed that he didn’t fit, his head was scraping the headliner.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I don’t understand why. I have a 36″ inseam and I find the seat height to be just fine in my Tacoma.

      That assumes that the complaints cover the 2015 model…

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        He said he was considering a Tundra (he needs the bed to carry his dual sport bike). Given that he’s not married and answers to no one, it’s not like he needed to justify the Tundra over the Tacoma to anybody.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        Bunkie; I have no trouble with headroom in mine either (it’s a 2016). And, it has enough room in both front and back seats to fit four adults comfortably. This is based on my experience driving it on several occasions for 3+ hour trips with four adults. I also find the driver’s seat to be very comfortable. This is based on a 9+ hour trip of continuous driving.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          Edit to above comment; the seat height is also no problem for me (in my 2016). Sorry, I misunderstood the original comment. The other stuff I mentioned above is still valid, though, based on my experiences.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @Seth Parks
    Neither the new Mercedes Pickup or the current Volkswagen Amarok ,are destined for the US. Designed for the ” 1 tonne ” Global Pickup market that according to Daimler Benz will be selling 2.8 million vehicles by 2020

  • avatar
    Seth Parks

    The seat height was essentially a non issue for me. Toyota did elevate the seat vs the previous gen, but the outcome was nearly neutral for me. I am 6’1″ and had no head clearance problem. It did however impact me when I was the first vehicle stopped at a traffic light in a small intersection. On the couple of occasions this occurred, I had to scrunch down in the seat to see the signal. If I did not, the signal would be obscured behind the leading edge of the roof line. The visibility is otherwise excellent.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Is it just me, or does this read like the type of review that TTAC has historically criticized.

    There is just so much that jumps out at me.

    GM twins are insipid but no explanation or real comparison.

    What is ECT, giggle, giggle, I read the owner’s manual. Did we just read a piece by Jack 6 or 8 weeks ago that people that don’t understand the vehicle they are reviewing, should not be reviewing the vehicle.

    Ummm, no Mercedes has been quite clear their pickup is not US bound. VW has all but shot in the head any idea their pickup is coming, and no mention of the Hyundai offering, which may or may not see the light of day on the list of potential comers.

    That picture of “off-road?” As God is my witness I’ve bounced a FWD GM U-Body minivan up worse. That is hardly “off-road chops.” I took a FWD LE RAV-4 out to the Race Track in Death Valley this last March – which has spots again, vastly worse than what is in that picture. VASTLY. I don’t see any real off-road test there. I wish we had even 30 seconds of time to take pictures of what that poor rental looked like when we turned it in. We got zinged on a cleaning fee and I didn’t fight it – we earned it!

    The pickup truck wheelbase remained the same, but it grew 4″ longer, but unless you have a small garage you shouldn’t care. No. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. That length had go somewhere which impacts approach and departure angle. Oh wait, we talk about the 23 degree departure angle a bit later.

    Maybe I’m turning into an grumpy old man, “hey you kids, get your Taco off of my lawn!” but what the heck is going on with TTAC.

    This is only incrementally better than a LLN puff piece.

    I’ll also point out the gaffe on the GM “man step” article that stated that GM played catch up adding steps to their bumpers after Ford added the man step – which wasn’t true. GM had integrated steps in their truck bumpers with integrated hand hold back in 2001. The article was tweaked to reflect.

    A post truth age – where basic research doesn’t matter (e.g. VW, Mercedes, and Hyundai)

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1 This review reads very Autoblog-ish.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @APaGttH
      I pointed out the Mercedes/Volkswagen issue in my post. Correct about the ” rough road” and very subjective comments
      Hyundai’s Pickup was a project of a US manager at Hyundai who has since left the Company

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Looks like the unwise “insipid GM twins” comment torqued you in the second sentence so you were reading the rest of the review after the red mist had descended. It’s a very positive review one but it is also pretty clear that he simply likes the type of truck that this is.

      I don’t understand your criticism of the off road part of the review. Off pavement obstacles never look as impressive in 2-dimensional photos, but that picture above is clearly rather steep, rather loose, and off-camber. Good luck getting a FWD van up that. The road to the Racetrack is no threat if you avoid flat tires–I’ve taken a 96 Camry there and to my horror saw a group of Japanese tourists blaze in with a rental Sienna minivan.

      Regardless of this review, there’s a reason the Tacoma has an off-road reputation while the Colorado will have to wait for the ZR2 package to earn one:

      https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/tacoma/2016/long-term-road-test/2016-toyota-tacoma-rock-on.html

      https://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/colorado/2015/long-term-road-test/2015-chevrolet-colorado-mild-dirt-duty-exposes-weak-approach-angle.html

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I will also point to @Speedygreg7 post below mine on how the Tacoma does not have a mechanical LSD, and the author dropped the ball on an open differential, LSD, and traction control.

        If you’re writing a truck review it goes back to my point – did not Jack write an article 6 or 8 weeks ago saying people who don’t understand the vehicles they are reviewing have no business reviewing them?

        I have no skin in the game in the GM twins having never driven or even sat in one (seen one on a showroom floor). I also, as you seem to have selective read, gave praise to the RAV-4 which was brutally abused in Death Valley last year we had as a rental. Again, took that 2WD RAV-4 on rocky berms, drops, and fields far worse than anything in that picture – dimension is not lost.

        You also selectively ignored my harsh criticism of the Camaro versus the Mustang in the B&B commentariat that I wrote, also just today, before this article was published.

        Further, if the TTAC search engine parsed the commentariat better, you would quickly find I am a BIG Taco fan. If I was buying a midsizer, the Taco would be the first truck I would look at.

        This is a puff piece, it is filled with competitive landscape errors, basic functionality of the vehicle errors (LSD), that should have never gotten past the EIC.

        If anyone is acting a bit biased…ehh, never mind.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          aaand the red mist is still there I see. That comment was made jokingly and I included the link to the Colorado review to demonstrate that the Tacoma is capable regardless of the terrain that Seth took it on for this review, but in retrospect I suppose that could be interpreted as an accusation of GM bias. Calm down a touch, I generally like your comments and have no issue with you so let’s step away from the ledge.

          I’ll gladly meet you halfway and agree that a more comprehensive understanding of the truck’s drive system would have been useful.

          Now, the real thing that’s troubling me: If I haven’t even read the comment thread in which you claim to have criticized the Camaro, is it still “selective reading”?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “As God is my witness I’ve bounced a FWD GM U-Body minivan up worse. ”

      I would pay to see you tackle that berm in a FWD minivan. I’d be there recording, and then load it to youtube and monetize it as a “fail video,” recouping my initial payment to you.

      30-mile is correct in that off-road obstacles lose their dimensionality in photographs and even on film many times.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I have witnesses to taking a 1998 Pontiac Montana FWD up over the berms at the intersection of the Big Sioux and Missouri River scouting for canoe put ins to the Big Sioux.

        The berm was far more rutted than what you see in that picture, and had I dropped in those ruts, the van would have most certainly been hopelessly stuck.

        Alas, unlike the cheap carpeting complaint I had about Subaru, which I backed up with pictures when challenged, I can’t provide video or photographic proof.

        Since you have offered to pay, get me the van (with appropriate tires and functioning traction control – I think that is a fair requirement) a plane ticket and I’ll gladly bounce it up and down without issue under the mostly dry conditions portrayed in the photo. (e.g. no snow/ice/or mud pit, that doesn’t match conditions).

        @dobelcz

        You can connect with me there and I’m message you e-mail address for the ticket, location, and date. You did offer to pay.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “under the mostly dry conditions portrayed in the photo. ”

          To me it looks like a heavily-sideways angled berm, with a lot of loose soil.

          Yeah maybe if you carried enough momentum leading up to the berm you could crash your way up it. The more likely scenario would be the car keeling over down hill on the left side, unloading the right front tire, leaving it spinning, and/or the left front wheel would not be able to grab any traction from that loose soil. The van would stop dead in its tracks, the end.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Agree on the lost of actual perspective with photo’s. I took a picture of a hill that I could barely climb with a YZ490 MX bike. The photo looked like I was in a parking lot.

        I’ve been teaching my son’s to drive and I’ve been taking them to a gravel pit. There is one hill that isn’t very steep but being a mix of loose sand/gravel, I can’t climb it in 4×2.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          No! You’re wrong! The perspective is clear and nothing is lost! FLY ME OUT THERE AND I’LL PUT MY MINIVAN DOWN IT AND YOU WILL BEG FOR MY FORGIVENESS!
          :)

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @30-mile fetch – THAT’S THE SPIRIT.

            MAKE MINIVANS GREAT AGAIN

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            All minivans are EMASCULATED MOMMY BOXES without a HEMI and RWD.

            Pacifica HELLCAT, make it happen. MAKE MINIVANS GREAT AGAIN!

            I don’t need to TURN, I just need to laugh as the fool in the GTI WATCHES MY TAILLIGHTS DISAPPEAR.

            Every minivan should have a red white and blue V8. EVERY one.

            Except Hyundai. I like HYUNDAI.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      APaGttH,
      I agree.

      Was this article sponsored by Toyota?

      Toyota do generally build a good product, but it can’t be as good as this flowery article.

  • avatar
    Speedygreg7

    This test is incorrect about the supposed LSD in this truck. No Toyota Tacoma (or Tundra) for that matter has a mechanical limited slip differential. The AUTO LSD that the author talks about is a more aggressive program for the electronic brake based traction control that all cars and trucks have now. This Tacoma does have an electronic locker for the rear axle that can be used in low range 4WD at low speeds. Otherwise, this one wheel drive open differential truck just drags the rear brakes to poorly simulate a real limited slip differential.

    At my office, we have a 3 RAM 1500s. Two have the standard open differential and one has the optional “Anti-Spin Differential”. There is a notceable difference in the way the trucks accelerate on wet pavement before the traction control cuts in to bog you down. A mechanical limited slip should be standard on trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Agreed Speedygreg, I think the fault is not necessarily Seths, automakers love to construe their offroad-centric brake-based traction control systems as “E-LSDs” and other such things. And the missing emphasis of this Tacoma having a REAL fully locking mechanical locking rear differential is puzzling.

      • 0 avatar
        Speedygreg7

        It’s true that the locking rear differential deserves more emphasis, but if Seth write about cars for a living he should understand the difference between an open differential, a limited slip differential and electronic traction control.

        • 0 avatar
          dig

          Speedy, GT, Seth et al.

          Just got a 2017 TRD OR except without the tech and premo package like this truck. RTFM. It does have a mech locker and crawl control, etc. only works in 4×4 low. The “Auto LSD” is a fake anti-lock algorithm that works when one turns off the Trac control (far left button on overhead console) you can use that in 2wd.

          The biggest thing that IMO the author does not expound upon is the 6 speed auto this rig has. Or rather the shift points that Toyo has programmed into it. Both 5 & 6 are over drive and it will have you in them at 2K rpm and under which the motor can’t handle with its higher HP and Torx curve. So you end up having to use manual mode or at least ECT button which negates any MPG gains and all the freaking tech. Luckily Toyo has a TSB out that can fix this. They are being stingy however because the MPG CAFE ratings they’re selling the truck with was with obnoxious programming. Luckily Toyo gives you enough tools in the cabin to over ride.

          The rest of the rig is great. Having come from a first Gen Titan, I miss the V8 but this is like driving a sports car in comparison and really the Taco goes like when you can keep the revs up. Maybe should have got the 6 MT but they are like unicorns and would have to order.

          This thing goes like stink off road as well. Incredible capabilities. Smaller size will save the paint in my neck of the woods! Plus just don’t need a full size anymore in my advanced, not working as much, age.

