Here’s the Down and Dirty on Toyota’s New Tacoma

Source: Toyota

We did some preliminary coverage of the new 2016 Toyota Tacoma when the company unveiled the truck ahead of its formal debut at the Detroit Auto Show, but now that it’s had its proper introduction made to the world, there are more details and some extra news to report.

We got the idea that the new truck wasn’t in fact a new new truck, but instead a heavily updated and thoroughly redesigned take of the outgoing model. This has since been verified as being the case, but before you cast judgement, it should be known that the updates run deep.

This is good, in a way. Though fans have been pushing for significant changes to the Tacoma — which has gone numerous years with little attention paid to it — Toyota has built a reputation for churning out long-lasting, hardy pickups that will keep on going as long as their owners are interested in keeping them around. And that’s not the reputation that a company wants to mess with too much.

While that remains intact, Toyota has been diligent about attending to some of the major complaints that owners had, especially when it came to power production. Outside of its new, rugged looks, the new Tacoma now boasts a new V6 engine to replace the old 4.0-liter unit that was short on power despite being high in thirst for fuel.

Source: Toyota

The new six-cylinder option now displaces 3.5 liters and now features new direct-and-port-injection to help shore up its fuel economy ratings; the outgoing truck gets an EPA-certified 17 city and 21 highway in its V6 trim. It will be aided by the addition of a six-speed automatic in place of the outgoing four-speed, and a six-speed manual in place of the now-defunct five-speed.

Interestingly, this V6 runs on the Atkinson cycle, a mode used most commonly for hybrid vehicles. This is undoubtably a further effort to decrease fuel consumption, but it could carry with it some ramifications for power. The familiar 2.7-liter four-cylinder carries over from the current generation.

Jalopnik notes that the Tacoma, despite its age, accounted for the vast majority of midsize pickup sales last year, at 155,041 vehicles. Nissan’s Frontier, the only other offering in the segment at the time, brought up the rear with 74,323 units. But with new competition now available from GM (carrying a diesel option in the wings), Toyota is facing its biggest challenge since the Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota, and previous generations of the Colorado and Canyon were put out of production.

Not surprisingly, buyers will still have access to a wide swath of trim levels, from the lowly SR to the mighty TRD Pro and everything in between: the SR5, TRD Sport, and a Limited. In full kit, with 4×4, Toyota will offer a variable terrain mode and even a GoPro mount on the windshield for capturing your off-roading shenanigans in high-def.

Pricing and exact power specs are still being withheld, but we wouldn’t expect to see any drastic swings in either direction.