2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Access Cab.

Since its introduction in 2005, the second-generation Toyota Tacoma has led the mid-size truck market, being the best-selling truck every year during that time. The Chevrolet Colorado is looking to break that undefeated streak in 2015, and if you’ve read our recent Mid-Size Truck Shootout you’ll see that it might have the chance to do so. But even if Chevy makes a nice dent in the mid-size segment in 2015, in 2016 it will no longer compete against stale competition, as today Toyota unveiled the all-new 2016 Tacoma at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

“For the past 50 years adventure-seeking Americans have relied on Toyota trucks to take them places, on and off-road,” said Bill Fay, group vice president & general manager, Toyota Division. “The all-new homegrown Tacoma is a tough truck designed, developed and built for lifestyles of the young and young-at-heart.”

Built mostly out of the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the new Tacoma is new from the ground up, with engineers constructing a new frame that features high-strength steel to increase rigidity and overall strength. Toyota then integrated ultra-high-strength steel into the body shell using a new hot-stamping process that is designed to reduce weight.

Highlighting the engine options for the new Tacoma is an all-new, segment-first 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology that will feature both direct and port fuel injection. There will also be a 2.7-liter four-cylinder available on 2016 models, and both motors will be mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift. Toyota says there will still be an optional manual version of its new six-speed trans. Toyota has not released any horsepower or fuel economy numbers for the new Tacoma, but it does claim in a press release, “The new power train makes the Tacoma more powerful and fuel efficient than ever before.”

Limited model interior of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.
2016 Tacoma TRD Off-Road Access Cab interior.
2016 Tacoma TRD Off-Road Access Cab interior.

Although Toyota hasn’t released all of the details of the new Tacoma, the company is touting this truck to provide even better off-road capability than before. The suspension of the 2016 Tacoma is said to be fine-tuned to for “a smoother on-road ride, while making it even more capable off-road.” To complement this, Toyota says the new  wheel flares are designed to provide more space for greater wheel travel. Toyota also notes there will be four new wheel designs offered in sizes ranging from 16 to 18 inches. On TRD Off-Road Tacomas, a Multi-Terrain Select system will allow the driver to select the appropriate terrain (such as loose rock, mud or sand) to help regulate wheel spin by adjusting throttle and brake pressure for improved traction. Another new feature on the ’16 Tacoma is Crawl Control, which will allow the driver to select a speed of 1-5 mph in low-speed off-road situations, allowing the driver to focus on steering while the system controls acceleration and braking.

The new Tacoma will also feature Automatic Limited Slip and Locking Rear Differential options, Hill Start Assist Control, Clutch Start Cancel, and Active Traction Control.

When it comes to styling, there’s no doubt the Tacoma features more squared, chiseled styling compared to the rounded edges on the last generation of the Tacoma. The front end of the truck looks much more in line with the redesigned Tundra. Toyota installed headlights that feature projection beam lamps with available LED daytime running lights. The rear end of the Tacoma features more of the chiseled, angular styling found in the grille and hood, accented with a stamped Tacoma logo similar to the Tundra and TRD Pro truck models. The new lockable tailgate features an integrated spoiler for improved aerodynamics, and Toyota did add an easy-lowering feature to slowly retract the tailgate, something we knocked the previous generation for in our Mid-Size Truck Shootout. Toyota also says the Tacoma will be available with an optional tri-fold hard tonneau cover for securing cargo in the bed of the truck.

Inside the new Tacoma, Toyota retained the “sport truck image” it presents on the exterior with what it refers to as a more “driver-focused experience.” The new interior features soft-wrapped trim and metallic accents, while a host of new features include: Qi wireless charging, smart key push-button start, a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, an enhanced touchscreen audio, leather-wrapped seats, blind-sport monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and more. Adding to the sporty vibe of the new Tacoma is a standard GoPro mount up near the rearview mirror to document every adventure.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab

Toyota also looked to quiet cabin noise by improving all door seals, adding a multi-layer acoustic windshield, a sound-absorbing headliner and a floor silencer pad.

Toyota says the new Tacoma will be available in five different trim packages that each have their own look, and all will be available in either 4×2 and 4×4. The Tacoma trim levels start out with the SR, designed more as a work-ready truck. The next is line is the well-equipped SR5 package, which is followed by the TRD Sport package. The more adventure-minded drivers and off-highway enthusiasts will look to the TRD Off-Road package, while those who want it all will look toward the top-of-the-line Limited.

The all-new 2016 Tacoma is designed, engineered and assembled in North America. For more information, visit

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