          • 0 avatar
            OldandSlow

            @dig Spot-on observation that both 5th & 6th gear on the 3rd Gen Tacoma auto are overdrive gears. * Due to the axle ratios and electronic mapping for the shift points, the transmission will hunt between the two on hilly roads, unless you use the ECT button *

            This was my test drive experience in September/October of 2016, while on a test drive.

            There were two left over 2015 base version 4×4 Access Cabs with 5 speed manual on the lot – when I visited. I managed to snag one of them for $22.5K and I’m happy with it.

            And yes these trucks will go like stink off road – which in my case meant replacing OEM tires.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Clearly the criticism of the GM twins as being insipid has blinded your judgement, and because you were hurt by that, you are now calling out issues with the story.

      Yay for tacos!

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Agreed. I’ve driven an F150 with the electronic locker and hated it. It disengages at speeds above 25 mph and won’t re-engage until below 20 mph. In 4 lo it will stay engaged until 60 mph. That makes no sense at all. Traction/stability control re-engages at 25mph on the newer trucks.

      The Power Wagon has limited slip diffs that can be electronically locked. That is the way it should be.

      • 0 avatar
        Speedygreg7

        I’m not sure I understand your comment. A locker is used at low speeds, basically to get unstuck. Then it should be disengaged because unless you are on a very loose surface the truck will only want to travel perfectly straight. Why would you need a locker at speeds of 25mph and higher?

        I’m surprised you can even go 60 mph in 4low, and again why would you do that? Once you are unstuck wouldn’t you shift back to 4High or even 2wd if you wanted to go 60mph?

        No snark/scarcasm here….looking for clarification.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’ve gone down that road before with Lou and gave up LOL. I personally think it’s beyond insane to leave a rear diff locked at anything above a crawling speed to get unstuck, but agreed to disagree.

          Over this winter break I was tooling around seasonal access roads in my 4Runner, was climbing a very icy deeply rutted hill in RWD just to see if I could make it on unstudded snow tires. Started to lose momentum and the rear kept trying to swing around on me. Finally lost all momentum, shifted into 4Hi, but it was still hopeless. Finally I grabbed 4Low to gain access to the rear locker and flipped it on, pulled right up the hill, turned it off as soon as I was past that section of trail.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gte,
            I find traction a huge factor when locking your rear diff. If I’m climbing a steep slippery clay incline I’ll leave my assend locked, irrespective of speed.

            Front lockers must be constantly cycled on and off, especially in tight turning situations.

            Remember if you have a diff lock and it’s off you have an open diff. This can play havoc at times when traction is transferring between wheels. So, you can be better off just locking what ever you have.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Fair enough, I’ll have to experiment with this some more offroad. My 4Runner is wired from the factory to only allow locking in 4 low, but it is an easy mod to enable its function in any (4Hi, 2wd) modes.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Try deep snow on a long up hill. You need all the grip you can get. I had a F150 rental for 10 days in real crappy post blizzard weather. Loosing the locked rear was a pain. Roads were some of the worst conditions I’ve seen.

            My comment about the locker staying engaged is as per Ford’s manual. It will stay locked up to 60 mph. I’ve never done it and wtf would anyone go that fast in 4 lo? Stupid programming on Ford’s part. .

            The Ford Raptor will stay locked in 4×2 and 4×4 in off-road mode at any speed. There are times when you want/need a locked rear even at higher speeds. Dune running is one. Another is deep snow with long uphill or where you need to plow through a drifting snow.

            There are some circumstances where you would need it. It is rare but happens.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Lou,
        My Ranger based BT50 is similar, except it comes with a rear e-locker.

  • avatar
    B_C_R

    Toyota got most things right on this truck, save for the peaky 3.5 V6. I’ve only been able to find one mated to the lurchy hunty 6 speed auto, so maybe it’s different when married to a proper manual, but I was no impressed at all with how much the transmission hunted for gears for the sake of fuel economy and how much it felt like the engine was strung out on Red Bull.

