Truck of the Year

Toyota Tacoma: 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year Finalist

Tacoma Enters 2016 With a New V-6 and a Revised Interior

Tacoma Enters 2016 With a New V-6 and a Revised Interior

We Like: Its cabin makeover, fresh V-6; it’s not the old Taco.

We Don’t Like: Its gear-hunting transmission; it tries too hard to be like the old Taco.

Starting at $24,200 USD for an extended cab SR trim with the holdover 2.7-liter inline-four and commanding up to $38,720 USD for the crew cab Limited with the volume V-6, the 2016 Tacoma is priced right about where it needs to be in the segment. While evaluating our mid-grade, rear-wheel-drive SR5 and dirt-snorting, TRD Off-Road 4×4, we tiptoed around an unspoken subplot of this Truck of the Year showdown, one that only Christian Seabaugh had the gall to put in writing. “This TOTY is really the Tacoma’s to lose.”

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other Truck of the Year finalists at the links below. Check out the Truck of the Year introduction HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.

The Toyotas impressed at first glance. “Interior quality has definitely been upped—it feels almost Lexus-ish in here,” Nate Martinez said. “I really enjoyed the infotainment. It’s easy to use and connect to, quick, clear, and concise.” Judges disagreed over whether the Tacoma, Colorado, or Canyon had the finer cabin.

For the first time since the 2005 model, the Tacoma is a (mostly) new truck. The frame and cab are stronger, and the 3.5-liter V-6 is more powerful and efficient. However, it sounds noisier compared with GM’s V-6.

A newly elevated driver’s seat is an obvious departure from the previous generation (I found my head closer to the roof than I wanted), but many aspects of the Taco experience are rather familiar. Ride quality is good for a Tacoma, yet there’s no missing that it rides more like a traditional truck than the competing Colorado and Canyon.

Toyota‘s biggest advantage is its QDR (quality, durability, reliability) reputation,” Ed Loh said. “That cannot be understated, even if it isn’t one of our criteria.”

2016 Toyota Tacoma SR5 V6 TRD Off Road V6 4×4
BASE PRICE $28,885 $33,000
PRICE AS TESTED $31,160 $38,315
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door truck Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE 3.5L/278-hp/265-lb-ft Atkinson-cycle DOHC 24-valve V-6 3.5L/278-hp/265-lb-ft Atkinson-cycle DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 212.3 x 74.4 x 70.6 in 212.3 x 74.4 x 70.6 in
WHEELBASE 127.4 in 127.4 in
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,178 lb (54/46%) 4,525 lb (56/44%)
ACCELERATION, 0-60 MPH* 6.8; 12.8; 23.4 sec 7.1; 13.6; 22.9 sec
QUARTER MILE* 15.2 sec @ 91.6 mph; 19.5 sec @ 74.2 mph; 24.1 sec @ 60.8 mph 15.4 sec @ 91.2 mph; 19.8 sec @ 72.6 mph; 23.8 sec @ 61.2 mph
DAVIS DAM “FRUSTRATION”*** 7.0 sec, 616 ft 7.0 sec, 616 ft
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 132 ft 125 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.71 g (avg) 0.71 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.4 sec @ 0.57 g (avg) 28.9 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/24/21 mpg 18/23/20 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 177/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 187/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.93 lb/mile 0.97 lb/mile
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 16/22/18
*Unladen; towing 3,000-lb trailer; towing 6,700-lb (SR5) or 6,400-lb (TRD) trailer
**50-70-mph passing acceleration with 500 pounds of payload

2016 Truck of the Year Finalists: