The Toyota Tacoma took the US market by storm in 2015, becoming the biggest-selling mid-sized pick-up truck in that market.
And let’s face it – it’s quite a market. Nowhere else on the planet buys as many mid-sized utility vehicles; Thailand is close,– though we love our utes – falls well short.
This version is equipped with the five-foot tray (1.52m), though there’s a six-foot tray (which is actually a bit longer than that, at 1.87m). No dual-cab versions of the HiLux have a tray that lengthy unless you get a cab-chassis, which isn’t available in the US.
That V6 is a relative of the one, with a little more power in this application. It has 207kW of power at 6000rpm and 360Nm at 4600rpm, which seem decent figures. In fact, the 4.0-litre engine we get has a deficit of 18 per cent, with 175kW, but a little extra torque, with 376Nm.But when it comes to the drive experience, the Tacoma is begging for more pulling power.
The issue mainly comes down to the six-speed automatic gearbox, which is fussy and lazy at the same time. If you’re cruising on a level highway it is fine, but encounter a hill or need to hurriedly make an overtaking manoeuvre, and the transmission’s shortcomings are all too clear.
It hesitates to choose a gear under sudden acceleration, and during some long steep climbs the gearbox couldn’t choose what needed to happen.
The tray capacity is low, too, with just 533kg of payload usable in this specification, but there’s a brilliant adjustable tie-down rail system as well as four fitted hooking points, and a 110-volt/400-watt power outlet.
And it does coast – or, more correctly, float – over bigger ones, while the big 17-inch alloys shod in Toyo Open Country 65-profile rubber tend to pick up a lot of the smaller, sharp-edged bits of road and share them with those in the cabin, too, pitter-pattering somewhat. It was, however, comfortable enough on the concrete patchwork freeways of California, and fine for a truck with an empty tray.
The steering of the Tacoma was acceptably responsive at speed, and reasonably easy to use around town at parking speeds, too, with a nice amount of resistance. But while it may have TRD Sport stuck on the tray, this isn’t a sporty vehicle to drive, with noticeable understeer and plenty of body lean in corners.
Published: Friday, February 12, 2016