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Weekend Wheels: 2016 Toyota Tacoma delivers power

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

The newly redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma, which arrived to the Puerto Rico market looking to uphold its command as the industry’s medium-sized pickup segment, is as powerful as it is elegant.

Last weekend, this media outlet got the chance to get behind the wheel of this truck, experiencing first-hand its performance and drive quality. Underneath its chiseled good looks, the 2016 Tacoma is available in four models in both automatic and six-speed manual transmissions, and features either full-sized or short-bed cargo space.

For the first time, Tacoma comes with an available V6, 3.5 liter, 278-horsepower engine (an increase of 42 horses from the previous version) and 265 pounds of torque. It also features VVT-iW technology (a wider air intake, thus creating more power) as well as Toyota’s exclusive D-4S fuel injection system.

A 2.7-liter, 159-horsepower engine is also available, delivering 180 pounds of torque. This results in more powerful acceleration and towing capacity. Both engines are available with six-speed manual or automatic transmission; it also comes available in 4×2 and 4×4 versions.

The new Tacoma’s interior received a complete facelift that includes a new dashboard that now features a 4.2-inch color information screen. The steering wheel is new and now puts audio and cruise control buttons at the driver’s fingertips.

The audio, navigation and entertainment system include a 7-inch screen with new interface, wireless charger for mobile devices, a new multimedia system, and even a GoPro camera mount on the windshield. In other words, it has all of the bells and whistles associated with most other Toyota vehicles.

The new Tacoma “boasts an unparalleled capacity that highlights its strength. All of its elements, from the mechanic to the aesthetic, point to its amplified power and personality. It lets everyone know that this off-road legend is ready for action,” said Joe Barba, vice-president of Sales & Marketing at Toyota de Puerto Rico Corp.

Expectations for the new Tacoma are high, given that the model has been the highest-selling medium-sized pickup in the U.S. mainland since 2005, the executive said. More than 7 million Tacomas have been sold since it made its debut in 1964. In Puerto Rico, Tacoma’s market share is at 80 percent in the small pickup category.

Drive quality has also been improved. Toyota engineers have created a stable drive train that prevents the truck from “sloshing” (that is, swaying from one side to another while in transit), a phenomena that is common to vehicles in the segment. Its sense of weight balance and suspension make for a more trusty drive, preventing the vehicle from forward momentum in the case of sudden or forceful braking.

In the realm of safety, the new Tacoma includes the innovative and new Star Safety System, exclusive to Toyota. The set includes innovative technologies such as vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, and smart stop technology. It is also the only pickup in its class that features a rear view camera and mirror-mounted monitor, thus providing the driver with an unobstructed view of what is behind the truck.

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma carries a suggested retail price starting at $23,995.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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