When I think of the Toyota Tacoma pickup, I think of a compact truck that is uncomfortable and small. Compact pickups aren’t what they used to be. For one thing, they’re no longer compact. Nor are they uncomfortable. They’re more comfortable and more capable than ever before. The Tacoma has grown up to be a mid-size pickup.
When I first saw the Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 that I will test driving this week, I was immediately amazed at how big and long it is. The Double Cab has a long wheelbase and four doors. Upon my initial walk-around the truck; I see a large hood scoop, a front skid plate, and the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Sport decals on the bed. This is not the small Tacoma that I remember owning a few years ago.
The Toyota Tacoma is an attractive truck, more conservatively styled than the stylish Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakota which I tested both recently. You can read both reviews at: 2010 Nissan Frontier 4X4 Pro4X: 7 Day Review
2010 Dodge Dakota Laramie Crew Cab 4X2: Biggest, most powerful midsize pickup – Dodge Truck Reviews. From the front, the Tacoma has big headlights and a bold grille. The TRD Sport Offroad Package 4WD model I will be testing for the week is distinguished by bold overfenders when viewed from the side. I also see that my tester is equipped with the tow package and the TRD labeled exhaust tip.
The Toyota Tacoma is still the most popular truck in a field of outstanding midsize pickups out there. The Tacoma dominates the market for mid-size pickups. What makes it so popular is that it comes in a wide range of configurations to meet a wide range of buyers needs.
The Double Cab 4X4 models have big, conventionally hinged rear doors that open 80 degrees for ease of entry or loading gear and cargo. Double Cabs also have the ability to carry people in the comfort of a sport-utility. The Double Cab 4X4 can carry lots of stuff, but measures 208.1 inches from bumper to bumper—that’s a whopping 17 feet, 4.1 inches. It will be interesting to see how it driving this week if I get into some tight places.
As I first entered the Tacoma, I notice the two-tone cloth interior, the roomy front, and large back seat area. Tomorrow we will look at the interior in detail.
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 Review –Interior Details–Day 2
When I got into the Toyota Tacoma, the first impression is that the quality is just a little better than other midsize pickups I’ve test driven lately. The dash is two-tone and the lower dash and console are a lighter color than the main upper dash. The overall feel of the interior is bright.
The seats are a decent cloth material and are comfortable to sit in. The seats adjust manually and include lumbar adjustment but no adjustment for seat height or the angle of the seat bottom. The Tacoma provides the driver with a good driving position, and the big mirrors afford a good view to the back and sides. A rear-view camera insert on the mirror which is an option that comes on the TRD Sport package, makes it easy to back up with confidence (though the view is pavement only when cargo is loaded and the liftgate is flipped down.)
There is plenty of storage and enough cup holders in the center console area. The front passenger’s seatback flips down to form a tray table or to make room for long objects, a handy feature. All the knobs and controls are easy to use and are where you would expect to find them. The radio is fully integrated into the upper center stack and it’s easy to operate, and CDs sound good through the optional JBL speakers and audio system. The optional sliding rear window with privacy glass makes it easy for passengers to reach back into the bed, or for a cool breeze to be diverted into the truck.
The rear of the Tacoma Double Cab is roomy, and the seats are comfortable for a mid-size pickup. The Double Cab offers good legroom and shoulder room and decent headroom. The seatback is angled back slightly, making it more comfortable than the overly upright rear seats in some other compact pickups. Adult passengers should be comfortable on long trips and kids would have enough room to stretch out. A nice feature in the rear doors is that the windows roll all the way down.
The rear-seat area in the Double Cab is not just good for passengers, but also for carrying cargo. The seat is split 60/40. The seat bottoms flip forward and you can fold the two sections down to form a flat platform for cargo or gear. The backs of the seatbacks are hard and form a sturdy cargo floor. This is great for hauling dogs and cargo that would scratch or damage the backs if they were cloth.
Tomorrow we will get in and drive the Double Cab and see how easy it is to maneuver in tight spots.
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 Review Mechanical Specs: Day 3
The 2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 is one long pickup. From bumper to bumper it measures 17 feet, 4.1 inches making it one of the longest mid-size pickups in its class. Out on the open road you don’t notice the length, but driving it in the city is a different story. I had to circle the block downtown a few times to be able to find a parking spot big enough to handle the Double Cabs length. In parking lots you also have to take up two spots so you can leave enough room to back out.
The Toyota Tacoma drives well and cruises nicely on the road. The optional V6 in the truck I tested has plenty of power. The 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine gets better mileage and runs on regular gas, but I’m afraid it would be underpowered for the bigger Double Cab. The four-cylinder engine uses the same VVT-i and dohc technology as the V6. It is rated at 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, which is about average for the class. EPA estimates are 20/26 mpg with 2WD and the five-speed manual, and 19/25 mpg for 2WD with the four-speed automatic.
The 4.0-liter V6 engine uses Toyota’s VVT-i, (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve technology to optimize power and torque over a broad range of power. It is rated at 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The V6 engine feels refined and delivered responsive performance going up I-70 into the mountains west of Denver.
The 4.0-liter V6 in the Tacoma that I tested works well with the five-speed automatic transmission. The V6 with the automatic is a good combination in this truck. Toyota offers a six-speed manual transmission, but reports say the first gear has a very low ratio leaving too long a distance to second gear. The automatic is smooth and very responsive when you stomp on the throttle. It has five ratios to help keep the engine at its most efficient rpm. The automatic also gets better gas mileage, according to EPA estimates the V6 with 4WD gets16/20 mpg City/Highway.
The Double Cab long bed is relatively large. When compared to previous-generation models it is wider and longer. This can be a detriment with the long-bed Double Cab. It can be a challenge in tight parking situations due to the amount of space it requires to turn. The Tacoma Double Cab long bed requires 44 feet to complete a circle, while a Double Cab short bed needs a little over 40 feet. You might want to think about getting the short bed unless you will regularly be carrying something that won’t fit in it. A base Tacoma Regular Cab has a turning circle of less than 37 feet.
Tomorrow we will take the Tacoma out on the road and do some off-road driving in the mountains and see how it does in the dirt.