2016 Toyota Tacoma: Who Should (and Should Not) Buy This Truck

Toyota Tacoma 7
Source: Toyota

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma has received an outpouring of positive press since the embargo on driving impressions was lifted. It might not be a radical departure from the current Tacoma, but at the same time, the new one shores up the old truck’s weaknesses and offers considerable off-roading capability. It would appear, then, that everyone looking to buy a midsize pickup truck should buy a new Tacoma.

Despite coming away with a generally positive impression after my time behind the wheel, I would say that’s not necessarily the case. There are certainly a lot of people who will enjoy the new Tacoma, but there are some people who would probably be happier with a different truck.

So who shouldn’t buy the 2016 Toyota Tacoma?

The first group that comes to mind is people who will be using their truck to tow on a regular basis. Equipped with the V6 Tow Package, the new Tacoma can tow 6,800 pounds, but the Chevrolet Colorado can handle 200 pounds more than that. The Colorado also has rear disc brakes, which will give drivers a little more confidence while towing compared to the Tacoma’s rear drum brakes. There’s also a 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine coming to GM’s midsize trucks soon, which is capable of towing even more weight.

If you buy the Tacoma with the towing package, it will probably perform fine, but the truck itself wasn’t designed with towing as a priority.

Second, buyers who are interested in maximizing fuel economy will probably do well to look at the four-cylinder options offered by GM first. In its most efficient form, the four-cylinder offered on the Toyota Tacoma maxes out at 23 miles per gallon on the highway. The Chevrolet Colorado, meanwhile, manages to squeeze 27 miles per gallon out of its four-cylinder.

Don’t forget about the diesel engine that’s coming, either. Rumor has it that it will get at least 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Finally, anyone looking to buy a luxury truck will likely find that the Tacoma Limited doesn’t quite match what the GMC Canyon SLT offers. In my time behind the wheel of the Canyon, I was surprised how much it felt like the interior had been grafted in from the larger, more expensive Sierra. There are even rumors of a GMC Canyon Denali coming soon that you can expect to be even more luxurious than the Canyon SLT.

Toyota Tacoma 8
Source: Toyota

There are, however, several groups of people who the new Tacoma is probably perfect for.

First, anyone who is looking at buying a lightly-used Tacoma should go ahead and buy a new one. You’ll be buying a better truck, and I doubt you’ll have to spend much more money to get it. Resale value on used Tacomas is so high, a two or three-year-old example will have barely lost any of its value in that time. You can expect the resale value of the new Tacoma to remain high, as well, so you’ll probably get back a good bit more of your money when you decide to sell it than you would if you bought a Canyon or Colorado.

Second, anyone who wants the most reliable truck they can buy would be perfectly suited for the new Tacoma. Tacomas have a reputation for lasting almost forever. Even if you’re unmarried and childless now, assuming it’s well cared for, there’s a pretty good chance your future child could pass the Tacoma you bought to your future grandchild. About the only vehicle you could buy that would last longer would be the Toyota Land Cruiser, and that starts at roughly $80,000.

Finally, if you’re looking to use your truck for off-roading, especially if you aren’t the most experienced, the new Tacoma has the ability to get you as far or further than you could ever reasonably expect to go in a stock truck, especially in TRD Off-Road trim. With Crawl Control, it’s not only simpler to head off the beaten path, but you also have it as a safety net in the event that you get in over your head and end up stuck.

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