2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab Long Bed Driving Review: Day 4
The Tacoma Double Cab handled very well on curvy mountain roads in the foothills west of Denver. The Tacoma feels steady in sweeping turns and suffers from surprisingly little body roll, or lean, in hard corners. The Tacoma Double Cab with the long bed feels big on the road when compared with older compact pickups I’ve driven.
Out on the open road, the 4WD TRD Sport model seemed smooth and quiet. Off-road the 4WD TRD with the automatic transmission is smooth and highly capable. The TRD suspension is excellent on rugged terrain, and handled well on rough dirt trails. Something we learned while taking it up near the ski area of Breckenridge. Colorado is a great place to test out the four-wheel drive capabilities.
The Toyota Tacoma TRD will be able to tackle just about any terrain. And it gets you where you are going in relative comfort. The Tacoma doesn’t toss you back and forth on the inside when driving long distances over rugged terrain. It could be because of the longer wheelbase and TRD suspension. Despite its higher stance, the Tacoma feels somewhat car-like, especially considering its chassis uses frame-on-body (as opposed to unibody) construction. This is an important consideration because it won’t leave you fatigued from driving before you get to your favorite backcountry fishing hole or camping spot.
Switching from 2WD into 4WD or 4WD Lo is as easy as twisting a rotary knob and it works well. The Tacoma’s brakes are smooth and they can bring the truck to quick halt when you need to stop quickly. The rear brakes use drums rather than disc brakes and less desirable than the ones that come on some of the other pickups in this class. The available TRD Big Brake system uses floating 13 x 1.25-inch directionally vented rotors, larger pads with higher coefficients of friction, forged aluminum four-piston fixed calipers, and braided steel brake lines.
The Tacoma is quiet and comfortable both on the road and off-road as well. The optional JBL sound system produces full sound that’s a great antidote to the doldrums of long distance driving. It may feel bulky while driving in the city, but the Tacoma shines on longer excursions with its well-insulated cabin that offers a commanding view of the road.
Tomorrow we look at all the options that are available on the Tacoma and see how it compares with other pickups in its class.
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab Accessories and Options: Day 5
The Double Cab Tacoma that I tested came loaded with a lot of options. It was equipped with a $4,335 TRD Sport Extra Value Package, but after the MSRP discount, the Extra Value Package is priced at $3,385. The Package includes a load of options including a JBL XM Satellite Audio and Bluetooth system with six speakers and a subwoofer, sport suspension with Bilstein shocks, 17” alloy wheels with P285/65R17 tires, hood scoop, sliding rear window with privacy glass, and a backup camera to help see behind that 17’ overall length.
Also included as an option was the V6 Tow Package ($650) with includes a class 4 hitch, transmission and supplemental oil coolers, 130 amp alternator, a heavy duty battery, and a 7-pin connector with converter. This is a must for anyone who will be using the Tacoma to pull things like a snowmobile trailer, motor bikes, or a camper up to the mountains for weekend getaways. Although with the Double Cab long bed, you might feel like you are driving a small train.
The next fun option was the TRD Cat-Back Exhaust System ($535). You might wonder why you need to spend an extra $535 for this system. To start with, the exhaust materials used is solid mandrel-bent 409 stainless. 409 stainless is the best material available, and the mandrel-bent manufacturing process means that any bends in the tubing are very smooth and create a much better flow. One of the reasons for adding this exhaust system is for the added horsepower you get. The TRD exhaust system also includes a double-walled stainless steel tip with the engraved TRD logo.
Like a lot of accessories, there is some argument about just how much power this exhaust system adds. Generally, after market exhausts by themselves offer little in the way of additional power. Typically, the most you’ll see is a 3-5 hp gain with just about any cat-back system. The TRD system is no exception, and tests show that the TRD Exhaust for the new Tundra will add from 1 to 5 hp. One way to compliment the addition of an exhaust system is to also add a high performance air intake filter to maximize air flow. K&N offers a lifetime filter that works great for this.
Even if the increase in horsepower doesn’t do it for you, when you factor in the feeling you get when you step on the gas, you will feel like adding an exhaust is the best money you ever spent. The TRD system is excellent in terms of sound. There is little or no additional noise at idle, minimal highway noise, and fantastic sounds when you step on the gas. This system was designed by Toyota to provide the sound that a lot of V6 owners crave while still being quiet enough to preserve the truck’s finer qualities. This perfect balance of sound is easily the best reason to spend the money on this system.
Tomorrow we continue to look at the rest of the options on the Tacoma.
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab Review: Accessories and Options: Day 6
For 2010, all Tacoma models receive as standard equipment Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) with off switch, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, An Automatic Limited-slip Differential (Auto LSD), which uses brake intervention in place of a mechanical-type limited-slip to help reduce wheel-spin, is standard on all 2010 Tacoma models with the exception of those fitted with TRD Off-Road packages; those will have a separate locking differential.
Double Cab ($27,250) models add more standard features, including air conditioning and functional consoles for the floor and ceiling. Double Cabs come with upgraded seat fabric, plus power windows, mirrors and door locks. Double Cabs also get upgraded six-speaker audio systems, and offer an in-dash six-CD changer ($200); Double Cab models offer a premium JBL system (that’s wrapped into other packages) with CD changer and amplified subwoofer. Both audio upgrades feature steering wheel controls. The optional Premium JBL six-CD system is now Bluetooth-compatible and has an integrated satellite radio system that includes a three-month trial subscription to XM Satellite Radio.
If you plan on driving your new Tacoma hard, it would be good to opt for the dealer-installed TRD Big Brake system developed by engineers at the Toyota Technical Center and Toyota Racing Development division to provide effective braking performance under sustained heavy use. The system improves pedal feel and substantially reduces brake fade from repeated high-speed applications. This is also a good option to have if you plan on pulling a trailer in the mountains.
The SR5 package adds styling and comfort features, including color-keyed overfenders and front bumper, chrome grille surround and chrome rear bumper, bucket seats with center console, and other upgraded interior features and trim. The pavement-oriented TRD Sport Package ($3,385) starts with P265/65R17 tires, sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, sport seats, overhead console and power point, plus a hood scoop, lots of body-color trim, and its own graphics package. The TRD Sport option is available on any Tacoma V6.
The TRD Offroad Package adds BF Goodrich P265/70R16 OWL tires, locking rear differential, off-road suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, engine skidplate, sport seats, overhead console with compass and outside temperature, heavy-duty front tow hook, 115v/400w deck-mounted powerpoint, and unique TRD graphics. TRD Offroad is available only on V6 models, but not on the Double Cab Long Bed.
Safety features that come on all models include a tire pressure monitor system, front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, and side-curtain airbags are standard on all models.
Tomorrow we give a summary and look at some comparisons to the competition.
Summary and Comparisons Day 7
The Toyota Tacoma is still one of the best midsize pickups out there. In a crowded field of competitors like the Nissan Frontier and the Dodge Dakota, the Tacoma is still the leader. But the competition is starting to catch up. It starts with the Tacoma’s comfortable cab trimmed with quality materials. The 4WD TRD offers crisp handling, a nicely balanced ride quality, and excellent off-road capability. The reason the Tacoma is so popular in the mid-size pickup market is because it comes in a wide range of configurations to please a wide range of buyers.
Tacoma models start at $15,000 for a basic work truck with a four-cylinder and 2WDall the way to a loaded V6 4WD Double Cab Long Bed with tons of cool options. The base model is among the few regular-cab pickups still available. , The midsize market has moved to bigger extended-cab and crew cab styles. The Tacoma still excels at durability and reliability.
Toyota has recently taken some heat over rust issues involving its Tundra models, raising some doubts about the long term integrity of their pickup trucks. And while it’s almost impossible to predict the impact of the current issues with Toyota’s quality control, it’s safe to say that my time spent with the Double Cab Tacoma reminds me of what Toyota does right with its trucks.
The Tacoma offers one of the most comfortable cabs in the class, a smooth ride, and quality construction. Its on-road handing is responsive and off-road capability is proven. The Double Cab delivers more rear-seat comfort than most of the competition, with enough room to rival some small SUV’s. V6 models equipped with the Tow Package ($650) can to tow up to 6,500 pounds.
Over the course of the week and 450 miles later, the Tacoma offered both utility and comfort. I was able to use the Tacoma to haul a desk, transport grandkids and groceries, and even used this full size truck to cruise Federal Boulevard with some low riders. If there’s a testimony to its versatility, it’s the fact that this Toyota took care of business without breaking a sweat—a fairly impressive feat that makes the Tacoma Double Cab as effective at driving off-road as it is at commuting across town. If you order the long bed, just make sure you’re careful where you park.
In two weeks I’ll be testing the big 2010 Dodge Ram 3500 and see what new technology Cummins diesel has come up with.