The Tacoma Double Cab with TRD Sport Package might be on every guy’s wish list. But lets face it, there are times when everyone of us could use a pickup truck to move some of our stuff. It reminds me of that classic George Carlin routine about always having to much stuff. Anyway, if you have a pickup sitting around during those times you’re glad you have it. If you don’t have one, you wish you did and dread having to borrow one or get a rental.
For the small businessman, contractor, outdoorsman, or week-end gardener, the mid-size Toyota Tacoma may be just the right fit. Tacoma has long been known for its high build quality, reliability, longevity, and resale value;…and with it’s high popularity as a customizable personalized vehicle, Tacoma owns a 37 Percent share of the mid-size truck market.
The second generation Tacoma, like the one pictured, was introduced in 2005 and hasn’t changed much since then, except for a minor styling update in 2009. Engine options are a 2.7-litre, DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder with VVT-i that generates 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and a 4.0-litre DOHC 24 valve V6 engine with VVT-i good for 236 hp and 266 lb-ft. Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) is advanced technology that pumps maximum power from minimal fuel. Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic with the four-cylinder engine, and six-speed manual and five-speed auto with the V6.
Tacoma is available in Single Cab, Access Cab and Double Cab models, Access with two small, rear-hinged rear doors, and the Double Cab with four, full-size, front-hinged doors. There are two bed lengths, too: a six-footer that is standard on most models, and a five-foot bed that is only offered on Double Cab models. The four-cylinder engine is standard in the Single Cab and available in PreRunner Access Cab models. The V6 is an option and is standard in Double Cab models. The backbone support for the Tacoma is forged massive one-piece frame rails, eight equally strong cross members and a fully boxed front sub-frame.
In this article lets take a look at a 2010 Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab V6 model ($31,845) with the TRD Sport Package ($5,110). The Sport Package adds conveniences like steering wheel audio controls, sliding rear window, cruise control, keyless entry and variable intermittent wipers,17″ wheels and tires and Bilstein shocks. More importantly, perhaps, are functional additions that include transmission and engine oil coolers, upgraded alternator, trailer wiring harness, and Class IV hitch all boosting the Tacoma’s towing capacity from 5,000 pounds to 6,500 pounds. There is also a 400-watt cargo bed power outlet and a backup camera that shows up in the rear-view mirror with the transmission in reverse.
Unencumbered, the V6 motor is strong, bringing brisk, if not fast, acceleration. The five-speed automatic does its job well, though its shifts are rougher than what you’re treated to in a typical family sedan or crossover. We can thank the gearbox’s heavier-duty nature for that. It responds with prompt downshifts when the gas pedal is prodded, though the engine generates enough torque in its low- and mid-range that a downshift is rarely required for moderate acceleration.
The 4×4 system is a driver-selectable part-time setup with low-range gearing, operated electronically via a knob on the dash. Unlike many full-size pickups, the Tacoma’s system doesn’t have an automatic mode that allows the truck to remain in four-wheel drive all the time. There’s no centre differential, so the truck must be driven in two-wheel drive mode on paved surfaces. Access Cab V6 models can be had with a locking rear differential and skid plates for the transfer case and fuel tank as part of the TRD Sport Package, but these items aren’t included on the Double Cab model. All Tacomas however, get an automatic (electronic) limited slip rear differential and come standard with the Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC),Traction Control (TRAC), that helps reduce wheelspin and prevent traction loss while cornering, Anti-lock Brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution(EBD) and Brake Assist.
You don’t equip a truck with all of the gear above if the worst it’s going to see are speed bumps and shopping carts. You expect that it’s going to be put to the test in all kinds of go-for-broke situations where the roads look like the surface of perhaps Mars with everything in the path ahead filled with sand, mud, or snow that will have to be out muscled or out maneuvered. the Tacoma ride is firm and the truck is maneuverable with a quick turn diameter of 40.7 ft. The Tacoma is
- Built To Beat The Heat – Bilstein Shocks keep their cool for consistent performance under pressurre as do the ventilated front disc brakes.
- Powerful And Strong – the Tacoma V6 engine puts the spark plugs in the center of the combustion chamber. the pentroof combustion creates a cleaner, more efficient burn and increases both performance and efficiency.
- Built With Backbone – the trucks frame is the source of its strength. Tacoma is built on a rugged frame strengthened with 8″ cross members, beefed-up center side rails, and rear inner channel reinforcements with a rear suspension geared toward handling the truck’s (1,150 lb) payload.
Besides hunters and recreational enthusiasts who else might buy a Tacoma? How about small contractors or week-end project warriors. What can you do with this truck on say a home improvement adventure? A Tacoma like we’re talking about recently hauled a pre-fab toolshed home from the store and handled a loaded down bed of weighty lawn sod and garden compost.
Only the weighty compost proved much of a challenge for the drivetrain, which worked noticeably harder to get the truck up to speed when loaded down at or a little over payload capacity. The transmission’s shifts were a little harsher, especially in downshifting, and the rear end wallowed a little over large bumps, but the cabin provided a comfortable drive during the transport. Tacoma proved to be just enough truck for all the tasks. Payload-wise, in order to carry any more than we did, you’d most likely have to move up to a full-size truck.
Despite the Tacoma’s firm ride when not loaded, it proved otherwise to be a very comfortable vehicle to be in. The front seats are very supportive and comfortable, and very little wind or road noise gets into the cabin at highway speeds.
The Tacoma’s cabin puts function before fancy. The gauges are large and easy to read, and the controls simple, but there’s not much here in the way of luxury items. Headroom is generous, but the door openings are short, so getting in requires a slightly awkward manoeuvre involving stepping up to the high floor while simultaneously ducking down to avoid hitting your head on the door frame. The rear seat offers similar headroom, with adequate legroom.
The Tacoma comes with a composite cargo bed that eliminates the need for a bedliner and the oxidation that can occur between the bedliner and a metal bed, four tie-down cleats that live in tracks running the perimeter of the bed and small cubbies in the sides of the bed for stashing small items. The 400-watt, 115-volt power outlet mounted in the bed is an option on most models (in the SR5 Power Package in the 4×2 Access Cab and with the TRD Sport Package in V6 models).
The vehicle’s shortcomings are only that you could buy the wrong one for your needs. Tacoma proves it’s decent at hauling both people and stuff within it’s specifications.
If there’s any wisdom to be taken away with this article , it’s that one should shop carefully when buying a pickup. The Tacoma’s options, drive-train and body configurations are relatively staightforward, but larger trucks are available with a dizzying array of combinations of engine, drive-train, cab and box choices that make it very easy for a casual truck buyer to wind up with too much or not enough truck for what they want to use it for.