    Toyota makes good car engines, and it makes good truck engines — so Toyota, go back to the drawing board and make a proper truck engine that this truck deserves.

  • avatar
    Longshift

    “Nissan will soon update the prehistoric Frontier.”

    Is there any definite information on when Nissan will introduce a new Frontier to the U.S.?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      You could have them now like the rest of the world, since 2014.

      But …….. uncompetitive import constraints stop you guys from having some great pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Longshift

        The Chicken Tax does keep good trucks like the Triton out, but it shouldn’t be a problem for Nissan since they have an operable truck factory in the U.S. that can produce the trucks here. I do not understand why Nissan did not introduce the Navara into the U.S. back in 2015 as they did in the rest of the world.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    How is there a midsize segment when there are only two sizes?

    I much preferred my 2009 Tacoma to my work 2015 Colorado. Of course, if the Colorado had anything other than the 4 cylinder I might think otherwise. But the transmission works too hard and the suspension is bouncy.

    My Tacoma felt very cheap in an economy car sense, but you can’t complain about the fact that buying a Tacoma is essentially like putting your money in the bank.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Because it’s closer in size to the Dakota than the older Toyota pickups, and the Dakota /was/ definitely midsize when there were three sizes.

      http://www.allpar.com/photos/dodge/dakota/1987/rams.jpg

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @Longshift
    They still have a lot of problems moving the new Titan and Titan XD. Need to concentrate on those first. Antique Frontier has been increasing it’s sales.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    The two times I rode in one of these, I couldn’t take my eyes off the hood, which was oscillating in the center at highway speeds. Thank goodness I wasn’t the one driving or we would have crashed. I cannot believe that Toyota owners put up with this. Even though the entire hood of my Wrangler can bounce up and down a bit in heavy winds, the middle of the hood doesn’t oscillate like a cheap tin can.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It’s sad to see such a biased article on TTAC.

    I would of liked to have seen a more objective piece of journalism.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    This quest for a small truck in America is as illusory as the quest for the plain-jane, no-frills RWD brown wagon. Baruth the Elder’s article about features demonstrates that not even TTAC faithful will buy these vehicles that look so right on paper. The Ranger is dead and mourned; the S10 is dead and forgotten; the Tacoma moves because the Tundra is a colossal failure for the Toyota faithful. Just buy a RAM with a hemi and get it over with – it outsells the Tacoma two or three to one, and it’s number three. The GMC Sierra outsells the Tacoma. Chevrolet sells 5-6 times the Silverados as it does Colorados. It remains the niche segment that saw the death of the 80s tiny pickups when we realized Paul Ehrlich didn’t know squat.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    For the Ranger Jihad, the blue oval mid-size needs to make its appearance in North America. Now more more than ever. Or dougle-dog dare Sergio to import the Fiat Doblo in tradesman, Abarth, and HELLCAT versions.

  • avatar
    Kato

    I just spent a 3 day ski weekend riding in a ’17 Taco. Impressions were: not enough head room, not enough rear leg room (sitting behind a 6-footer, I’m 5’11”), and the seats are uncomfortably too close to the floor. These things are enough to convince me that I don’t want one when I had been considering it prior. Earlier this year I rode up a steep, muddy/rocky mountain double-track in a ’15 TRD and it didn’t break a sweat. TRD Tacos are very, very capable off-road.

  • avatar
    djkenny

    I wish they would come out with a simple common man’s work truck. No options. No Frills.. just tough and inexpensive, the price of a entry level Yaris. 4 cylinder, bench seat, no power anything.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I have been driving and riding in Toyota compact pickups for more than 40 years. Owned two. The only thing they all have in common is that you sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. If you have a lengthy inseam, that means that you have next to no thigh support. This ergo-quirk differentiates this truck from literally everything else in the segment, indeed all other trucks.

  • avatar
    Colorad0

    I wouldn’t trade two of these new ones for my custom built taco


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