Toyota's Online Configurator Doesn't Work How You Think It Works

We try to fact-check as much as possible during our article editing process. Such was the case this morning with Alex Dykes’ review of the newest Toyota Tacoma, and specifically the portion where he said that all manual Tacomas are paired with four-wheel drive.

There are two ways we normally check such a claim: an automaker’s media site, which provides detailed vehicle information (though not necessarily in a user-friendly format), and an automaker’s consumer-facing website, which contains all those fancy marketing words, pretty pictures and the typical “Build and Price” tool employed by virtually every full-line automaker as a way for us gearheads to waste time at our desk jobs on Friday afternoons.

However, while I was fact checking Mr. Dykes’ manual = four-wheel drive claim, the configurator said I couldn’t have a manual transmission on the Tacoma — at all.

Say what, Toyota?

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2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Review - Off-road Taco Truck [Video]

Toyota’s small trucks have long been associated with bulletproof reliability ( and occasionally militant militias). Despite the Tacoma splitting from the legendary Toyota Hilux bloodline in 1995, the Taco (as some fans refer to their trucks) has continued Toyota’s rugged and reliable image. A big factor in the Tacoma’s long-term reliability is the Toyota’s philosophy to change: it should happen slowly and only when necessary.

Although the 2016 Tacoma is dubbed an “all-new third generation,” just like we see in the Camry, large portions of the design are carried over from last year’s model. This is excellent news for some, but may come as a disappointment for others. The changes are enough to keep brand loyalists happy, radical enough to be called a re-design, but sedate enough that folks eyeing a GMC Canyon may not be swayed by the lure of Toyota’s legendary reliability.

In a nutshell, Toyota swapped in a set of tried-and-true transmissions, fitted a Lexus V-6 under the hood, tweaked the frame with stronger steel and covered the truck in new sheetmetal. On the inside, we get a new dashboard, infotainment systems from the Toyota Highlander and a steering wheel from the larger Toyota Tundra. If you’re a Taco man, that’s all you need to know before you run out and buy one. For the rest of us, click past the jump.

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Chart Of The Day: Toyota Tacoma U.S. Sales Growth Is A Thing To Behold

In each of the last 28 months, the Toyota Tacoma has been America’s fifth-best-selling pickup truck nameplate.

One might imagine, however, that its ability to succeed in its own sub-category of small/midsize trucks would have weakened over the last ten months. With the introduction of new midsize pickup trucks from General Motors, the best-selling manufacturer of pickup trucks in America, the number of Tacoma competitors increased from one, the Nissan Frontier, to three.

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Editorial: Someone Is Making Money In Mid-Size Trucks

Hats off to Toyota. With the release of the revised 2016 Tacoma, they sit ready to be both the reigning king of the mid-size truck market, and the auto maker that is best positioned to profit off this niche segment.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma Revealed

No details have been released, but hit the jump for a full gallery of photos.

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  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.